Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I would never say this in the US, but I think I'm sick of castles...

This past Friday I went on an overnight field trip to the Loire Valley castles. We left Angers (by charter bus) at 6am Friday morning. We stopped in the town of Saumur to pick up a bunch of French students who were going to be giving us the tour of the castles. We went on the field trip with the professor of our Loire Valley Castle class and the French students were taking a tour-guiding class with the same professor. They were getting a grade for the tours they took us on. We started at Chateau de Blois, in the city of Blois. The castle wraps around a courtyard and is divided into 4 parts and the architecture of each side represents a certain time period: Gothic, Flamboyant, Renaissance, and Classicism. It was cool to be able to see such different architecture on one castle. We also took a tour of all of the rooms inside the castle and the students gave us the history of all the kings that had lived there.

Afterwards, we took a short tour of the city and ate lunch in a park. The weather was beautiful!

After Blois, we headed to the Chateau de Chambord. The building of Chambord was initiated in 1519 by King Francis I. I thought it was beautiful on the outside, but compared to the other castles we saw, the inside was kind of boring.
Me and Katja in front of the castleThe "back" of the castle

After Chambord we headed to a chocolate factory in Bracieux, called Max Vauche :) We got to sample some chocolate and buy some too of course!
Riina, Me, and Aura with our samples of chocolate mousse!
After a long day, we headed to the hostel that we were staying at for dinner and sleep! I was in a 6 bedroom hostel with Anna, Shannon, and Mary-Dare (we had 2 extra beds). We played a trivia game that night with everyone. I was able to help my team with 2 questions. 1) what is FL's nickname--The Sunshine State and 2) What country is closest to the United States (i think on the westcoast)---Russia. I will give credit to Sarah Palin for that answer since she told the world that Russia was in her backyard. ;) After the game we hung out for awhile and the Finnish girls taught me some Finnish. They said I made it sound too pretty though, so I'm working on making it sound harsh lol.
Saturday morning we headed to Chateau de Cheverny
It was really pretty! I think I liked the inside of this one the best because people still live there, so you can tell that the castle still has life! Cheverny is also known for hunting, so there were about 100 French hounds in a big kennel. It was raining that day so the dogs smelled FABULOUS!
After Cheverny we headed to the Chateau de Amboise--yes! another castle!! We didn't actually go inside this one though, we just stopped to take pictures.
We took a lunch break and then headed to the Chateau du Clos Luce which was the home of Leonardo Da Vinci during the last few years of his life. It was the home of many French Kings and King Francois I invited Leonardo Da Vinci to live there. We saw his bedroom and study room. There was also a museum dedicated to him that had models of his inventions. It was really neat!
After visiting the home of Leonardo Da Vinci we headed to the gardens of Villandry. I thought they were really pretty, but I can't imagine what they would look like in the spring! There are people that live in this castle too...
Our last stop was the Chateau de Usse, which inspired the story of Sleeping Beauty. We just stopped to take pictures...
We got back to Angers around 8:30pm...It was a fun weekend full of castles! But...I think I would be okay if I didn't see castles for awhile. We're going to see more April 27th though so I think I'll wait until then!

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