Saturday, January 28, 2017

Loire we there yet??

Lemme just say, Thursday morning at 7:00 am came very early! But lots of excitement because we were off to the Loire Valley for some sightseeing and wine-tasting. The 3-hour bus ride to the valley was pretty uneventful - most people just napped or listened to music, but it was a pretty drive getting out of Paris.

Our first stop was lunch, thank goodness! It was at this little restaurant and we had some assorted meat and bread for our first course, chicken with potatoes for the entrée and an apple tart (tart aux pommes) for dessert. I was separated from the Skid pack, or PAUD (Paris + squad) as we call ourselves affectionately, but I ended up talking and eating with some other people on the program. 

A little ride later, and we were at our first castle or château - Château de Chenonceau. It was a pretty castle with some gardens and even a labyrinth. Some famous Frenchmen lived there including Henry and Francis who we caught a glimpse of their chambre de lit - or bedrooms. 

We then walked around the gardens and took some pictures of the castle (living out the princess dream!) and then tackled the labyrinth. 

Next stop was a cave for a wine tasting! We tried all white wines, which was perfectly fine by me. We had a nice bubbly wine, another white wine paired with some chèvre, goat's cheese, and then a 35 year old wine!

We got to the hotel we were staying at a little before dinner and got our random room assignments (it's feeling a little like Lizzie McGuire over here lol). The hotel had these little buildings out back divided into apartments which were really nice. Dinner was also a little separated from the Paud, but sat with some people in our grammar class and had a nice meal. The salad we had first had some little bacon pieces and also pieces of (what I later learned were) pig heart!! There's a first time for everything I guess ... 

Dinner for me was polenta with veggies since I don't eat fish and dessert was another crème brulée. Back to the apartments for an early night in.

yes mom, peep the wine with every meal ... when in France!

We had an early start Friday morning again with a nice big breakfast in the hotel. Then it was off to Leonardo da Vinci's studio and workshop where he worked until he died in France. Sidenote- da Vinci died in the Loire Valley and that's why the Louvre has some of his most famous paintings like the Mona Lisa! It was a long tour, but the fact that lunch was next was v promising for all of us. 

Lunch was also in a cave (with wine too). We were very confused by this lunch which started with a salad and then some naan-like bread pockets with pulled fatty pork. We all weren't feeling it, but were stressed that this would be the only lunch food. Luckily, the main course was delicious pork with some veggies and there was even another apple tart for dessert. We were all feeling the wine, which made for a fun visit too ... 

... Chateau Amboise! They really did save the best for last as it was so beautiful! We took lots and lots of pictures and even got to explore the town. Fun fact, this is where Leonardo da Vinci was buried which was cool (and a little creepy) to see!

Then had a nice 3-hour bus ride back and were dropped off at the literal southern gate of Paris, which was a long haul to go get pho for dinner. Now I'm back in the homestay (I've never been so happy to walk up 5 flights of stairs in my life) and am listening to my host mom's friends son (attempt to) play the piano! Good night from Paris!

FWOTD - vin - wine. Le vin dont nous avons bû, était délicieux. The wine that we drank was delicious!

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