And I’m back! From my lovely couple’s retreat that is. But fo reals, my trip to the Loire Valley was absolutely fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. As I was telling my uncle on the phone last night (who lived with my aunt in New York for years) that I have never lived in a city before, so I never really understood why city people would say, “I just need to get out of the city” and they would go away for the weekend. I remember Hugo told me a couple weeks ago that he was looking forward to getting out of Paris and I just looked at him like, “um hi, why would you ever need to leave Paris?” But now I get it. Because getting some fresh air, seeing some actual trees and shrubbery, and going to a quieter place was just divine. Outside of Paris, things are cheaper (significantly), people are friendlier, and ironically, I probably spoke the most french in comparison to a day in Paris (and they all spoke English in Amboise for the most part). I will you give you a little play by play of how the trip went.
So our train to Amboise was leaving Paris at 1040ish (I can’t remember the exact time) and I was surprisingly feeling very calm regarding the whole train situation. The reason why I state this is because first of all for me to be calm during travel is a rarity (refer back to my previous admission regarding my control freak ways). The other reason why I’m calling attention to my calmness is because of the Great Train Debacle of 2008. In case you haven’t heard this story, sit down because it’s quite interesting. It’s entertaining for me to look back on, but while it was occurring, I pretty much wanted to cry nonstop. This story also proves the luck that I lack.
Ok, so I decided I was going to visit my friend Scott at Cal Poly SLO (San Luis Obispo) and I decided that I would take the train to get there even though the drive is a piece of cake. I show up at the train station with my ticket, my bag and a hot bag filled with fresh Chipotle chips and a Chipotle burrito (for those of you that live on the East Coast, I pity that you haven’t met Chipotle). There’s only one track, so I’m just waiting for the train to come. There’s maybe one other person there waiting, but they are further down on the track. A train arrives at the time my train is supposed to be leaving at. So logically I get on. I ask one of the ticket people if this is the train headed towards SLO. He says yes, so I go to find a seat (looking back, I don’t really think he heard me and just wanted me to get out of his face). I sit down, ready for the train ride. About two stops later, a woman comes to take my ticket and tells me that I’m going the wrong way, I’m headed towards LA. So then I’m supposed to get off at the next stop. However, our train then stops for an hour because…there’s a dead body on the tracks ahead of us and the police are there investigating, so we have to wait. Once I finally get off at the next stop, they tell me the next train isn’t for another hour and then I’ll have to take a bus part of the way. I get off the train and get to the bus stop. The bus driver takes 15 minutes to come over to bus and I realize that I’m on the crazy bus. This bus is headed straight to Oakland, with a stop in SLO and another town or two. There is a freaking random assortment of people on the bus, all of which scare me. There’s one couple who is yelling at each other for the entire trip. So basically I force myself to stay awake until I finally get to SLO…about 4 hours later than I was supposed to (it’s a 3 hour drive to get there.) Worst part? My burrito and chips got cold and I lost my appetite. Sad dayz.
Anyways back to my weekend getaway. We get on the train, which was about a 2 hour ride. And it was so beautiful going through the countryside, it made me really excited for when Emilie is coming to visit and we are taking a train to her grandparent’s house. We get off at our stop and then have to figure out how to get to our hotel. We see that we have missed the bus, but we go up to the information desk and she tells us that we can just walk there. Wait, what? That’s how small this town is? Ok, sounds good to me. So we walk over to our hotel, across a river and right into the center of town. It’s so beautiful! And there’s a huge chateau in Amboise, which is really cool to look at and walk around. That day we end up going to the house where Da Vinci spent the last 3 years of his life, which is so gorgeous. There is the huge house and then sprawling amounts of land and creek, with sculptures of some of his inventions all over. I felt like I was in Oregon or back east, the scenery is very similar. Then we walked around the town, got some presents for people and just enjoyed the area.
Saturday, Aleah and I met up with our friends Christine and Joyce who were staying in Amboise from Saturday to Sunday. We had planned on going to the Chenonceaux Chateau, which is extremely grand. It’s known as the chateau of the queens (because 6 famous/noble women lived there). Catherine de Midici is one of the more well known queens who lived there. There’s the chateau, gardens, a flower garden, a vegetable garden, a maze, the chateau is on a river, and of course…there’s a donkey park! It was kind of funny how all four of us girls were pretty much the youngest people there, I didn’t even really see any kids. All in all, it was just magnificent. It was so mind blowing to think that people lived in these castles. I mean, I’m down to own a shit ton of land, but I don’t really want to live in a big, stone castle. I’ll live in a cottage thankyouverymuch.
After that, we were all pretty tired, so after getting back to Amboise, we chilled along the river and just hung out and dozed. Our train was leaving at 7, so we headed back to pick up our stuff and walked back to the train station. On our train back, I was SUPER excited because it had private cabins! Um Harry Potter much anyone? Ya I was pretty thrilled and kept pretending in my head that I was headed to Hogwarts. Yes, I am aware that this is what most 20 year olds do on trains. The train ride back was fun too, Aleah and I just talked a lot, I did impressions of the people in our French class, and we both talked about our parent’s upcoming visits (mine come TOMORROW and hers come next week!).
Basically, it was a really great trip and just fun to explore more of France. Only downside is I lost my phone charger. I even returned to the hotel to ask them to look for it, but they said they “didn’t have it.” There is apparently a need for iphone charges in the greater Loire Valley. I’m hoping to plan more trips within France and I can’t wait till I get to go visit Emilie’s grandparents. Where I will surely impress them with my red, shiny, rolly bag.
And tomorrow THE KRASNIGORS (minus Dillon, but really, he would just take an hour to walk anywhere, so it’s best we leave him at home for the sake of time management) TAKE OVER PARIS. I’m beyond excited to see my parental unit, mostly because they are bringing me a suitcase full of food, my pea coat, a pair of sweats, and A SPATULA. I’m also excited because this means I get to go out to eat and eat more yummy food. And watch my parents try to pronounce things in French, which will be pure entertainment gold. À demain!
The trees lining the walk to Chenonceaux
the vegetable garden
The Amboise Chateau
A bridge on the land where Da Vinci lived
Proof the my aunt Tanya Beth Krasnigor lived in Chenonceaux and is one of the 6 queens the name refers to.
MY HARRY POTTER DREAMS REALIZED.