Sunday, January 24, 2010

Les Châteaux

Friday was a LAZY day! None of us did anything all day. We spent most of the day in Hallie and Valeria's room, but we did play cards for a while which was different and fun. After dinner Mamie and I went out to meet some friends and went to this really cool place that had black lights. I had a white shirt on so I was glowing like crazy. It was really fun.

Saturday we all (minus Joel) woke up early to go to le Château d'Amboise. It is a castle just about 20 minutes from Tours that was mostly destroyed by Napoleon in the early 19th century. It was beautiful, and sort of up on a hill above the city. When we first got there we had to wait for it to open so we stood outside and took lots of silly pictures. Then at 2:00 we got to go in. It was the first real castle I had seen in Europe. And in my life! There was a little chapel that is also the burial place of Leonardo Da Vinci. It was a beautiful little place and I took way too many pictures of it. We met these girls from Argentina that we took some pictures for, and they also took some pictures of us, so we got some great group pictures with the château behind us! They better end up on the Concordia website ;)

Inside the château there were some great large rooms and lots of spiral staircases. I think I took over 200 pictures in all. It also had an amazing garden with trees and lots of large round bush balls...haha. The gardens were beautiful despite the fact that it was winter and half of what is normally alive wasn't, but I enjoyed it all the same. There was also one large room inside the castle that had a huge fire blazing so after we had gone through and looked at everything, we went back a second time to warm up. On the way there grant found a staircase in the garden that lead down to a random gate. He walked down and pushed on it. It swung open easily and he ran away thinking he wasn't supposed to be in there. Valeria and I were curious so we went down the stairs and through the gate. Grant and Hallie followed. We found that it was just a place for employees so, disappointed we went back up the stairs. On my way up I pulled on the gate to shut it behind us. We were half way up the stairs when it slammed loudly. Grant screamed and ran up the rest of the stairs like a little child. It was funniest thing and I couldn't stop laughing. After we warmed up by the fire we left to find some food before our train left. We found that a restaurants stop serving food after 3:00pm so we got some drinks then leisurely walked back.

Saturday night we went to a place that has free dancing right by our house. We spent a long time there and when we came out it was raining. So much for my hair. But it was too wet for any of us to care so we played in the rain for a long time. Mamie jumped in puddles and I sang singing in the rain and danced around the light post outside the cathedral. Then we walked home and all went to bed with wet hair.

The next morning we all woke up feeling like we were getting sick from playing in the rain but Jaqueline had a great brunch for us, which was something like poached eggs with this amazing cheese, and then pain au chocolat (warm bread with a chocolate center...mmm). We all felt much better after brunch. Then Aaron, Grant and I left for the Château Chenonceau at 1:00. It was just as rainy this weekend as it was for the girls the weekend before, so not much improvement but it was just beautiful! They were doing some renovation on it so it's not as cool as it would be if they didn't have a huge tarp thing over it, but it was still gorgeous. Chenonceau was made by and under rule of mostly women. It's built over the Loire river and has two great gardens, a labyrinth and a farm. Again I filled my camera, but it was a beautiful place. I can't compare the two Châteaux because they were so different. We had lots of time after we saw the castle till our train left for Tours. We wondered the town looking for some place to eat and ended up walking a long way to a gas station that wasn't even open. So we went back to the tabac (more or less like a 7/11) and got some snickers to hold us over till dinner. When we got home we were beat. But since none of us girls had class Monday we went out with some friends to a restaurant and got vin chaud (hot wine). It's actually really good despite how awful it sounds. It's a red wine with cinnamon and an orange that is hot. Almost like a cider. Soooo good.

Monday I met my friend Katie from Translation class to our Delhi's restaurant for lunch. Then I took her back to my house so she knows where it is and then we went to Fromont (the building where I take all my international French classes) We got the results of our test. There are 4 levels: A2, B1, B2 and C1. I'm in B1 which I think is about right. We chose our classes so I will now have French Language Oral, French Language Written, French Law (I'm guessing Court vocabulary), and Creative Writing. Plus my three classes at Tanneurs. After picking classes we went home for dinner. We ate early so we could go to Café des Langues at Le Palais. Where you go to speak any language you want. We spoke mainly French and English. One day I want to speak Spanish. But I guy there though he knew me and was totally convinced I was this girl he knew from England...then he found out I wasn't her and he was really embarrassed. It was quite funny but very uncomfortable. We left pretty early, which was good because I realized I hadn't done my homework that was due at 1:30 today. I got it done but it took me till 3:30. I won't be doing that again!

We woke up at 8 to leave by 9 to get to class by 9:30 today. Aaron, Mamie, Joel and I all have the Written and Oral French classes together and it was great today. Out teacher is the crazy hippy lady who is just really fun and relaxed. Easy to understand as well. She seems like she's be great for me this semester. After class we went to the campus cafeteria which cost 2.90 Euro for a huge tray of food. It was amazing. Then my second class was at 1:30 and I was falling asleep about 30 minutes into it. My professor talks so fast and I miss most of what she says but I didn't do too bad for being so tired. Immediately after class I went out to buy a notebook and a binder for all my classes...everything here is so expensive but it was worth it I think. I got a good one that will keep me organized. Then in the 32 degree weather I booked it home with my face in my scarf. I've been in bed ever since writing this blog and I'm sorry it's so long. I'll try not to miss so many important events next time.
I'm missing you all and hoping you are doing great! Bisous!

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