Day 36, Hayven on Earth
We started the day with our regular routine of breakfast and dishes. We were advised we would be organizing some straw bales before lunch. Even though it was hard work, we were happy to do it. There were a few reasons why the work on the chateau was much more enjoyable than the last place. For starters, our hosts are much friendlier at the chateau. They even said things like "please" and "thank you" which made all the difference. Jerrad and I actually felt appreciated and wanted at the chateau, as opposed to the last place which felt like they didn't give a crap if we were there or not. Plus, we got fed like royalty at the chateau. That definitely helped.
So after we finished dishes we headed to work. We took straw bales from the shed and piled them onto the trailer. Jerrad and I climbed to the top of the hay tower in the shed and our host stood on his trailer. Jerrad would take a bale from the shed, hand it to me and I would toss it down to the trailer. Jerrad really got into his task and decided to do some parkour (or straw-kour, if you will) while grabbing bales. Not only was it a good workout, but it was very entertaining to watch Jerrad pretend he was in a kung-fu movie.
After moving a ton of straw it was time for lunch. My stomach had been a little sad so I decided I wouldn't eat cheese for a day to give my tummy a rest. Our lunch consisted of a bacon quiche (Jerrad said if there was one meal where I should eat meat, it should've been that one), hard boiled eggs, tomato salad, bread and cheese. Remember that one time I said I wouldn't eat cheese? I lied. It's damn near impossible to turn down french cheese. I dare you to try it.
After lunch we headed out again for another hay party. This time we headed to a wheat field to pick up more hay bales. I got to drive the tractor again which made me an official Professional Tractor Lady (as long as there's no turning or switching gears). After the hay was collected we took some photos. We asked our host if he could take a photo of us posing with a pitchfork and he took it seriously; he got down on his knees to get the right angle and the result was magic (the French Gothic photo above).
After the hay party we showered the allergens off of us and farted around for a few hours (while also being mildly productive). Next up was dinner, which was obviously yummy. Jerrad wanted to write about what he ate at dinner, because if I attempted writing about it I would've vomited on the keyboard. Take it away, Jerrad: "The host's sister had brought out two Mason jars. She pulled out a smooth black/dark navy piece of meat from one of the jars. The size was somewhere between a baby's fist and the white ball used in Bachi ball (roughly same shape too). She cut it in half and offered one of the halves to me. Our host said it was "goose stomach cooked in its own fat". I thought "Yea, why not. I'm game. I've eaten plenty of crazy things, like a dime (not on purpose), a Lego man's head and arm (not on purpose), sugar free Red Bull (on purpose), and a still beating tuna heart (on purpose, believe it or not). As I cut the piece I was given I could see the fibers separate and ooze. As I put the piece to my lips I hoped that it wouldn't hurt my tummy like the dime and lego pieces. Turns out goose stomach cooked in its own fat is pretty good. Our host's sister saw that I liked her previous offering and held out the second Mason jar. It looked like a science experiment met a bog and cheated on each other with bio waste. I took a smaller sample of this one and it wasn't too bad. I wouldn't recommend it, but it wasn't awful. Back to you Shana."
After dinner and dishes our host told us he was taking us to a light show. We had no idea what that meant, but even if it just meant people would be running around with sparklers or a bunch of fireflies floating around we were into it. We headed to Amiens, parked and walked towards the crowd. Everyone was sitting on some steps facing a giant, beautiful church; the cathedral of Amiens.
The opening act to the light show was an old guy cranking it. I mean, it was an old guy cranking a tiny organ. No wait, let my try that again. The opening act was an old guy turning a crank on a music box that sounded like an organ (see diagram fj8sdfa). I think the guy let the applause get to his head because when the show was about to start and director person motioned for the old guy to stop, the guy played another song. After his encore song the light show started.
All of the surrounding lights shut off and the only remaining light was shining through the colorful stain glass window on the church. Some loud dramatic music started playing and a recording of a female french voice started talking. Soon the all white, stone church was lit up with detailed, beautiful colors (see image 7734). The engravings on the church came to life. If you know me, you know that religious hullabaloo doesn't impress me, but this show made me want to convert just so I could go to this church. So from now on, I'm a born again Christian. And my Christian name is Jedediah. Anyway, the light show went on for about 30 minutes and it was very impressive. After we had our fill, our host took us on a walking tour around the city. He showed us old-ass buildings (which was actually very interesting, because they were in such good condition) and showed us the pretty city hall (pictured below).
After our tour it was almost midnight and that's when sleepy Jedediah (I mean Shana) turns into a gremlin. So we quickly got ready for bed and passed out. We were so tired we didn't even play Candy Bean Game or check the room for bugs.
Day 37, Cheese, you gotta gap.
Once again it was another beautiful morning. Waking Shana up on the other hand, is always little bit dicey. Do I go for the funny wake up or the ... actually there's no good way to do it. It's like peeling off a band aid. If you do it fast, it gets mad and yells at you. If you do it slow, it gets mad and yells at you. See? It's exactly like pulling off a band aid. After breakfast we were informed that we were going to move some hay and straw bales on hay mountain which meant more STRAW-KOUR!!!!! We cleaned up the morning breakfast mess and got ready to do work.
As we got to hay mountain I was disappointed to learn that today's task was going to be more like Tetris and less like a Jackie Chan movie. We rearranged hay on one side of the giant stack so it wouldn't fall and... that was it. I snuck in a couple jump rolls just to get my fill. After we were done rearranging hay bales (I was secretly setting them up to resemble Castle Grayskull, but it ended up looking more like the Aggro-Crag) we had to jump a small gap from hay mountain to the trailer with the straw bales to get down (small = one foot across and three to four feet down). Shana looked at the gap and said "nope" to which our host replied "Ok. We'll come back next year and pick you up". There was no way around it. I could hear Shana's voice get higher and her breath became shallow. There was no other option. She realized this was the only way down. She looked back at me. I smiled. She stood up, she jumped and plummeted down the one foot gap twenty feet to her death. Not really, but I could tell that was all that was racing through her mind. She stood up and gapped that sum-bitch. I was proud of her. It must have taken a lot out of her because after we got back and ate lunch she took a two hour nap.
I let her alarm get yelled at for waking her up and we brushed up on our ping pong skills before dinner. We had the whole afternoon off because I had the fiercest beard was in France and we're cooler than average folk.
Dinner was once again amazing and we thanked our hosts for being incredible human beings. It was our second to last day at the chateau. It was a bitter sweet feeling. We had a great time there, but there was still much more adventuring we had to do.
Day 38, The day before the last day of forever.
Welp, Wednesday was our last full day at the chateau. After another breakfast laced with croissants, breads, spreads, and tea we sat around for a hot one and fell into the time wasting cesspool that is the internet, after cleaning up of course. Our interneting was suspended by our host's sister coming back with enough groceries to feed a small army. We were curious on why she did such a big ration re-up? She explained that the next day (August 15th) was Mary's day. It was a *major holiday in France and around thirty five people would be dining at the chateau the next day. I thought to myself " Aw man, we planned this trip out perfectly. We get to blow this banana stand before the shit hits the fan and get stuck doing dishes for hours." On an honest note I actually I felt bad that we would be leaving and not be able to help them for their big event. After putting away three hundred thousand euro's (approximately) worth of human fuel we geared up to help rebuild hay mountain.
It was a family affair this time around. All four of us would be helping re-create the technodrome out of hay. That was my plan anyway. In order to do so, our host explained that the hay we moved from hay mountain was going to be replaced with straw bales. Luckily I planned for such an event and had two blue prints handy. We stacked the straw from the trailer we filled the other day until the trailer was empty. I even got to use a pitch fork. I was more confused than ever now. How much hay and straw could there be in hell for Satan to have a pitch fork with him all the time? There are way more efficient weapons for The Lord of the Underworld to use so he's got to be using that fork for pitching hay. The hay/straw techodrome was now complete and it was time to relax and re-energize.
Lunch was delicious as usual and afterword Shana got to help make a chocolate cake. I was hoping it would be for us, but there was a small village to feed the next day so I didn't get my hopes up. Our host came back to the chateau and informed us there would be one more go around for hay picking up AKA Jerrad does back breaking work and Shana drives a tractor.
We rode the tractor to the straw field. I hopped down and put my farming fatigues on. The first day I moved hay and straw I did so in a short sleeved shirt. Not a good idea. My forearms were tore up. Bumpy and bloody. As I was putting my straw armor on Shana strolled down from the tractor and grabbed a bale or two of straw (wearing my sweater to cover her marshmallow like skin) and our host said she did a marvelous job. I on the other hand moved sixty eight hundred straw bales with surgeon like precision and helped build a towering straw bale fortress on the trailer and didn't even get so much as an "atta-boy". Oh well. We finished up and I helped Shana scale the straw structure and we rode off into the sunset. Sunset meaning the sun was eventually going to set at some point (three - four hours later) and we were going in that general direction.
We arrived back at the chateau and I showered the straw dust out of my eye balls. We arrived a little late to dinner (not wanting to show up dirty, sweaty, and smelly) and met two new guests that were staying at the chateau. They were french teachers in Germany. We were embarrassed (once again) when we admitted that we couldn't speak another language. They taught us the three most important french words: cheese (fromage), bread (pain), and wine (vin).
The last supper consisted of a veggie casserole, salad, bread, cheese, crusted duck loaf (mmmmmm), and the chocolate cake Shana helped make earlier in the day. When wine was being passed out Shana got her cup filled and grabbed mine to also get it filled with delicious fermented grape nectar. The only problem was that there was water in it. Our host said "What is that? Is there water in there? Throw that crap out." (not verbatim). After surviving our last food-pocalypse we wished everyone a good night so we could go upstairs and pack our belongings. The next day was going to be a travel day and I had to prepare myself mentally. Not for the actual traveling, but for traveling-day-Shana. Good night moon. Good night chateau. Goodbye nice Shana. I will see you the day after tomorrow.
*If you plan to travel, check for major holiday's in the country you're traveling to. Smaller cities/towns may be closed for the day.
Day 39, Thursday August 15, for those keeping track
We woke up to our last morning at the chateau. We were sad to say goodbye but excited for Paris. We started the day off with an extra yummy breakfast - leftover chocolate cake! Cake breakfast is the best kind of breakfast. We also got to enjoy some homemade elderberry jam on toast. After breakfast we were given yet another going away gift; a bag full of candy, waffles, applesauce snacks, photographs of the chateau and handwritten notes. We got a little choked up as we said goodbye and thanked our hosts for an amazing time.
We hopped on a train and arrived in Paris. We headed to our Airbnb hotel and were very pleased with our apartment. We decided to get a whole apartment to ourselves this time (rather than just rent a room), and it was very worth it. We unloaded our luggage, relaxed for a bit and then headed decided to venture out. We walked around for a while checking out the local stores but since it was Mary's day, almost everything was closed. We decided pick up some groceries for the week to save some money, and to practice our new table-setting skills. We picked up the essentials; coffee, pasta, sauce, fresh bread, eggs, cheese, salad makings and wine.
We headed back home and I got started on dinner. We had a proper three course meal of carbs and wine. We wined and dined until the wee hours of the morning. Although our first night in Paris wasn't super fancy, we made sure to cover all of the essentials; a baguette, cheese and wine. We finally decided to get some rest for the following day which would consist of touristy-goodness. We passed out in our cozy, mothless bedroom.