Saturday, June 4, 2011

European vacation, Part 4--Chateaus, castles and puppies

Saturday, May 7–I love the Saturday markets in Europe. They’re usually held in the town center square and have everything you could want–the fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, fish–just wonderful to see and smell! On the advice of our hostess, we drove to Sedan, FR for the market. Unfortunately it was a disappointment. Apparently you needed to arrive before dawn to find a parking spot, and the stalls we saw from a distance were not selling anything we were interested in or could easily transport back home in our luggage. However, we DID find the local chateau high on the hill behind town. So we found a parking space and took a walk around the chateau as it was not open for viewing.

Then we drove back to Bouillon for lunch (Skip found the steamed mussels to be delightful, while I had a veggie pizza). We walked back across the bridge (most town centers are closed to cars on Saturdays so people can enjoy shopping and lunch without having to dodge cars) and drove up the hill to the ‘castle’. This isn’t really a castle but more of a military outpost to defend the town, but it belonged to Godfrey, Lord of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, and leader of the First Crusade. He sold his castle and all his lands to finance himself and others in the quest for the Holy Grail/Holy Land. Once the Crusaders took control of Jerusalem, Godfrey became the first ruler, eschewing the title ‘king’. It’s an amazing military outpost, and I don’t believe there was any way to approach the castle or surrounding lands without being spotted by the watchers high on the hill. (photos coming soon, they're still on husbeast's computer)

Sunday, May 8–After all the driving, visiting, and walking around the past week, we decided to spend the day in the garden, listening to birds (cuckoos!), reading (Skip), knitting (me) and playing with the dogs. Honcho (2 years old) loves to chase things and play; Einstein (7 years old) just sits back, lets the silly youngster chase things, and insists on being petted/rubbed/scratched as soon as Honcho leaves to chase the ball. Honcho, on the other hand, reinvents the game of chase every time–if you try to retrieve the ball from him, he moves it back in his mouth so you can’t get it; it you teach him to drop the ball, he’ll chase and retrieve it but only return halfway across the garden. He wants YOU to go after HIM for the ball! We ended up playing with them for a bit every night after dinner, and they looked for our car to return to the parking lot every day. I miss those two rascals.
Honcho taking a rest
Einstein--don't ya just love that face?

On the drive to Sedan, France
Farm field on the drive to Sedan, France

Next: Two more countries, chocolate and beer!

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