So what did I do for my first weekend in Tours? Well, l’Institut had an organized trip to Mont Saint-Michel et Saint Malo for the day, mais oui! Je les ai visité quand j’étais en France il ya 3 ans avec Huntsville High.
So if all of my classmates went on this trip, what did I do? I went to see 2 châteaux avec mon professeur, ses deux filles (Olivia et Sophia), et son…nanny (Kristen). I met them at la gare de Tours at 8h30 Samedi matin and we took a train to Blois, not too far from Tours. There, we visited a large market before taking the bus. We got lunch to bring with us to eat at the first château on our list- Chambord.
This château is situated on the largest closed in park in all of Europe, was only used for hunting parties, and according to my trusty Internet, it is about 6x the size of normal châteaux in the Loire Valley! So once we arrived here, we ate the best Paella ever! We also tried les fraises du bois (strawberries of the wood). They’re these very small, but ridiculously flavorful strawberries that are better than candy! By now, it was very hot, so we sat in the shade on a cement bench with the beauty of Chambord in the background. We then went inside and saw the famous stairs that are 2 concentric circles so people can go on either side, see each other through slits in the middle, but never meet. Supposedly during the war, several famous paintings like the Mona Lisa were stored there for a time. The smell of wood fires still lingered in every room…
After our visit to Chambord…we hopped on the bus again and we were off to see Cheverny.
Cheverny was one of the last château built in the Loire Valley, and it is still owned by the original family- Hurault (pictures of the current family are seen inside)! This château still houses hunting dogs (estimating 60 or so) that are fed precisely at 17h00 sharp. Normally, they eat regular kibble, but once a week, they are also given raw chicken parts. Lucky for us, we picked the right time and day to be there. We first toured the beautiful château and some of les jardins surrounding the house. I of course had to throw in a dance photo with the house when no one else was in the background! Then, we saw the dogs fed. Oh the smell. Nothing like those wood fires in Chambord… First, a group of older dogs kept in the enclosed kennel area were let out to eat for about a minute before the dog trainer with a whip opened the gate letting a flood of at least 50 dogs go for it. Lucky for me, pas du poulet pour le dîner ce soir. Look forward to a video in a future post! C’était incroyable!
We returned to Blois and caught the train back Tours. During the ride, I taught them to take some pictures…
J’ai eu une belle journée avec Mme Daniela, Kristen, et les filles!
To see more pictures from my trip, click ICI!
The time has come! I leave Tours today by train at 3 for Paris, and tomorrow morning at 10, my flight leaves for Newark and after 3 flights, I will be in Huntsville close to midnight! Nearly 20 hours of travel on Saturday!
C’est doux-amer! I’ve had an amazing time and experience being in France for an entire month. Living/studying here is very different than coming for a couple weeks to see the sights, get some souvenirs, then heading back. I got to see the sights, but also have days where I felt like I did nothing out of the ordinary except be a part of the way of life here- go to classes, grab a sandwich from a boulangerie, go for a run after classes or walk around with friends, have dinner with my host family, and speak/listen to French all day.
I will miss hearing the language so much. Being submersed in it is like no other experience. I can officially say that for the first time last night, part of my dream was in French. Nothing crazy or spectacular, but I ran into the Capdepon cousins somehow dans mon rêve et je leur ai parlé en français. I explained what I was doing now. It was the perfect dream to finish my trip here.
I’m not sure if I will be able to post again until I am back in the States, but look forward to a post on La Fête de la Musique- le 21 juin 2010, my Wine and Cheeses of France Class I had on jeudi, my last day in Tours, and my last week here in general! I’ll leave you with a couple of mes photos favoris from my last few days in France.
Merci de lire mes blogs pendant que j’étais en France! Bon Voyage mes amis!
Friday morning. Hlavni Nadrazi Train Station of Praha. 3 friends board a train and set off for Český Krumlov. A classic, small Bohemian town circled by the Vltava River. Overrun by tourists in Spring and Summer, we beat the rush.
It was weirdly colder than usual this past week, so we broke out the big coats again and hopped on the train. We switched trains in České Budějovice and had to switch to a bus mid train ride due to construction then ended up back on the train for the final ride to Krumlov! A bit exhausting the get there, but totally worth it. Why didn’t we take a bus? They were booked!
As per my usual trips with Meagan, we wandered without difficulties in to the old town and immediately found our Hostel. Jillian, Meagan, and I were in one room, and we quickly found out only 4 other people were staying in the hostel! Really cute and perfectly located, we couldn’t have found a better place.
We headed on to lunch at The Two Marys (U Dwau Marii) where we had the Bohemian Feast. (Friday in lent? No problem! The vegetarian version was good too!)
Whenever we wander a city, we tend to end up taking strange dancing pics…
Along the water…
After tea at Dobrá čajovna- They had Turkish Tea!! Great memories…
That night, we enjoyed dinner close to our hostel. (Place was packed!) And yes, had Mexicanish food. And don’t say a word! It was the best burrito I’d ever had anywhere. Then, we went a wandered the city and had some local pivo had a couple bars and sat by the water.
The next day, our train didn’t leave until 5, so we toured the Castle museum, tower, and gardens. Beautiful weather, and amazing view.
Put us in the mood to frolic a bit in a HUGE meadow right outside the castle gates to the garden.
We split some pizza and had yet a different local beer, Eggenburg, for lunch, enjoyed some more tea (the place was that good!) and headed to the train station.
Enjoying the view, we reminisced the whole ride back…
Always moving… Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
The Purple People Bridge, Cincinnati, Ohio/ Newport, KY, USA
Click the second pic to see the pose!