Maui to Salt Lake City … By Way of France??

I’ve just finished planning another trip and, for me, that’s almost as much fun as the trip itself. Thanks to the internet, there’s almost no limit to information that will help with the process. There are endless possibilities and they’re all out there for the browsing.
I did have one given: I’m going to be attending the Fall meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers the third week of  October in Salt Lake City. So, in hopes of somewhat better weather, I decided that I would do some traveling prior to the meeting, ending up in Salt Lake City, and coming home to Maui from there.
After lots to web surfing, I decided to go back to France and re-visit two places that made a huge impression on me during a previous trip … places where I had wished at the time that I could stay longer.

About a dozen years ago, my wife and I traveled through and around the Loire Valley visiting a number of the magnificent chateaux there. The one I remember most … the one that struck me as so serenely beautiful, was the smallest. It’s at Azay-le-Rideau and that’s going to be a stop on my trip. I’m going to spend several days in that town and, for an hour or so each day, I’ll be just sitting and looking at that castle.

The next stop will be another re-visit … farther south in the Dordogne, I’ll spend several days in Domme, a town that dates back to 1200. It’s a walled town — I guess that was a prerequisite in those days — and it’s built on the crest of a hill. We stayed in a wonderful hotel with an outstanding restaurant.
I remember at dinner one evening, the présentation of our main dishes included a couple of cherry tomatoes as garnish on the plates … and each little fruit was actually stuffed with some kind of cheese! (We imagined a tyrannical chef in the hotel kitchen, glaring at one unfortunate young man and saying, “Jacques! Because last evening you dropped a plate of foie gras, tonight you must prepare les petites tomates!“)
And how’s this for a view from your hotel window! It’s the Dordogne River meandering through the valley below the town. Quite unforgettable. So I’m going back and this time will have almost a week to see the area and wander around looking for kind folks who will allow me to converse enough to perhaps improve my conversational French.
Then it’s a return to Paris and a flight back to New York. From there, I’ll take the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago and connect there with the California Zephyr to Salt Lake City for the NARP meetings.
Full reports — with photos — here, of course.