Tours Week 4

It was incredible how quickly the happy hours passed. I had already been in Tours for one month, with only two weeks left! According to the tradition of the institute, we would be reorganized into different classes of different levels once a month. Therefore, this week was my last week with my classmates. Also, since the majority of the students in my class were leaving by the end of the week, we cherished our last week with each other. One of my best friends in the institute was also leaving on Friday afternoon, who didn’t get a chance to visit any chateau at La Loire, so we decided to ride to one of closest chateau—- chateau d’Amboise —- as our last excursion together.

Before I touch on the sentimental side, I will first introduce the beautiful and historically famous Loire Valley. The Loire Valley includes the town in the middle area of the longest river in France, La Loire. The early history of La Loire could be traced back to two thousand BC, when the Gauls first inhabited alongside the river for trades. Also, the valley was once the center of French monarchical rules, where a lot of great chateaus stands out against the sky, showing the once extravagant and glorious life of the French kings. The royal past gave the valley its name “la vallée des rois” (the valley of the kings). Though the French revolution that rallied against monarchy had led to the destruction of several, and the transformation of many into schools and prisons, some of the most grandiose survived with solemnity, spectating the rise and fall of human history.

“Profitez du soleil,” my host parents always told us. That was exactly why we headed out at 1:00 p.m., bearing the dazzling sunlight and 95 degree weather. On our way to Chateau d’Amboise, we first followed the main road; but later, when we saw the trod winding down to the shore of the river, lured by the nature, we abandoned the main road. My friend was an adept rider: within half an hour, she had filled her bucket with wild flowers. We also saw some strawberry farms on our way, but the price of picking the fresh strawberries deterred us. As I wrote in the first line, the happy hours flew quickly—- when we figured out we were in no way near the right path, two hours had gone since we started the journey, long enough for us to reach the chateau by that time. After checking the google map, we decided to totally abandon our plan, and explore more in the little town laying ahead of our unexpected journey. Luckily, though there weren’t many residence in the town, we were able to find a catholic church (since France has a lot of catholics), where a wedding was holding. And then, the time was getting late, and we had to return. On our way back, there were a few vineyards (oh, by the way, the Loire Valley is also known for its wines!) environed by clusters of wild flowers. Unfortunately, the vineyards were closed, but we were able to at least enjoy the scenery.

la beauté est dans la rue