Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

This time last week …

On Sunday, May 27th, I started a blog post by saying ‘This time next week…’ At the time I still had a few days of work ahead of me, but there was also the promise of a week in the Loire Valley to look forward to. And now it’s all over. All that remains are 539 photos, several bottles of wine, a beautiful present that Mats and Vera bought me in Turquant (more about that later) and the memories. And these memories are all happy ones.

June 3rd, 2012: Vera at the wheel of the car crossing the bridge in Amboise.
Mats drove the first lap; Vera took over south of Paris.

I had a super time! There are not enough words to describe how good it was. And it wasn’t thanks to the weather, because the legendary Loire’s micro climate didn’t really live up to its reputation. No, the success of this trip is almost entirely due to all the lovely people I met last week. First of all there are of course Mats and Vera, without whom this trip wouldn’t have been possible. Not only were they loyal and cheery travel companions, they also really took to all my blog friends whom I met over the week. 

It started on Monday, when we had lunch in Loches with Jean and Nick. We had a fantastic meal together and then Jean and Nick took the extra trouble of driving me up and down to show me their holiday cottage and their cute dog Lulu. More about that later. 

On Wednesday we went to Susan and Simon’s BBQ party, where I met more blog friends living in the area. Most of them have already blogged about this exceptional event, but I’ll get back to it in due course. In the meantime I really would like to thank everybody for being there and for deploying your cooking talents to create all the delicious food we had. A special word of thank you to Susan and Simon who are fantastic hosts! I’m sorry we couldn’t stay to help with the dishes (well, no – not really, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it). The day ended unexpectedly in La Roche Posay and I want to send a big thank you Caroline and Alexandre for their hospitality. More to come, of course. 

On Friday we had another excellent lunch In Saint Aignan with my French friends Brigitte and Jean-François, who live in Francueil, Ken and Walt and Charles-Henry. A good time was had by all. After the meal we went up to Ken & Walt’s house to meet Callie and Bertie. The latter made only a short appearance but I did get a chance to admire his intriguing green eyes and to touch his shiny black fur. Callie was as playful as ever, and made us feel very welcome. Thank you Ken and Walt for inviting me into your home on such short notice. 

We ended our week with an exquisite and cheery lunch in Paris on Saturday in the company of Charles-Henry, who had returned to the French capital in the morning after spending a week in La Touraine. 

You’ll find a full report and photos of all meetings, events, visits and adventures in the weeks to come. Right now I’m savouring a glass of Saumur Champigny from a bottle that I bought in Turquant. I said goodbye to Mats and Vera last night after a light supper at my mother’s. They wanted to visit the Grand’ Place in Brussels this morning, before setting out again on their long journey home. They’ll be spending the night in Munster (Germany) and should be back in Stockholm on Tuesday.  

I suppose they are also thinking about ‘This time last week …’ – We had arrived in Amboise and were sitting at the foot of the castle, sipping a cool beer and listening to the life music of an excellent brass band. Wishing I were in France, right now!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Martine, ssounds like a fabulous trip.. and you met my friend Diane and her husband Nigel.. Diane has a great photo on her blog .. !

Louise said...

What a great trip you have had Martine. I did keep up with your exploits via other blogs, and it was so nice to see a lovely photo of you! And now to look forward to more details of the week.

GaynorB said...

Hi Martine,

Glad you are home safe and sound.

We enjoyed meeting you and look forward to the illustrated story of your holiday.

Gaynor x

Bob said...

sounds like you had another fantastic trip. look forward to hearing more specifics about the trip and seeing your photos.

Susan said...

We both loath washing dishes. It's why we own a dishwasher - so no one ever has to feel guilty about not doing the dishes again :-)

We ate the last of the party food for lunch today!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

So pleased that you are home safely and all is well. So enjoyed meeting you. Looking forward to reading all your news in posts to come. Diane

Vera said...

Martine: The hotel in Munster is a nice surprise. Now we have just finished a meal that almost reaches the standards we have got used to when travelling with you. We are also looking forward to getting a review of our journey. ;)
Love Vera and Mats

Niall & Antoinette said...

Glad you had a safe journey home. It was good to meet you and we're looking forward to hearing all about your action packed week!

Leon and Sue Sims said...

We wait with anticipation of your all too short trip. Meeting people along the way adds to the journey - we found this to be true on our fifth time to France.
Must not wait so long for your next trip.

ladybird said...

Anne, It was great meeting Diane and Nigel and I loved reading about it on her blog :)

Louise, At the party we joked about who would be the first to blog about it. I guess Susan won!

Gaynor, I won't post all 539 photos I shot, because - especially those taken from the car - are really blurry.

Bob, I think I have enough 'material' to keep the blog going for the next two months :)

Susan, The food was really amazing. All bloggers lived up to their reputation of being good cooks too.

Diane, I'm very grateful to S&S for organizing this party and giving us the chance to meet our blog friends.

Vera and Mats, Glad to read you made it safely to Munster and that you had a great meal. Have a safe journey home! And thanks again for your company on this Loire Valley trip :x

A&N, It was a very busy week indeed and I'm glad to have two extra days of from work to recuperate ;)

L&S, I hope to go back next year, but we'll decide on that around Christmas!