On the first morning of our stay in Vouvray, I had noticed a thermometer lying on one of the terrace benches. It read just over 10°C. I decided to photograph it every morning so that I could show the daily increase to the ‘folks back home’. But I could have saved myself the trouble as there was no noticeable increase, except on the last day – Friday morning – when the mercury suddenly took a giant leap to … 11,5°C!
Vouvray, May 20th, 2010 at 8 a.m.
Day temperatures, however, were fine; not too hot, not too cold. On Thursday morning, the last day of our stay, the air was crisp and cool. But by the time we reached Langeais, it was getting uncomfortably hot in the car. We found a nice parking spot in the shade in the village square near the château. This was our first destination of the day. I had read about a temporary exhibition on food in the Middle Ages that sounded very interesting. Moreover, I had some vague recollections of walking up the steps that led into the castle, but I didn’t actually remember visiting it.
There was a large party of extremely well dressed people waiting outside the ticketing office and the girl at the counter was rather stressed. As in most tourist places, she asked us the number of our ‘département’ for their visitors’ statistics. This only applies to French people, as we, here in Belgium, don’t have departments but only provinces (10 of them). When J.L. jokingly answered that we didn’t have one, without mentioning that we came from Belgium, the girl threw him an icy glance over her steel rimmed spectacles and angrily slapped the ‘enter’ key of her computer keyboard. Slightly intimidated J.L. offered “We’re from Belgium”. “Trop tard” (too late), the girl sneered and turned away to ‘help’ the next visitor. This was the very first time that we ran into such a disagreeable ticketing clerk. In most cases they are very smiling and good-humoured … and if we are to believe them, they all have friends or relatives in Belgium.
A medieval royal banquet: no flash photography, please!
The exhibition turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as it mostly consisted of large information boards with detailed descriptions of what the medieval foodies used to eat. Although it was very interesting, we had expected a more dynamic set-up. The best part was a large dining table that had been laid out for a medieval dinner. Unfortunately there was a rope preventing visitors from actually walking around the table. Moreover, the room was poorly lit, which made it hard to see the details of the cutlery and the (fake) dishes that were on display.
Contrary to my normal respect for ‘don’t do’ signs, I shot a photo using the flashlight of my camera while nobody was watching. During the rest of the visit I constantly expected some guard to come up to me, reprimanding me for my disobedience and confiscating my camera …
When was the last time you ignored a ‘don’t’ sign?