Day 5 September 15, 2015
Our New Country Home
After a sad farewell to our hostess in Hautvillers, we drove toward Troyes. Troyes is pronounced Twah. Don’t ask us how they came up with that, but it seems to work for them. While writing about driving, let us divert of a moment to tell you about our GPS. We mentioned before that we have the voice of Stephen Frye as our navigator. You may remember him as Jeeves in the PBS show Jeeves and Wooster. Anyway, he is making driving so much fun. Put on your most proper British accent as you read some our favorite navigation directions that Stephen uses.
- In 400 yards, go across the roundabout. Second right. That’s it!
- This is going swimmingly, don’t you think?
- In 200 yards, on to the highway we go! Fantastic!
- Just bear left. That’s all.
- Could I possibly trouble you to turn around?
- I hate to interrupt, but in 800 yards, turn right.
- You have reached your destination. Marvelous! I think I might be falling in love with you.
With Stephen’s help, we arrived in Troyes and met our guide who was waiting for us at the town hall. Troyes was never destroyed in the wars and so has many beautiful old buildings reflecting many centuries of history. We knew we were in for an experience when we asked about a building and he sort of huffed and said, “That’s a newer one—15th century.”
We looked at delightful gargoyles, stained glass from the 12th century, and half-timbered buildings that might look straight if you are really drunk but lean multiple directions to those of us who are sober.
We tasted some amazing chocolates from a famous MOF. Oh my!
We also tasted the local plum liqueur and lived to tell about it. We didn’t need a second sip.
We had lunch at an outdoor café that served six rilletes (sort of like potted meats or meat salads). The six flavors we had were chicken, pork, trout, mushroom, goat cheese, and sardine. Jim remarked that the sardine rillete reminded him of the ice cream we had on Saturday night. We also had a salad since we needed something green. Green vegetables have been hard to come by.
After lunch we took a tour of perhaps one of the most unique museums. It was a museum of antique hand tools. If only we could have had a dollar for every time we wished Cindy’s dad had been with us! There were three floors of antique French hand tools displayed in the most artistic ways imaginable. For example there were perhaps seventy five to a hundred different types of antique trowels in one huge display case and they looked like they were starlings flying in formation. Would you like to see all the tools involved in barrel making, or all the different types of axes, or perhaps you’d like to see all the hand tools that were used to bind and decorate leather-bound books (a task which required over 120 steps in days of yore)? This is the place. One favorite displays showed all the tools needed to make gloves, complete with the forms with thumbs that could be moved to either side. Jim Walch, you were in our thoughts so much this afternoon.
With Stephen’s guidance we headed southeast out of the city to a rural portion of the department in this region of France. We made a quick stop at a cider museum filled with old apple presses of all sizes, a movable still, and farm equipment. We now have some lovely apple juice with cherries to enjoy in the morning and some cider to enjoy another evening.
Our new home for the next two nights is in the hamlet of Ervy-le-Chatel. The town is perched on a hill and once had a medieval castle. Some of the ramparts are still visible. Our room looks out on the farms in the valley below. The only sounds are the bells from the church about a hundred yards away and the birds.
We had dinner this evening with our hosts. Terrific food, much from their garden or the local village, and lots of fun talking politics made for a great evening. It will be hard to get up and rolling tomorrow.
Off to bed to dream about another terrific day in France.