Saturday, May 27, 2006

St Benoit, fete and haircut

A bit to report here but I will start with the haircut. Those of you who have travelled a bit will identify with the rarity of getting a haircut. My hair was starting to look like a bad hair day everyday. I trimmed the fringe and that made it look worse! Today I went into one of the Chateauneuf salons and was given a lovely haircut. Yeah!
Yesterday was the feast of Ascension, a public holiday in France and a special "jour de Loire" fete here in Chateauneuf. Yesterday in the early evening a whole lot of traditional boats arrived at the quay, and then a French folk group entertained with traditional marriner's songs. Lots of people listened appreciatively. Later in the evening the boats processed up the river as a "Hellios" creature went by land complete with acrobats and some incredibly skilled people on sort of bouncy pogo sticks that they used as easily as legs! The music accompanying this creature was a composition worth listening to just for its own sake. My favourite bit of the whole evening though was when the fireworks display happened. It was magnifique!
This morning I woke to another grey day but it was time to get out on the "velo". I headed out to St Benoit sur Loire, about 11km on the cycle computer from the camping ground. Lovely views of the Loire as I got closer. Had a large cup of hot chocolate before visiting the monastery church. This church holds the actual relics of St Benedict in a crypt that the whole church has been built around. It was mainly Romanesque, just moving into Gothic, but a harmonious whole.
En route back I stopped at Germigny des Pres where the church also has interesting features. I stopped in the village for lunch before heading back to town and my haircut. I hope I don't hear you all groaning about the relaxation of my days! Console yourselves with the thought that I might be packing up the tent in pouring rain in the morning!

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