Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rufus and Cooper Take Mom for a Birthday Weekend


Kelly recently had a birthday, and the boys and I agreed to to take mom away for a celebratory roadtrip.  Some friends of ours had recommended Abbaye de la Bussière in La Bussiere-sur-Ouche, France.  Founded in 1131 by a an Englishman, the facility was recently converted into a lovely hotel.  Its restaurant received a Michelin star in 2007 (which would allow Kelly and I to indulge our "foodiness"), and they allow dogs (which meant that the boys could come along)!

We all loaded up and headed south from Luxembourg.  We spent the night near Nancy at a dog friendly hotel.  The following morning, we drove the rest of the way south, stopping briefly in Dijon for a brief stroll around a book fair in the old part of the city.

After a bit more driving, we arrived in the tiny town and came to the imposing gate of the Abbaye

We all became increasingly excited as we pass though and into the grounds, along a long curved driveway, past a small beautiful lake before coming to a huge lawn and the stately buildings at the end of it.

As we reached the last curve in the drive, both we and the boys were excited to see a pair of massive Pyrenees dogs lounging before one of the buildings (it later turned out that the stairs behind him lead up to our room).


After passing in front of the main building, we turned  and entered through an arch into the courtyard where we parked the car.

We approached the beautiful facade and entered into the imposing main hall of the Abbaye to check in.


After collecting our key, we walked with the dogs around to our suite, which was in a different building on the grounds, upstairs above the crypt of the old chapel.  It was called the 'Ermitage.  We were not disappointed.

After getting settled in, we went down to meet the other in habitants of the Abbaye: the two Pyrenees, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a shepherd  mix, and two miniature ponies. 


We were originally concerned that our boys would chase the horses, but it ended up that the horses ended up spending most of the weekend chasing Cooper, who they found fascinating.

Cooper quickly made friends with the Bernese, who was also two years old, and they started a breathless game of chase around a monster fir tree on the lawn.

Late in the afternoon, Kelly and I with for a walk around the grounds with the boys, enjoying its beautiful vistas.

Kelly wandered into the wine cellar of the old pressing building, where vintners from the surrounding countryside would bring their grapes to be pressed and the resulting juice fermented into wine.

The day had grown chilling as the afternoon drew to a close.  We had a few more hours to kill before dinner, so Kelly and I decided to explore the Abbey.

This is a view from the second floor down into the dining room of the Abbaye's restaurant (Cooper is peering through the rail).

Rufus took all this in with his usual calm demeanor.

We decided to retire into the library, where Kelly taught me backgammon and the boys took their afternoon nap.

Kelly and I then went back to get cleaned up and prepare the boys' dinner.  We then returned to the main Abbaye for an AMAZING dinner. The menu for our six course feast is on the right.

The next morning, we got up and saw that our new friend the Pyrenees was out in front of his owners' residence.

We went down to say hello, and then explored the rest of the grounds, including the crypt of the old chapel.

Cooper's friend the Bernese did not make an appearance, so Cooper improvised a game of chase with Kelly.

We then went to relax and play some chess in one of the rooms of the Abbaye.

Late in the afternoon, we loaded up, big farewell, and headed home, Cooper's ears flapping in the wind.

All the pictures and videos from this trip are here.


Teri said...

Martin, Kelly, Rufus and Cooper: Hi from the homeland (WA)! I'm glad to see a post from your travels. I was thinking of you just a few days ago.
What an amazing trip to the Abbaye! and to be able to share it with the dogs.....
Winter held on til the last moment, snowing last Sunday, several inches! It seems to have snowed here in the Puget Sound every couple weeks, at least.
Lily is a grown up 4 year old, mellow and sweet. We are hoping to have a boy puppy in the next few months.
I'm still envious of your European adventures!
Teri Kruse

Amber and Nala said...

What a fun birthday for Kelly! It is such a beautiful place and so wonderful that it was dog friendly! The video of the mini horses was great. :) Glad you are enjoyng yourselves!


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