but first- a gift from the end of lunch- a small recipe book from Cyrille - we had been asking for his recipes - especially the salads!
as we ready ourselves to leave, things get drawn to a close- our page in the guest book shows up - and we get a chance to write our goodbyes to the staff and sing the praises of the fabulous cruise...
here is a photo of our wonderful friend Captain Anna- as beautiful inside as out!
the table is a masterpiece - each place setting holds a napkin in a rose shape with a real rose inside (for the ladies) or a shirtfront with bow tie (for the men)- there are ribbon wrapped scrolls and a large envelope for each couple (or single as the case may be)-
later when we sit down for dinner we find that the envelope contains the wine and cheese lists for the week as well as the labels for each of the wines we drank- - - and in the ribbon wrapped roll we find the menus for each night (which you have been seeing all along)
then on to dinner!
tonight a special treat- Chris introduces the cheese course-
he mentions that it is a favorite (speaking with perfectly french accented English) - why is it a favorite?Because it smells like the pilot (and his roommate) Stephane's feet.... then the crew comes out and sings a song they made up about "dirty old cheese, stinky old cheese!" Marie has a microphone for the band (her rhubarb from the lock keeper's garden) and Cyrille has a kazoo to accompany Stephane on the guitar as the ladies and Chris sing back up! too too too funny... we roared applause for the performance!
then the actual cheese course- then the dessert -
after dinner we retired to the salon for some singing to Chuck and Stephane's guitar playing- Stephane had located another guitar on a boat docked in the same location that evening and arranged for Chuck to have it for the night's entertainment!
we sang along to a number of songs and slowly people drifted off to their cabins- we have an early morning tomorrow as the little bus leaves at 8:30 -breakfast at 7:30- sadly no more 9 AM pain au chocolat and croissants....
the next morning we all hug the staff and slobber all over them about how fabulous they are and the trip has been- Cyrille drives the bus and Stephane comes along with Anna and Chris, because he will be the one who takes the group back to Paris. The group and Stephane all get on the train and then Cyrille and Chris and Anna meet us on our train platform to say final goodbyes as we head off to Lyon on the TGV...
I could go on and on - and really I have but this is simply A PERFECT TRIP... a week being coddled in every way by warm welcoming friendly crew members - having lots of fun and eating and drinking amazing food and wine.... it is just the BEST!!!
so good that we are planning to corral Steve and Suzanne (our brother and sister in law) into doing this for their 20th anniversary in 2016- and trying to convince Larry to join us... I know it is a great plan! and it will give us the excuse we need to return - this time in two years rather than nine!!!!