I got on the road at about 9, after partaking of the rather large breakfast buffet. Actually, I partook rather too freely—I was sluggish throughout the morning. Of course, part of my sluggishness could be due to the continued hot weather. Today’s high was around 95 degrees.
The first 5km getting out of town were rather unglamorous. Main streets and suburbs. Ugh. At the edge of town I rode through a big public park and then the route led along the river Cher with its multiplicity of bright yellow lily-pad-like plants (my botany is rather shaky).
The farms in this area are different than those around Blois—more corn, not as many grains and few sunflower fields.
Villandry is a jewel. The love and care that goes into the gardens – the form – and the functionality – all put together making them an oasis of beauty. I also loved that the house (chateau) looks so lived-in and personable, with family pictures and memorabilia decorating the surfaces—it’s not just a cold museum.
I ate lunch at Hotel le Columbier (across the street from the chateau), where I had originally had reservations for four nights. It was a wise decision to stay in Tours—first of all the town consists of 5 houses and a church (not a lot to see and do in the evenings), and the food at the hotel was quite unexceptional.
After lunch I decided to take the long way back to Savonnieres and rode (and did a little pushing) up the rather steep hill leading east out of town. Back in Savonnieres I visited the rather touristy-tacky but in spite of that interesting Petrified Grottoes and got a look at some stalactites and stalagmites.
I rode back into Tours retracing my steps from the morning, spent the late afternoon checking train schedules and wandering about town and then made an early night of it and was in bed by 10pm.