Touring in Tours

Trip Start Dec 11, 2011
Trip End Jan 07, 2012

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Flag of France  , Centre,
Monday, December 19, 2011

If you try to search on the Internet for information about Tours in Tours, it gets confusing! I am not sure how many people come here in their travels but it seemed to be interesting and on our route. We are enjoying the train travel and pulled off yesterday's trip with its change at Le Mans with reasonable confidence.  It was a trip sans reservation, which is easy on a rail pass as you just turn up and hop on. The TER trains are the next ones down from the TGV in speed and importance and they connect smaller cities and stop at stations. Like all other trains here, they run on time and have plenty of information for people like us who are guessing most of the time. Peter felt that it was my turn to do the asking at the window at Chartres station, presumably because he did battle with the phone top up in the station shop!

Our pass means that we travel first class so often have lots of room. We spread out and had our little picnic of eggs saved from breakfast and various rolls and bread, and enjoyed the views. The countryside is fairly flat but green,  with pretty little towns often with a church spire in the middle.

There was a panic moment for me when I went to use the loo on the second train. I tried to open the door like I did on the first train but it wouldn't budge.  Eventually I saw the button with Poussez near it and realized it was one of those automatic ones. Everyone was just watching me! I was committed then and had to keep reading the signs to close the door. Then I felt a panic rising: what if the door opened and exposed me to the people outside? Worse still, what if I couldn't get out before our imminent arrival at the station?? Neither happened and we made it to Tours.

We are have been blessed so far with such beautiful weather and yesterday was crisp and sunny. Wearing winter layers adds a certain hassle factor to life, I find. With a couple of layers underneath and a coat on top, plus a scarf wrapped around a few times and then ski gloves, it is a challenge to access the bag, backpack or camera in a hurry! In addition, we are wearing the same clothes in all the photos, no matter what we wear underneath because we are always rugged up. The French pretty well all wear black chic coats and the children are bundled up in parkas and gloves, many with Christmas decorations or Santa hats. Their associations with Christmas are a long way from heat, holidays and beaches!

I will have to change my writing habits now because I am almost sleeping through to normal morning time.  All the previous entries were written in the early hours of the morning when my body was still adjusting! So it is now mid morning in Tours and we have stopped at a bar for a coffee and loo in the old town of Tours.  The coffee was a heart kick for me, it was so strong and Peter forgot to say au lait! He's gone to see another church while I get my breath.

Tours is easy to get around. We walked from the station without getting lost to Hotel Ronsard, which is not very stylish from the outside but has been smartly refurbished inside and is very nice. So far our accommodation has all been great.  It is perfectly placed again (good research!) between the station and the old town and near the cathedral and gallery. So after we checked in that was what we did, of course - the cathedral and the museum! St Gatien is called a show stopper but in fact looks in need of repair.  It has amazing triple flying buttresses and old, rich windows.  There was an organ and vocal concert happening so we sat for a while and enjoyed that. Any excuse to sit down...

On the way there we heard music and followed a fun band down a street as they played. It was a festival atmosphere although I think they were advertising a credit union!

The Musee des Beaux Artes was the Archbishop's palace, once again and apart from its contents had beautiful high up views of the cathedral in the setting sun. We saw a Monet, Degas, Rubens and Rembrandt amongst many others. I particularly liked an old armoire full of exquisite books, and the varied floor surfaces. There was a huge old tree out the front, a Lebanese Cedar about 300 years old. I was so big that its branches were propped up and I thought about how our grandchildren would enjoy climbing it.
We were on a bit of a theme because we saw a Lebanese restaurant on the way home and had an early and delicious meal so that we didn't have to go out again.  This older couple had had enough for the day!!
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Jeremy on

Sounds like you guys are having a great time! I can't believe the whole international data/phone thing is so complicated and inhibiting. Anyway, it seems like you are soaking in some ancient history in every turn. Thumbs up for the mega research and planning before you went! Thanks for the fun and informative updates and keep having a great time. Jeremy XXXX

woodsies on

Hey good to hear from you! Miss you all so much but loving every day. It will hit us on Christmas day, I reckon. Getting used to scarves and coats, but still feeling cold. Give Tahlia and Sam big hugs from us. Xxoo

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