Thursday, May 5, 2011

France Trip: Day 4 William the Conquerer's Castle

The day started off by going to the local Market Day and bought some groceries, mostly snacks. The market was fun because it sold everything we wanted and it was our first real exchange with the locals. They were all very nice and while they didn't speak English, we were able to get by just fine on the little bit of French I knew and the universal market hand language (point at something and hold up your fingers to indicate the number you want).
We got to drive around the beautiful French country side. After we went shopping the kids played at the playground near the shops. After we unloaded the groceries, we went to Caen and saw William the Conquerer's Chateau (i.e. castle). It was pretty neat. The kids really enjoyed it. They had fun climbing up all the stairs and see the city of Caen from high up. There was a playground in the castle grounds that Misty enjoyed. When we were doing at the castle we went to a town called Vire, which is only a half hour from our gite, and found a pastry shop and chocolatier. We went back to the gite to have a snack before dinner. I made a cheese platter that Ray and Lexi loved. We ended up going back to Vire for dinner. We found an American restaurant. The waitress was very nice and patient with us since our French was something to be desired. Perhaps I picked up more on the Rosetta Stone than I had though. Anyways, we enjoyed our dinner. I got a "Kentucky Chicken...the sheriff's secret recipe". Much to my disappointment it wasn't fried chicken like I had hoped. Instead I would call it more like a Memphis chicken, as it had been marinated for awhile and was grilled. Overall the meal and the whole day was very enjoyable.

Monday morning we headed into town for some food. There was an open air market going on in the local town. It had livestock being sold, butchers having barbeques, and vendors selling their wears. We picked up some food in the form of cheese, breads, and fruits. Angie tried her hand at speaking the French she has been trying to self teach herself for the past 2 months. It was a good thing too, as no one there spoke any English. The rumors of the French being notoriously nasty and rude did not seem to hold true for any of these people. They were all friendly and full of smiles and appreciative nods of the heads.Monday afternoon we drove to the Chateau of William the Conqueror. This was actually his boyhood home which his father had built before William was even born. But the castle was impressive. William had made some improvements to it after meeting his wife and then going slightly paranoid she would be in danger while he was away. From the battlements we were able to see both the Abbeys he had constructed to appease the Pope over his wedding to his wife (apparently the Pope did not approve but they married anyway). There was also a very [architecturally] overly ornate church just outside the grounds of the Chateau. Inside the Chateau were two churches, two museums, and a playground. Misty liked the playground, naturally. But I think Neil kind of did too. 

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