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Steph’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2008

Location: Tours, France

MapWell from the blustery beaches of Saint Malo we arrived in Tours, in the picturesque Loire Valley. One of the main reasons for coming to Loire Valley was to visit some of the chateaux in the region, so yesterday we went on a great mini-bus tour, which took in four of the chateaux. Firstly, it was the regal Chenonceau, which is built over the Cher river. Then it was on to the town of Amboise and the château there, where Leonardo Da Vinci is buried. Matt was quite taken with the Tuscan style gardens of the chateau!

The huge château of Chambord is without a doubt the most impressive of the lot, due to the sheer size. Built by Francois I, it has a double helix staircase and so many rooms we would have to spend all day to see them all! We finished the day at Cherveny, which is probably the best preserved château because occupants lived there until quite recently. The château is famous for its hunting hounds and we were there for the 5pm feeding, which was an eye-opener.

The master of the dogs lined up all the meat in one enclosure and the dogs (100) were in another fenced off section. They were quietly sitting there when all of a sudden the bell for 5pm went and they started barking and going crazy. He let them into the meat enclosure and they raced up to the meat but stayed about a metre away from it, barking at the master. He kept them there for about 5mins and then when he gave them the signal they pounced on the meat, jumping over each other to get to it all you could see was a sea of wagging tails!

Today we spent a leisurely day in Tours. It is right on the Loire river and we found an excellent cafe right down by the river, where we lounged under a big tree drinking sangria and reading for hours all in all a great day!