June 22, 2010
Yesterday we went to two Chateaus. Chenonceau and Amboise. We used our inter-rail passes, which gave us unlimited travel for the day. Chenonceau was right by the town. Only one tower survived of the original castle but the Chateau, which was build later, was impressive. The best thing about the Chateau was that part of it straddled the river as a bridge, so literary one of the main galleries lay over the river and had windows on both sides to look down at it. During the first World War it was a hospital and during the second it was used to smuggle people from occupied France to unoccupied. The rest of the rooms mostly consisted of truly impressive bedrooms. It also had a truly huge kitchen that made up the whole basement.
The gardens were nice and went up right to the river. We had lunch in the garden. While we were having our sandwiches and wine on one of the benches we noticed an odd event going on at the attached restaurant. There were lots of people in what appeared to be silly academic robes. We didn’t ask.
There were paths through the woods as well and we wandered to the maze. We were disappointed to find. that the maze was not very big, nor tall, or difficult. We took a picture at the gazebo in the center and continued on our way.
We took the train back to Tours and then out again to Amboise. On the train was a very funny American family with a child that looked like the one from the movie Up. We arrived in the late afternoon. We crossed two bridges to reach the chateau. We passed a tourist-plagued street and walked up the hill. We bought our tickets and took in the view. We could see the Loire river for many miles both directions. There was a little chapel where Leonardo was buried. He died in Amboise. He had a very simple grave with just his name and a flat carving of him. Someone put out fresh flowers for him.
The Chateau was not incredibly exciting inside although I loved the staircases and the balconies. Most of the original furniture and art was gone. We took in the view from the top and then had a quick look around the gardens. We stopped in the town just long enough to buy a bottle of cider at a local store then we got the train home.
We made dinner and rested a bit then we went out. There was a huge music festival happening that night starting at eight pm and going until five am in the morning. I’ve never seen a city go into festive mode so fast from almost dead that morning to full party atmosphere with food vendors and stages everywhere.
We saw a fun band or young men with a violin and guitars, then a rolling stones tribute band with a drummer with a fro. Next we found a really cute band of teenagers trying to be like Night Wish. They wore black and head banged. The lead vocalist had on a cheap black dress, red hair clip and sang in a rising wail. They were fun and their four fans attempted a mini mash pit. We went to the plaza and then I bought a beer at the store.
We wandered more past other music and then went back to the hostel to use the bathroom. We wandered a bit more but we were tired and the crowds were getting wired so we threw in the towel around midnight after about four hours of listening to music.
Today we made a later start around eight thirty. We rented bikes and biked towards Montlouis. We arrived sooner then we expected, as twelve kilometers didn’t actually take very long to bike. We kept going nearly all the way to Amboise. Interestingly we passed a large aquarium where I stopped to use their bathroom. It was an odd thing to find in a field but hey life is intersting. Since we’d already been to Amboise we took a turn off to St. Michaels.
We stopped along the way at a small wine chateau. We biked in and a man told us in French to wait. He ran off and a young man who spoke English came and asked if we wanted to taste wine. We said yes and be brought us some wine in the little B&B attached to the vineyard. We bought a dry white wine and a bubbly white wine. We wanted to buy more but thought it would be too heavy.
We continued to the town but found it had nothing of great interest then a bench to have lunch on. We biked back to the main road and made our tired way home, stopping at Amboise for a coffee. On our way back we passed what I thought was little riverside park of forest paths and I left Anna to rest while I rode my bike through it while.
When I came back to Anna she was talking to the security guard who only spoke French. Apparently we were not supposed to be there even though it connected to the bike way and there were no signs that said so. We weren’t really sure what he said but we left.
We biked home exhausted and showered. We set out to do laundry, which proved difficult since the first laundry mat went to had washers but every single dryer was broken. We had to carry our wet clothes to another laundry mat to dry our clothes. We made dinner and at last crashed.