Friday, February 22, 2013


Hey guys,
  Sorry I'm not posting consistently. During the week I have school from 8-16h and these teachers don't mess around about homework. I'm going to really make an effort to start posting more, but I can't guarantee anything. SORRY. Anyway, I'm doing really well here in Pontlevoy. Adjusting from home to this less than 2000 person village is difficult, but overall I'm getting the hang of it, but there are good days and there are bad. Pontlevoy is quiet and peaceful, beautiful, but sometimes it doesn't seem real because of how picturesque everything is. When you think of the little countryside village of the Loire Valley, Pontlevoy is exactly that. Its buildings are ancient and rustic, the roads are cobblestone and narrow, with vineyards and fields as far as the eye can see. The sound of a car is a rarity and everything the town has to offer is within a stones throw. For the first few weeks there was nothing but grey clouds and a biting chill, but this last week was sunshine and warmth (if you can call it that).
  The first weekend we traveled to Tours or Le Petit Paris. The best way to describe Tours is this: New Orleans and Paris smushed together. Tours is a college town, so it's very geared towards the college life: shopping, bars, clubs, and the 24h McDonalds for all your drunken needs.
  On the second weekend we went to le Château de Chenonceau (I hope I spelled that right). It was gorgeous! When you first arrive you walk down a driveway through a tunnel of giant trees with a hedge maze off to your left and a little farm off to your right. After walking through two sphinxes at the end of the tree tunnel, the castle appears with magnificent gardens on either side. There are only two words I can say about the gardens in winter: fountains and green. The castle itself is built of the river Cher; honestly, you have a ridiculous castle when it diverts an entire river.
  This past weekend a group of us headed for Paris. Now, I'll be honest here, I didn't get that many pictures... I'm sorry, but I do have another week there. All I really did was go on a group tour with the Mackaman and got lost trying to find the restaurant on the day we arrived; wandered around Paris and got a French phone (which I just ran out of minutes on), navigated the metro like a boss, and did a river boat tour up the Seines (which I should have gotten pictures of... my bad); and the last day we ran around Paris for a few hours before we headed back. It was pretty cool though.
  Today, we went to Château du Clos Lucé and Château royal d'Amboise. Château du Clos Lucé was Leonard da Vinci's house for the last few years of his life, given to him by his good friend, King Frances I. A secret tunnel connects the Château du Clos Lucé and the Château royal d’Amboise. Clos Lucé showcases all of da Vinci's inventions and paintings (most are copies with the real ones in other museums). Leonardo da Vinci was buried in the chapel on the Château royal d'Amboise grounds.
  All in all, I've been getting along and making great friends. I'm also learning quite a bit and little by little increasing my skill in French. I really will try to post more, but we've literally been going and going since we got here. Next weekend we're going to Oradour-sur-Glane or the Martyr Village. The Château de Chenonceau photos are on my Facebook.

Château royal d'Amboise

Château royal d'Amboise

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