France – last entry

Hi all.

Typing this from iPhone

In Paris

Visited museums

Saw medieval chateau de Louvre and remains of the Bastille

Ate good food

Visited Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde’s graves

Went shopping for antiques, souvenirs, and ritzy stuff

Head out in the am – see you in the USA


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 16-18

Day 16
(31) Chateau de Malmaison
(16a) Tour Eiffel

Day 17
(32) Chateau de Versailles
(and everything that goes along with it)

Day 18
(17a) Notre Dame de Paris
(18a) Sacre Cour
… Internet Cafe

OK So the hotel is fantastic! Great location great price – No Internet.

This is a quick update from an Internet Cafe.

We returned the car after a quick trip to Chateau Malmaison and then went to the Eiffel tower where I had a great time hustling the salesmen for cheap trinkets.

We spent the next day at Versailles. Wow it was so tiring! After we hunted down a movie theater and I got to see the new Tom Hanks film. It was OK but very welcome to have some media in my life (and some popcorn).

Today we went to Notre Dame which closed early to have a service for the victims of that flight from Rio. We will go back so we can climb the tower. Next we went to Sacre Cour. I have been there before but never have I climbed as high. I mean I climbed the tower but not to the very very top of the dome – wow that was intense. I mean the staircase was OVER the dome.

OK that’s enough for now.

PS I am still clean shaven and wearing a blue shirt!


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 12-15 (Brief)

Quick Summary Day 12-15 and a look ahead.

Day 12
(26) Fort de Salses
(9a) Arena in Nimes
(10a) Maison Carree
(11a) Pont du Gard

Day 13
(27) Palace of the Popes
(12a) Pont d’Avignon
(13a) Arena in Arles
(14a) Theater in Arles

Day 14
(28) Chateau d’If
(29) Chateau de Savilly

Day 15
(15a) Cathedral in Autun
(30) Vaux-le-Vicomte

Ok summary aside. Let’s review. Car was broken into and I spent many hours in a police station getting a police report. Other than Tim’s stuff and our general inconvenience of having a car that couldn’t be secured everything is fine.

I skip ahead. We arrived at the Chateau de Savilly very late which was disappointing though I did get my pictures of it in the morning. We left our bags there and visited Autun and then got the bags. We then drove to the hotel to put our bags in the room before Vaux-le-Vicomte but the hotel was closed until 5pm so I cancelled that reservation and moved to another hotel.

Our plan goes on from here:

We leave this morning and drive (yes DRIVE) into Paris to drop our stuff off at the Hotel. Then we drive to Chateau de Malmaison and then from there the Airport to drop of the car and deal with them. At that point two things happen: (1) we are on foot – which is good because I can leave a lot of stuff in the room and it makes me more mobile (even though we are less mobile) (2) The hotel doesn’t have Internet so at best I will post from Internet Café as we find them.

I have more pictures and stories to share about the trip and that will unravel over the next few weeks as I will continue to post but I wanted to give a quick tidy up message to everyone who has been following.

I also want to once again thank the Maison Française de Cleveland Fund for their generosity and support of the expedition.

Our plan for the week is to do some typical Paris stuff. Don’t laugh it is important and part of it all. Thursday is the long day at the Musée d’Orsay and Friday at the Louvre. And yes we will sneak off and do a full day at Versailles either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Next time from an Internet Café!






[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Update: No Shit They Did It Again!


So we came back to the car after visiting the Chateau d’If in Marseilles and some asshole broke the drivers side little window (which I now know is called the deflector) got into the car – open the glove box, broke open the armrest – and got into the trunk.

Funnily enough other than the damage they didn’t steal anything… of mine.

Tim on the other hand lost two bags (one of them was very important and everything was valuable but useless to a thief).

So after three hours in a police station getting a police report we finally made out next stop VERY late.

Now we can’t secure the car and have two more days in it.

Man Plans

God Laughs

Jared Adapts

More as it happens….

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 9-11

Day 9
(18) Chateau d’Angers
(19) Chateau du Roi Rene in Ponts de Ce

Day 10
(20) Chateau du Rocamadour
(7a) Church in Rocamadour (whose name eludes me right now)
(21) City of Carcasonne

Day 11
(22) Chateau Comtal (inside Carcasonne)
(8a) Church in Carcasonne (whose name eludes me right now)
(23) Chateau Peyrepertuse
(24) Chateau Queribus (seen from Peyrepertuse)
(25) Chateau des Ducs de Joyeuse

OK so here goes with a quick update.

Angers is a big fun castle and we did it quickly and outside of town saw a castle by a bridge which I quickly photographed. The road to Rocamadour was long and rough and it started to storm. So bad they wouldn’t let us pump or gasoline! We finally made it to a small hotel near the train station and after we got settled we saw a lightning blast so bright and heard a pop and the power went out for a bit. The next day was overcast and slightly rainy but we were able to walk the ramparts in Rocamadour and visit the Church.

We then drove to Carcasonne. The GPS must have been mad at me because it started to give me bad directions because it thought that 2 roads merged that didn’t and then started to put us in an endless loop! (I am not kidding). We figured it out and forced it to take us back on the right road. The bed and breakfast was fabulous! Like a villa – the rooms so nicely decorated and our hosts so polite and helpful. She didn’t want to be interviewed for the film but one of her neighbors is a scholar on the city and agreed to be in the film instead! She translated the questions and he answered in French – I understood about what he was saying but I will need to get it translated when I get back. At some point I think he was disparaging tourists buying snow-globes so I videotaped some of that just in case. I had an amazing meal of a local white bean stew that I am sure I will blog about more later.

The next morning we visited Carcasonne again but only quickly so we could get on the road to the Pyrenees. Mountain driving is tough but the day was glorious and we hiked up to the top of the mountain and not only visited one castle but I was able to see another via my telephoto lens! Our last stop for the day is a 16th century Chateau Hotel that so far has been my favorite (in terms of me owning a castle) and I ‘might’ have an interview in the morning.

Wish me luck.

Some random unlabeled and uncorrected (hence slightly blue) pictures follow.







[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 7-8

Sorry for the light postings. It is a lot of work and between shooting and driving I am really tired. I am including some technical details at the end of this posting on how things are going from a techie standpoint. And of course some photos (remember they are blueish because I can’t edit or color correct on here!)

Day 7
(12) Chateau de Chenonceau
(13) Chateau de Villandry
(14) Chateau de Azay-le-Rideau
(15) Chateau de Rochecotte (We stayed there!)

Day 8
(16) Chateau de Langeais
(6a) Dolmen de Bagneux
(17) Chateau de Saumur

The Loire is amazing and the weather has been great – just a light mist one morning. A couple of highlights for you:

We ran to Langeais to be there first thing in the am and at 9:30 they did indeed drop the drawbridge (and I got it on film). Because it was a Sunday they also had a market which was a lot of fun.

Backing up a little bit our stay at the Chateau Rochecotte couldn’t have been better. Not only is it an amazing castle but one of the owners agreed to let me interview her. She was nervous and some of the questions she answered in French (which I said was fine – I will have it subtitled when we get home). Some questions she answered in English though (so I knew what she said) and then she took us on a tour of the grounds and into the woods and we spent over an hour together and it really was magical. Afterward we ate dinner at the Chateau and WOW it was a real event – even nicer than the night before – I think tomorrow (or the next time I have Internet) I will devote some of the blog to a discussion of food. She gave me a bottle of wine which we now have to figure out how to get home.

As a surprise to Jenny and Tim I drove on a little side trip (all of 10 min) to the Café Dolmen in Saumur which houses the largest Dolmen in France – it was pretty kewl. Not a castle but a very large and very old stone structure nonetheless.

The Bed and Breakfast in Angers is lovely – we are starting to hit regions where the bathroom and toilet are separate. This is GREAT if you are traveling with other people. The proprietor really doesn’t speak any English so I am not going to even try and interview him.

It is strange how the film part of this is going. I have been able to film everywhere but almost all handheld. I have recorded very little audio and I have also gotten a ton of photos. As the trip progresses the post production of the film keeps changing and I can safely tell you I have no idea what the final product will be like yet.

Some technical stuff:

So far I have taken:
12 Hours of Tape
1390 Photos

I have used the tripod twice: once during the interview and the other time to watch the drawbridge drop. Generally it is hard to carry and no one lets you use it. I am using this $50 pro-cam sports mount handle thing I bought before the trip and it works better then expected. The bean bag mounting thing was a waste of time. So was the whiteboard it just isn’t convenient (however the superclamp I bough to hold it as well as the car window mount did prove useful for the microphone).

From a microphone perspective I am only use the Rode shotgun mic – it has good wind and ok noise elimination and I am able to sneak it in most place. Often we only pull it out when I want the ambience or will speak myself. The base of it broke but I was able to attach a tripod mount to it and it mount to the underside of the pro-cam mount it is pretty funny looking and quick to disassemble.

The rainslicker I got for the video camera I have used a couple of times and works well. For the most part I do not use the good handheld wireless microphone. The white balance card for the video camera I have only used a few times because I move to various lighting situations too quickly.

I have lost two lens caps. The video camera one just vanished and the zoom lens cap is floating in front of Azay-le-Rideau.

The GPS logger is working great s a live GPS feed into the NetBook computer I brought with me and have sitting on the dashboard for turn by turn directions. All of this goes into a backpack that never leaves my touch!

OK so there are some technical details for my geeky friends.

And some more photos for your enjoyment.





[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 5-6 (Brief)

Day 5 -6
So the Internet was ‘broken’ at Mont Saint Michel so I wasn’t able to post.

I am very short on time again because there is so much to do behind the scenes so I will be very brief today (longer tomorrow) and instead will post some pictures.

Be warned I cannot edit on this computer so the JPG versions of the RAW pictures from the camera and are just as is without resizing or white balance correction. Hence the blueish tint.

(9) Chateau Ducal in Caen
(10) Mont Sain Michel (I count it as a castle it is a fortified fortress!)

Day 6

(5a) Cathedral in Chartres
(11) Chateau de Chissay (Where we slept!)

I will write more narrative when I have time – the Loire awaits and we have 3 castles to visit and one more to sleep in!






PS This last one is where we slept!

More soon!


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update: Day 3-4

Day 3 – 4

The adventure continues…

I was informed in the morning by the proprietor of our Bed and Breakfast that what we say wasn’t a riot or a demonstration but actually a ‘manifestation’ and that they have them quite frequently.  In fact on the way out of town we saw another group blocking traffic in a similar (though less flaming manure) sort of way.  The Bed and Breakfast we found out as we left was a restored 18th building and very nicely done.

The cathedral in Amiens is massive – as massive as I remember and it just goes on and on.  I won’t.  It was interesting to see things through a more art historical eye.  There was one chapel that was being worked on my some conservationists and it gave you a real behind the scenes sort of look at it all.  Also they have the head of John the Baptist which I somehow missed the first time around.  We spent a lot of time there – it is so serene.

The gift shop had (in English) the book that explains in great details European cathedral architecture that I had stolen on my list trip here (and that we couldn’t even find on the Internet) so buying that made me very happy.

Our next destination was Giverny. It was as lovely as ever – the sun shining and a wonderful breeze – just a magical place.  There is a museum of American art in Giverny but they were running an exhibition of … Monet!  Normally you can’t see any Monet in Giverny but they had 28 paintings from all over.  They also had a lot of photographs and even some color photographs that were originally taken for a stereoscopic display (though they were only showing one image).  A real surprise!

The house and gardens were fun.  No photo or video in the house so I just walked around with the video camera on and held it from the top handle to see if anything might come out.  The gardens were nice though not fully in bloom.  I did get a little video of me on the bridge in the Japanese garden.  Jenny is turning into a real cinematographer – positioning me for the best effect.  To make life easier I am shooting everything without any sound and then we will add voiceover in post.  This way I only need to add the microphone when I know I am going to talk.  The compromise is that we are using the shotgun mic now (and Jenny even insists that she monitors the audio to get it just right).  The base broke off of the shotgun mic (that attaches it to the camera) but we were able to jury rig a quick release mount to the microphone and the underside of my hand mount for the video camera.  It works really well.  And even with only shooting short ‘bumpers’ of 15-30 seconds each there will be a lot of them (30+castles as well as other places!).

The B&B in Giverny was almost too good to be true.  An entire split level apartment dating back to Monet’s time.  Full kitchen – 2 bedrooms (in a loft style second floor) – I can imagine spending a week there.   After we settled in we went to the cemetery and visited Monet’s grave and to give our respects.  It was a nice bit of closure to the whole space.  Jenny needed some aspirin so we drove to the next town over and I found a castle!  Well the ruin of some little towers.  I will have to fill in the name later – I think it in Vernon.  Tim opted not to go shopping so he missed it!

OK I lied – the closure to the day was dinner. Lamb and pate and crème caramel – yum yum.  Plus live music from a French band – it was really fun.  It did get cold though and the service here is not one to push you from a table or get you your check quickly.

Summary of Day 3
(1a) – Amiens Cathedral
(2a) – Monet’s House and Garndens (and Grave)
(3a) – The American Museum in Giverny
(5) – Ruined Tower in Vernon

The (a) indicates that the site is not a castle.

Day 4

Our first stop was the Chateau in Gisors.  It is a nice ruin. A little castle on an artificial hill surrounded by a curtain wall.  I can’t remember going up to the top because the last time I was there I didn’t!  We went in and looked around but to get up to the top is an hour long tour – in French – on the hour.  We walked around for a bit but skipped the tour.

I needed some lip balm and Tim wandered over to the cathedral (which we went to as well). It was a nice place and a bit of a surprise.  Those walkie talkies really come in handy for when Tim wanders off!

We then headed over to La Roche Guyon.  This is a big place.  It has troglodyte caves in the basement, a 12th century castles on the rocky hilltop, an 18th century castle with gardens by the river, Romel’s WWII bunker, and it is all connected by tunnels and mountain.  Jenny tried her EMF ghostmeter but alas she didn’t find any ghosts.  There was also an art exhibition of a surrealist who only paints imagery of Mont Saint Michel.  Very strange but very good.  The castle is quite a hike up and down and through and it took hours.

It is a good thing we stopped for Crepes before!  Oh yes my first Crepe of the trip.  Salmon and fresh cream and caviar (the last was a surprise).  Oh so good.

Our last stop of the day was the ruin of Chateau-Gaillard.  Richard the Lionheart’s stronghold.  It is a very nice ruin of what probably was a very unique looking castle.  Lots more hiking and very peaceful atmosphere as we climbed along the ruins.

After Chateau-Gaillard we drove to Caen (not Cannes were the film festival is or Kahn ie Wrath of).  We stayed at an IBIS (chain hotel) and had Italian for dinner.  Today we visit the Chateau Ducal (of William the Conqueror) and then head over to Mont Saint Michel.

On a technical note, I am loving the new camera.  The primary adjustment I use is not aperture or shutter speed but ISO.  I leave it on 100 and only adjust as needed. I find the shots tend to darker then I like so I am bracketing often and shooting between 150-200 shots a day.

Still having trouble getting the data off the GPS into something useable so that will happen soon (I hope) and later tonight I will post some more maps and another teaser picture or two.

On a continuity note – I am wearing the same shirt every day (a clean version of course).  Shaving every day has been too rough on my face so I am shaving every other day.  The joke is I am getting redder and redder.  Perhaps I will show you later tonight!

Summary of Day 4

(6) Chateau in Gisors
(4a) Cathedral in Gisors
(7) Chateau La Roche-Guyon
(8) Chateau-Gaillard

Thank for reading.  Look later for pictures and maps.  Tell your friends!


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]


OK so I still can’t post my good maps but this is a start of what we have done so far.

Paris to Compiegne


Compiegne to Pierrefonds


Pierrefonds to Chantilly


Chantilly to Amiens


OK more when I can – later!!

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France Trip Update – Day 0, 1, & 2

OK folks sorry for the long delay. Be warned that my keyboard isn’t the greatest and also that words are not my primary artistic medium!

Day 0 – Saturday and the Trip to France

I fell asleep on the runway in Cleveland (to fly to New York) and woke up an hour later to find we were still on the runway in Cleveland! We had a 2.5 hour layover so this wasn’t going to mess up our flight but still! Then it took an extra hour to land because they kept circling around to find us a runway to land on in New York. The only good news is that we had no layover and he landed us right near where we took off from. Also the flight attendant had pity on me and let me store my carry on bag next to hers IN the plane instead of checking it curbside (like everyone else). This matters because it contains the cameras.

Day 1 – Paris & Compiegne

The flight to Paris was OK. I slept some and watched Jim Carrey in Yes Man which was nice but I did not way Horton Hears a Who. I drew the line. The landing was very rough. But we did arrive in Paris. Customs was easy – just grabbed the bags and headed to the phones to call for the car company to pick us up.

We waited for a bit at the wrong exit and Jenny and Tim had some money changed (yes even though we knew it would be steep it is good to have ‘some’ Euros). It was horrible Tim had less exchanged so his was $1.66 mine was a little better at $1.56 (this is overall because of the fees and such). Let’s hope we do better or this will go over my budget by 30 percent!

We called the company again and they told us where to REALLY go. The car is GREAT. I mean fabulous – I love a new car – had the new car smell (I put a vanilla air freshener in to make it look like less of a rental – Tim hates it!). Holds the bags in the trunk no prob is very high tech and very comfortable.

I paid 1.05 for petrol which is better then by estimate (yeah) and I might have gotten super by mistake! We repacked the bags (somewhat and headed to Compiegne for our first stop the Tower of Joan of Arc.

Now you have to realize I did a LOT of research before we left. I have two red binders each with an entire ream of paper. One contains turn by turn directions from place to place and the other full background info and French history so I can talk on camera. This first stop I was still a little fuzzy on. I knew that in the hundred years war that Joan of Arc was sent to Compiegne to defend it from the Burgundians and it was here that she was captured. What I never understood is why they would imprison her IN Compiegne after.

The answer is – they didn’t. During a retreat from a skirmish outside of town they closed the city gates before she could get back in. Was this on purpose by the Mayor, her enemies, or even her allies, the scholars debate. But in honor of her they renamed the 12th century tower ruin that used to guard the old bridge into the city after her. A great story that I couldn’t really tell on camera in the wind and the rain. I got some great photos! I even have some good video. But not really of me on camera – well maybe a quick intro. The whiteboard wasn’t going to work the way I planned. So I am definitely going to be doing a lot of voice-over when I get back home and maybe even intercut some footage of me with a backdrop. No real tragedy just changes the nature of the beast is all.

Now some of you know I was complaining about those little umbrellas that everyone was bringing with them. We did stop at a Monoprix before we got to the ruin and I did buy a VERY expensive 15 Euro umbrella that helped a little during the shoot (not much it was a crappy umbrella). Plus Jenny was tired and Tim wandered off. Bringing walkie-talkies so that I could find Tim was probably the smartest idea I have ever had!

I couldn’t figure out how to make the GPS on the notebook work (which could wait) but I did have the GPS data logger on my person. It won’t read the right time so it turns out I set all the clocks on my cameras to Paris time for nothing. The first day’s photos all need to be retime stamped to work properly but I did get the data for the entire day. (Though I still have work to do on that before I post the map – sorry folks!)

We next headed to the Chateau de Compiegne. It was raining a little less and I was still a little dejected from my not successful shoot at the Tower. The Chateau was better than I remembered it and they let me video tape on the inside. At this point I realized that post audio was in fact a good thing! I just pretended I was a tourist and got as much as I could. Remember my goal is only to have 3-5 minutes from each place overall and I can also use my photos if I need to in the video. The new still camera is GREAT and I am also so glad I didn’t bring the steadycam. In fact I am only using the one video camera on the metal arm thing I got two days before I left.

It was still raining at the Chateau so I didn’t get to see the gardens but I filmed a few seconds on intro there – that is the new goal – film whenever I can and then just try and get an intro. I also retook a lot of photos I had taken in 2000 from my first visit without the flaws that have been bugging me. It really is worth the visit.

The rain let up so we went back to the Joan of Arc tower and I was able to get a little more video and some more stills. It is funny how my plans for what I am doing have changed even though the itinerary is staying the same.

Tim and Jenny were both very tired and while I know Jenny is having a great time I was a little worried about Tim. He was pretty quiet.

We then headed to the first B&B. (Oh, for those of you wondering Jenny and I ate a sandwich for lunch at a corner bar and Tim stopped at the grocery and got himself bread and meat and fruit.) The B&B was gorgeous! It was a ruin of a farmhouse that an English couple has seen from the canal as they were barging (ala on a barge) around Europe. They purchased the 12 ruined houses on the lot and restored them all and sold them to English families. They seemed a little apprehensive about being on film so I didn’t push it though we did have a great time talking about castles. Dinner was fabulous Tim and I both has the Rabbit was a Plum sauce and the smoked salmon starter was SOOO yummy. They also brought out the cheese spread – oh my! So good.

We had our own rooms for the first night and I was really able to rethink the bags and such and yes I did shave so I am still smooth. The Internet however didn’t work so alas today is the first posting!

Summary of Day 1

(1) Gross Tour Du Roi (Rededicated as the Tower of Joan of Arc)
(2) Chateau du Compiegne
Day 2 – Pierrefonds and Chantilly

Today was going to be a crazy day. The castle I love most – Pierrefonds and the castle I hate most – Chantilly. As many of you recall it was at Chantilly in 2005 that I came back to find the car empty of $8000 worth of stuff (and it was my first stop of the trip). It was because of that event that I did NOT stop in Chantilly first but it Is so iconic I couldn’t skip it.

I had a discovery Monday afternoon that my little GPS data logger that I wear to tag my photos somehow shows up as a live GPS data feed to my computers. Instead of the roof mounted GPS that isn’t working the software likes the little GPS unit (and it still logs the data!). With that I tried putting the little notebook on the dash and viola: turn by turn voice directions around France. Damn you big red binder I didn’t need – come to think about it since I am not doing running history – damn you second big red binder I didn’t need. That actually isn’t true – it is nice to have some history and Tim really likes reading these articles by this Wikipedia thing (as well as other sources thank you). He was also complaining about one of the article’s bad translation and I told him it was an auto translate from Babelfish so the fact that it was readable at all was amazing – he was amazed.

Anyways we head to Pierrefonds with a new plan. Put all the technology that isn’t on me or in the backpack in the small blue suitcase and ask the castle to hold the bag (instead of leaving it in the car). Then the only risk is to the clothes. Sounds good right?

We drove to Pierrefonds where I couldn’t find the entrance. We ended up taking a service road into the castle and parked in the employee lot! We went with the blue bag and they told us they couldn’t take it because of terrorists but that she would call the director. I took out the print I had made of the castle to give them but it was a very confusing moment. They took the print with thanks and told me that if I didn’t mind having the bags searched that we could take them with us. Oy – heavy. But it was nice – they searched and we went around. It was even emptier than I remember – which is good- because the BBC is filming Merlin there on a regular basis. We got lucky because it is closed often now.

The other good news is that the lower lever was open with a special exhibition of effigies that were all laid out like in a crypt with audio and some projections making the space very haunting (but not tacky at all – really it was amazing). Tim was so excited – he told me how much fun he was having and that he never really got castles before – he was really smiling. Jenny has just been walking on a cloud and loves the whole feel of France – I am sure when I give her the computer to blog she will tell you all how she wants to move here right away!

We stopped for lunch and just grabbed quick sandwiches for the road and headed for Chantilly. Tim is very swayed by the road signs and wants to stop everywhere. I am holding fast to the schedule and explained that what I planned is better than what we will ‘stumble on’ in the time allotted.

Now I approached Chantilly with some trepidation. We have been working on the rule that you can’t go into the trunk before you leave the car so if you need something get it at the stop before. I still was scared. The parking lot is wooded with signs that say they don’t take responsibility for the contents of your car. So as planned I took the blue bag with me – rolled it to the castle and – NO – they don’t have a luggage check. However the security guard offered to hold it for me in his guardhouse! Yeah! The castle is fabulous. The stables are as big as a castle and are the ones featured in the James Bond film a View to a Kill. We didn’t have time for the stables and just went to the Castle and the art gallery inside it. Wow – I have finally seen the ‘Three Graces’ and many other great works of art. And again – they let me film the entire thing. I even took some video on the tour (though not of the guide – just the rooms).

It was getting late and starting to rain again so we didn’t get to see the gardens but it is ok because they were all under construction – I mean BIG crews with bulldozers rebuilding them!

Our next stop Amiens to another B&B. This place is lovely. We are sharing a room and Tim seems fine in his little bed. We are really just outside of Amiens so they sent us into town to get some dinner. Tim and Jenny had cold plate boards (Tim fish, Jenny meat) and I had a wonderful (but slow) Pate appetizer, steak dinner, and apple pastry dessert – yum.

During dinner we heard some banging and some booms (like fireworks or gunfire). It was very regular and it looked like a parade just across the river (which was less than a block over). Jenny thought it was school letting out and Tim said it was a demonstration. It got louder. It got rowdier. Then Jenny’s eyes started to burn as we say lots of smoke and head police sirens and fire trucks. We waited a while for things to calm down not knowing what it was.

Our car was parked RIGHT in the line of the parade demonstration and when we got to it – the streets were covered with garbage – hay – manure! The car was fine – though Jenny pointed out due to evidence right next to it that it probably had been pelted by a potato.

The next stop was tricky – getting out of town. There was hay and garbage everywhere. The manure has been set on fire and the police kept redirecting us. So however did the GPS – right into the thick of it. Tim kept joking that it was a bad scifi story with the computer trying to get us back into the action. While I am getting us lost – and Jenny will write about just how lots – wrong way on one way street – driving on a shopping plaza that wasn’t even a street – and not having my light on – Tim jumped out of the car to get shots of smoking manure!

We did make it back though it was late and our hosts thought they had given us the keys and didn’t really understand what happened to us. We explained as best we could. They don’t speak much English and because this isn’t a castle town I won’t press here either.

I posted the video clip I took from the restaurant before it got too bad on YouTube and was told it was a farmworkers demonstration. Looked like a riot to me – they trashed the place!

Mom! We are fine.

Summary of Day 2:
(3) Chateau de Pierrefonds
(4) Chateau de Chantilly

I still haven’t gotten the GPS setup good enough to POST the maps – though I do have the data. As I am short on time (sorry) I will only post Tim’s smoking manure pic and the YouTube video. I will post when I can. Today is Amiens and Giverny but NO Internet tonight so that might give me time to catch up!

That’s it for the first post! Tell your friends see ya next time.


PS OK – One castle picture…

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]