Visit to Chateau Seneguier

Trip Start Apr 03, 2009
Trip End Apr 14, 2009

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today, we relaxed for the early part of the day. We had a chance to catch up on our travel journal entries and post more photos and videos for you to enjoy. 

  Jean prepared a delicious lunch of spaghetti Boulagnais, one of his specialties. It was fantastic, and could actually give Michael's Creole spaghetti a run for the money. Dominique mentioned that her family would be coming over for dinner tonight, so we were all looking forward to that.   But first, we went to visit Chateau Seneguier, the land that the Peytavin family owned for 200 years. On it sits two impressive castles separated by several acres of what were once fruitful vineyards.  As we viewed one of the castles from a distance, Jean pointed to one of the windows on the upper level and mentioned that that was his bedroom. I chuckled, thinking he was simply joking.  We later discovered that he was quite serious. Jean explained that he had grown up in the castle, and lived there until he and Dominique married and moved to an apartment in Marseille.The Peytavin family sold the property in 1998, but have been back to visit several times for family gatherings. Michael was surprised to learn that his ancestors had once owned so much land and amassed such wealth. 

After that we drove out to the TGV train station in Aix en Provence to confirm our train tickets to Paris for Friday. The station is very modern and spacious. People from throughout Provence take the train to work in various areas.  This is evidenced by the thousands of vehicles parked along the sidewalks of the surrounding area. Jean said the parking lots fill up quickly, so people just make a parking spot wherever they can find one. Looked to me as if they could use large parking structure.

Once inside, Jean serves as our translator with the ticket agent. We find out that the ticket we purchased online last night included one stop in Lyon, in which we would have only 10 minutes to transfer trains. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but considering that this is the Globetrotters' first time riding the TGV, the fact that we will have a few pieces of luggage with us, and the reality that we are not proficient with the French language, we decide to hand over another 36 Euros for a direct ticket. Well worth it, as far as I'm concerned.
After that, we stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few items for dinner. It tickled me to see Jean run around the store like a man whose wife had told him that he had better come home with all of the right ingredients ... or else! He was laser focused on getting everything needed to make tonight's meal a success, so I picked up what we picket up some veggies, then got out of Jean's way so he could get his shop on.

Back at Chateau Gignoux, Michael and I prepared soup and salad, while Jean set the dining table and prepared a beautiful meat tray with salami, Prosciutto and ham, along with cheese to be used for fondue. Before we knew it, Dominique's family had arrived -- her father Bernard, mother Chantel and brother Yannick.  What I thought was going to be a very light dinner turned out to be a whole lot of food. Steamed potatoes that we covered in the melted cheese from the fondue machine were a perfect accompaniment to the vegetable soup and green salad. Of course, there was French bread and wine.  All of this was topped off with a delicious berry tart. I ate so much I felt as if I would burst at the seams.

  Dominique's father and Michael had a great time discussing their military careers. Bernard, who speaks excellent English, told a very funny story of when he was a soldier in WWII and his battalion met up with General George Patton, a Brittish officer and a French officer at the Rhine River just after receiving word that the Germans had been defeated. In celebration, soldiers from all sides ran to the river bank and peed in the river as a sign of victory. Bernard, on the other hand, missed his opportunity to join the celebration because he was driving a truck and his commanding officer gave him explicit orders not to take his hands off the wheel.

Prior to departing, Bernard invited us to visit his home tomorrow to enjoy tea and his special blend of coffee. "My coffee is so strong, you won't sleep for three days," he said. Well, that tells me I won't be having any of that coffee tomorrow. Although, as tired as I am, I'm thinking even Bernard's coffee wouldn't be able to keep me up tonight.
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