Manetreol to Sancerre: The Scenic Route

 

We motored into Manetreol in time for lunch.  The restaurant across from the moorage was packed with locals.  We tied up and walked across the street.  For 15 euros you could get the buffet, a plate of beef stew, a broiled spud, a cheese course, wine, and dessert.

We’d been on short rations in Lere.  So, we ordered the full meal deal.  The buffet would have been enough.  Cucumbers and cream, slices of jambon, beets, pasta salad, potatoes with mayo and cubed meat, mackerel, herring, shrimp, deviled eggs, avocado in a creamy sauce, and pickled carrots soon filled our plates.

As soon as our plates were empty out came the beef stew.  It was savory and tender.  The baguette was perfect for sopping up the sauce.  The wine was local and delicious.  Then came the cheese!

I was scoping out desserts as they were served to other diners.  The cherry pastry with pits looked perfect.  When I was a kid Grandpa Gustav had rules for cherry pies.  You got an extra slice if you found a pit.  He carefully placed cherry pits in Grandma’s pies and marked their locations.  All those cherry pits piling up on a plate reminded me what an extra piece of pie tastes like.  Donna ordered the chocolate something.

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After lunch we explored Manetreol.  We discovered the aqueduct, the bakery, and some shuttered restaurants.  There was a sad little restaurant next to the bakery.  It didn’t look long for this world.  The restaurant where we had lunch was still packed.  We discovered the proprietress of the restaurant/hotel was also the harbor master.  If you arrive by boat you have to stop at her place. She makes it more than worth your while.  Le Floroine is where Sancerre’s repair and delivery men take their hour long French lunch break.

We set out early the next morning to hike up to Sancerre.  Google maps presented two routes.  My thought was the route closest to the boat was the most direct.  It was also the route with the most cars. French drivers enjoy pretending they are in the Gran Prix. Sidewalks and shoulders are rare. If there was a genuine walking route we were going to take it.

We walked past the aqueduct and found a sign pointing to Sancerre.  After a quarter mile  Google cut out.  Donna was sure we were going in the wrong direction.  I was sure we weren’t.

After a long climb there was no sign of Sancerre.  It wasn’t where I thought it should be. We were either lost, or on the scenic route.  As I was contemplating a full admission of lostness Ms. Google piped up. “Stay on this road.”  Donna piped up too.  “I don’t think she knows what the Hell she’s talking about!”  Since the only other road was a dirt rut into the unknown we followed Google’s directions.

When we got out of the woods the first thing we saw was the wrong town.  After a march around a long blind curve our destination was finally revealed. We started out south of Sancerre.  We skirted it and wound up north of town.  There was a long winding climb ahead of us.  We had taken the scenic route.  No cars though!

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