Bonjour, Welkommen, Hello Europe! travel blog

Our drive from Vitre to Amboise was a fairly long haul, taking about 3 hours all up. I grabbed the wheel out of Vitre, and we were soon back on toll roads and doing 130km\h. The tolls in France are avoidable, but you tend to go a very long way out of your way to travel almost no distance, so we had given up on the idea before we really traveled anywhere of skipping them.

We were basically going through some small hills, and some wooded areas (still no deer though!), on our way. The countryside is very pretty, but it didn't really seem all that inspiring, certainly not as breathtaking as going through the alps or driving along the coast. The route took us almost directly east into Le Mans, where they have the 24hr road race. Then south for a while until we reach the town of Chateau-du-Loir, then South East. Just before we reach Tours (maybe 50km away) we turned and headed towards Amboise.

We swapped driving about 40mins out of Amboise, as I had started to get tired, and Ali did the rest of the driving into town. I'm fairly certain she wanted me to swap so I could take pictures with my camera whilst she drove, but she'll never admit to that (on the day). When we got into Amboise, we found it fairly small in comparison to our expectations. Several of the streets were one way, and the accommodation was not far out of the main part of the town. It was a little hard to turn into - I had to get out to help Ali turn the car in as the gates to the estate were narrow.

The main guest house - where we were staying, was in the middle of the block. It was a three story house and as it turned out, our room was on level 2. We had a room with a view of the Chateau of Amboise, which is a place where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. It's an old royal chateau, with some defensive structures on it as well.

Our hosts were Frederik and Odeil, and she met us at the door. Odeil was very friendly, loading us up with maps and brochures before we even got our bags out of the car. She also took us to a map of the Loire and pointed out all the Chateau and which ones she thought were the better ones to have a look at.

After we'd unloaded our bags etc, Ali and I were hungry, but couldn't be bothered going to a restaurant. So, I suggested I go for a walk to the local Carrefour (supermarket) and grab some things. I picked up some baguettes, some french butter, a few different bits of cheese, ham, water, Pepsi Max (yay! someone sells it here), pate and fois gras. I then ducked around the corner to the gourmet store and got a couple of bottles of wine and headed back to our room.

We had a little picnic in the room with the food I brought back, and watched the light show going on at the Chateau adjacent to us. Every summer they put on a show on a Wednesday and Saturday night, which tracks some of the Chateau's history. We might go see it in a couple of nights, although it is all in French, so it may not be worth our time.

Feeling fairly happy after a bottle of white wine from the Loire, and a belly full of very nice cheeses and ham, we headed to sleep with a few days up our sleeve to see what everyone says is one of the nicest parts of France.

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