Published: April 11th 2010April 11th 2010
It seemed as though we had stepped out of the bus into a fairy tale. The castle and its grounds are absolutely beautiful. A moat is formed by a river. The castle is small, but wonderful. I chose to follow the French speaking tour guide, and understood quite well! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I had fun walking in the labyrinth, though it was quite easy.
The flower garden from which they make the fresh bouquets all around the caste.
The castle still has its original flooring. This is from the edge of the room, in the middle all the pictures and colors have worn completely away.
H for Henri II and C for Catherine de Medicis.
Floor in the Galerie
Mistresses of Louis XV
MANSION OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
Unfortunately, photography is interdit inside the house, but I have some pictures in my brochure for everyone to look at when I am home. It was every but as cool as you would think his house would be. They had Da Vinci quotes on all the walls that related to the contents of the room, and the basement was full of models of and descriptions of his inventions. There was also a secret passageway to Amboise, the chateau of François I. He and Leonardo were BFFs, so he gave Da Vinci the house and added a secret passageway so they could see each other!
In the gardens, there were larger, working models of many inventions to play with. I wish we had had more time to do it all. I would have liked to try the pedal boats as well. When I come back to Frnce, I will definitely come back to the Loire Valley to see more chateaux, and I can finish Leonardo Da Vinci's house as well.
A model of a tank. Inside there was a "steering wheel" which you can use to spin the tank like the teacup ride at Disney world.
Steam Cannon. Not functional, I'd imagine.
Our surprise of the day was a visit to a winery. we got a tour, and then got to taste pink, white, red, and bubbly (not champagne because we are not in champagne) wines! I lked the first pink we tried and the second white which was sweetened with honey. I definitely think I am acquiring a taste for wine. We also had some delicious goat cheese and some so-so pâté. After 8 different types of wine, I was definitely a bit tipsy.
wine goes first in the vats
Wine is then stored in oak barrels, which can only be used for 3 years before they make the wine taste funny, at which point they are used to make whiskey.
At first sight, the caste appears smaller than it is, probably because I was far away. It is very beautiful. It was started by François I to be a hunting lodgem but completed over many years but many other kings. It was not, however, lived in very much. First, we watched a video about the construction of the castle, with digital images of the process. Next, I climbed all the way up the double spiral staircase to the roof for some great views and photo taking. I went down floor by floor, visiting the rooms open to the public, which is by no means all 426 of them. They are furnished and decorated to represent different centuries people were living there.
Spiral staircase and walkway outside the king's chambers. The outside walkway was used by people visiting the king so that they would not walk through his private corridor.
That's an awful lot of keys to keep track of!
I wanted to play with the loom!
That looks quite heavy to wear on one's head.
A very large stove
Inside the double spiral staircase.
After visiting the castle we had free time, and tickets for bikes and boats! I started biking by myself, but eventually hooked up with some other people around the river, over a bridge, and back around the other side. There is an animal reserve on the grounds, but we didn't see any. We still had time after we had biked everywhere there was to go, so we grabbed a couple motorboats and took turns driving.
I called these pedal golf carts. Haha.
Next was another wine tasting, but less than the day before, thank goodness. A very dry white, which I didn't love, and then a medium white mixed with Chambord liqueur, which I thought was great! I wanted to buy some for gifts, but I will still be under 21 when I get back to the US, so I'm afraid I would lose any alcohol in customs. We also tried several types of yummy cookies, and everyone got a free box!
It was a great weekend, and in 4 days, Morocco!!