Our friends left this morning to continue their travels elsewhere. We had been hoping for eight years that they would be able to come visit, and now they have. Looking back over these last few days, it's like we went through a whirlwind. And we enjoyed every minute of it.
We tried to do a little of everything in just three days' time. We had lunch in a crêperie in Montrichard. We went to see one of the major châteaux, Chenonceau, and a less major one, Montpoupon. We spent an afternoon walking around in a picturesque French town, Loches, with its medieval quarter. We went to the Saint-Aignan zoo, which is a major attraction in the area.
We went to Selles-sur-Cher to walk through and buy food in one of the area's biggest open-air markets. We bought and ate delicous cherries, apricots, and strawberries at good prices and nice Toulouse sausage made the traditional way — meat chopped with a knife rather than run through a grinder. We ate bread delivered to our house by the bread lady.
We had dinner at the ferme-auberge — a local farm-inn, where you can pet goats, buy cheese, have dinner, or even rent a room and stay for a few days. We dined on goat — kid or, in French, chevreau — in a mustard sauce, and roasted guinea fowl, not to mention goat-cheese quiche and an apricot clafoutis. We drank the local wines, including an organic red from Catherine Roussel's Clos Roche-Blanche winery and a Pinot Noir made by Jean-Christophe Mandard.
We walked around old Saint-Aignan, taking in the views of the rooftops and the river valley from the terrace of the château, as well as going down into the crypt of the church to see the 12th-century frescoes that adorn its walls. We took a little tour of the SuperU supermarket, just to see what it was like.
We went to the Domaine de la Renaudie for a wine tasting hosted by one of the owners, Patricia — a neighbor of ours. The wines were delicious, as always — including a citrus-scented Sauvignon Blanc and a peppery, bone-dry rosé made from local Pineau d'Aunis grapes — and the conversation was lively and informative. The wine visit turned into a highlight of the trip, thanks to Patricia's knowledge, enthusiasm, and warm welcome.
The house feels a little empty now. Bertie the black cat and Callie the collie will both miss their new friends once they realize they really aren't coming back later today. We'll miss them too, and maybe more so because they are old friends for us.