Welcome to the Loire Valley! A group of people took a day trip to see Chenenceau Chateau and Leonardo Da Vinci's house. We had to meet at 7:45, early for a bunch of 20-22 year olds that haven't woken up that early since they pulled themselves out of bed every morning in High School. The bus ride was about 3 hours, so there wasn't much talking on the way there. Our bus was awesome too! When we went to Normandy we ended up with this really sketch bus with two drivers who didn't even know where they were going. I'm sure we got lost a couple of times, but that's a different story. THIS bus was the batman bus. It was all black and when you stepped into it you saw smooth black leather and chrome. There was even a button you could push for coffee (we didn't pay for that option though, so there was no coffee involved). The point being- it was a cool bus. We called her Harmony.
Oh ya know, just Leo's backyard. Or part of it. This was just the view from the back of his Chateau that François I gave him. He also received the same amount as a prince each year (700 units of whatever currency). This was the coolest part of the whole place, it had his inventions scattered throughout and you could play with them too! But the grounds go on forever. There's a couple ponds and some bridges and a movie theater back there too. It looks a lot like the setting of the movie Ever After too, but maybe I just thought that because Da Vinci was in it... The actual chateau (which was behind me when I took this photo) was quite disappointing. Nothing looked original and there was a bunch of random stuff that was really out of place in it. And you weren't allowed to take pictures! I took some anyway, but they aren't very good. My favorite part was the blown up photo copy of the Vitruvian man... it was pretty tacky.
This is a house that is built into a hill in the city of Amboise (where Da Vinci's place is). It was really really neat, this is just one of a few that we saw on the way to Da Vinci's. You can even see the chimney coming out of the top! It'd be awesome to live in a house like this. Amboise is a really cute little town too. After we went to Da Vinci's we were going to go to the Chateau of Amboise, but we got there and found that it was 8€. Everyone agreed that was a little too much to see a chateau (I mean, once you've seen one you've seen 'em all... right...?). So instead we went to a little café and got some hot wine since it was about 3 degrees outside. It was pretty good, it might have to become an alternative to hot cider at Christmas time. Once I'm 21 of course.
This is at Chateau Chenenceau (there's a picture at the bottom) in the gardens. There was a cool maze (like Harry Potter) with a gazebo in the middle of it. When the Navions took the family to Chenenceau we got some good pictures here! The vines actually had flowers on them then though. But I bet you're wondering why we're holding up L's-or at least why some of us are haha. We had a race (boy against girls, there was only one boy) to see who could get to the middle fastest. And we lost. The boy took a victory picture, so we had to take a non-victory picture I guess.
This was a day full of Harry Potter references. If you will notice this tree is a miniature version of the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And if you further examine the photo you will see that I am, indeed, holding a wand and taming the vicious tree, just like in the book (but not the movie). Yes, I realize the implications of this picture, but I took it for my friend Maddy Johnson who is also a Harry Potter aficionado. So hopefully she reads this.
Et voilà, le chateau de Chenenceau. I'm pretty sure Catie doesn't read this, but she says this is her favorite chateau. It was kind of a cold, gray day, and it was under construction, but it's still a very cool chateau! It's famous because it spans the Loire. Henry and Catherine lived here (don't ask me which ones...) and on the inside there are decorations that have an H and a C overlaying each other. And when you do that there are two D's that are formed. Well, Henry had a mistress named Diane, and Catherine couldn't deal with that so she either didn't live here anymore, or she had most of them removed... I don't really remember, as Mom told me this like 3 years ago in passing. So it's also possible that I made most of that up, but it's still a cool story!
But this is definitely a true story: the second level on the left is a long gallery, and during World War I it was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. I know that one's right!
Well, I hope you enjoyed your petit tour of the Loire, there are about a million and five more chateaus to see, but that's for another time. I should probably go write my speech I have this Thursday or something now...
Oh. and PADEN comes in less than 2 weeks. And Spring Break starts Friday. And after Paden is here my parents come. And then it's APRIL! And I go to Florence and Germany and then it's May... where has this semester gone!?!?
À tout à l'heure!