Sunday, February 10, 2008



Our last few days in France consisted of heading vaguely northward towards Paris. We really didn't know where we were going but The Lonely Planet did right by us again.
A little town called Amboise, outside of Tours mentioned Clos Luce, the house where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last 3 years of his life under the patronage of Francois 1, who wanted nothing more than just to hang out with Leonardo and tell 'no shit there we were stories' and wouldn't we all.
Apart from that he was free to let his amazing mind be amazing.
Tank Boy

We spent the night in a Youth Hostel, which seemed totally surprised that old people would venture to it since it felt like a school camp, we had to move the single beds together so one of us could fall through during the night.....hey Lonely Planet..we love you... but it was cheap and comfy enough, and was on the island in the middle of the Loire River so we walked across the bridge to the main town.
We got to the house right on opening so we had the place to ourselves for the most part. The house is beautifully restored and and morning light through the windows made the place very inviting, the same light Da Vinci would have drawn and pondered by. It was cold and frosty and my feet were frozen but the in great Hall they had lit a roaring fire. You get so used to heritage places being protected that the fire surprised me but I welcomed it and finally got feeling back into my feet, and it did add to the atmosphere of the place.
They had many models of his designs, some useful and worked, some fanciful but you could see where he was going with it. The gardens where loverly and had big models which you could play with, turn the Helicopter blades, spin the Tank, made the Water Wheel lift water. It was all very cool, though cool is a feeble word to use.

Me at the Maze of my Star Trek face tattoo

Rob had been to the Loire Valley as a kid so had a few memories of the area. One place he remembered fairly well was Chateau de Chenonceaux.

Me at right of Chateau de Chenonceaux.

It is built over the River Cher and is very grand. We wandered through the maze, the gardens and the building. I totally recommend traveling in the off season to these places, sure some things aren't open but it totally makes up for it with the lack of other people, and the ability to really look and soak up the atmosphere without hordes of others trying to do the same.
We had a great picnic on the river wall near the Chateau.

Being the classy tourists that we are, we had no cups so had to daintly sip our Vin from the bottle. Tastes better that way, trust me.

Rock Huggers

Next stop was Carnac on the South coast of Brittany, which promised Standing Stones Galore, and it didn't disappoint.

Kermario Alignment. Carnac

We drove along a road and saw some stones in a field, stopped, got out and had a look. As we crested the rise they were was a bit of a WOW moment. I love the WOW moments, they happen to me often when faced with wonderful human or natural beauty.
There is over 3000 stones in various alignments plus a few in tucked away in secret pockets of woodlands, one of which we stumbled across and had a picnic lunch within.

Upgrading, Carnac.

From Carnac we hooned North to Mont Saint Micheal, another place that Rob remembered as a kid. It is pretty impressive, built on a rock that gets cut off from the mainland during high tide. We splashed out a bit and spent the night there. Its very touristy, which was good since we were tourists but it was low season, and after dinner was empty, so we ran around, up and down, ducking through ally ways, trying not to fall off battlements, exploring at night. Our own personal Castle playground.
The next morning we were the first to gain entrance to the Abby. Beautiful and godbothering.
Walking though a great underground bit I got to a totally dark passage way, could faintly see a outline of a archway and slowly moved forward, knowing there was steps in my dark future I moved back and tried to look around to the left and my eye socket met stone in a very ouchy fashion. It hurt to blink for days. When I tried to show Rob the darkness (through my pain) they turned the lights on, and it led to the Crypt.
Either a smoting or lazy light turneronerus.
Sunset on Mont Saint Micheal

After the Mont we got on the peage toward Paris. It was ohh soo foggy all the way. All of northern France must have been smothered in grey.

We stopped in Chartres to check out the Cathedral. We parked in the Cathedral parking station, figuring we must be close. It was soo foggy, and we stood around trying to get our bearings when I pointed to a rather large thing looming out of the fog...and lo it was a rather large Gothic Cathedral looming out of the fog. We went that way.
13th C stained glass, fog or no fog is stunning.

We had one more day in France, our flight out was 10am, so we figured there was no rush getting back as we would stay in hotel near the airport. We had to turn in the hire car and find our terminal so the more time the better.

We slept in a hotel near a airport. Flew home.

I miss the Pain.

Lots More photos on Flickr...

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