Ed & Steve's excellent Adventure 2013 travel blog


The castle at Amboise


Small chapel where Leo's buried

Great houses

Up the Loire River from top of castle

'Sleeping Beauty' tower!

Joan's stained glass window

Idea for a 'helicopter'

House built into cliff

We had a great day today as we travelled to a smaller town only an hour further down in the Loire Valley. Lisle & Marg had ridden there, to Amboise, on their bike ride before we met up with them & wanted to go back to see some of the sights they missed. They also wanted us to experience the fantastic museum to Leonardo da Vinci that is situated there.

We were not disappointed - the town is beautiful, situated on the River Loire with old buildings, cobbled streets & a great Chateau (heard that before??).

The Chateau is the supposed burial place of Leonardo & is very historical. It is perched at the highest spot in town & had a wall surrounding it. These castles were like small villages back in the day & were protected by the wall. There was a small chapel inside with the tomb for Leo & great stained glass windows with depictions of the history of the region - one depicting Joan of Arc fighting with her French soldiers against the English enemy.

We were imagining soldiers on horses riding up the winding cobbled roads within the castle, through arches & narrow passes up to the village area.

There was a memorial area in the garden for a Lebanese household who must have lived within the castle & their graves are there with a massive Lebanese Cedar tree.

We had the best morning tea at a very popular patisserie with great treats!

Ed & I went on to look at Leonardo's home while L & M had a look around because they had already seen it. The house itself, Chateau du Clos Lucé, was built in 1471 as a residence for the Kings to use & Leo lived there from 1516 until his death. The King appointed him "First painter, architect & engineer to the King" & financed him to work there painting, drawing & inventing - the only thing he asked in return for allowing him to live there was to have the pleasure of hearing him talk.

We don't realise the extent to which Leo influenced a wide range of inventions to this day. We saw models of his inventions including an early helicopter which looked like a giant screw with men turning it by handles from the bottom, the Archimedes Screw which Lisle is incorporating into the sewerage plant renovations back home, to draw fluids up to a high point, a very early car which used springs & stored energy & a round shaped vehicle with guns or canons all around the base - an early tank.

We are missing his genius if we only associate him with the Mona Lisa!

The weather was changeable today, with light showers, humidity & some grey skies. Ok for exploring old castles!

We met a couple from Seattle who brought their fold up tandem bicycle over & were cycling around the Loire. He was 75 & she was 67 so that's not bad!

Caught the train back to Orleans & bus to our motel as we were pretty tired. A storm came over just after we got back - good timing. Back to Paris tomorrow for the last leg of our trip!!

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