Always have a Plan B.

“If ‘Plan A’ didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool.”

-Unknown

Today the plan was to go the the Château de Chambord, and I was really looking forward to simply leaving my room today, because yesterday was spent just relaxing (lazing). I did do some work though! I am not completely useless, don’t fret. However plans never seem to work out the way you intended them to, and I always believe, however big or small, it is always for a reason. And so I recount my day… I got up bright and early at 8:00 feeling refreshed and ready to face what the day had to bring! It started off great as I woke up to this lovely view from my window…

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I love France.

After getting ready, and dropping and breaking my mug (sad times), I left for the Gare de Tours; destination: Blois-Chambord. After a forty minute train journey, myself and Hollie arrived in the charming town of Blois with not much of an idea of where we were supposed to go next. Out came trusty Google Maps and it said ‘Chambord: 3 hr 10 mins on foot (15km)’ Hmm… this did not look promising. But thinking positively, we thought we’d have a look around. Not knowing that Blois had its own chateau, we ended up there and realized we’d got something wrong. Luckily there was a tourist office, so we headed there for some much needed direction. After studying the leaflet for Château de Chambord, we discovered that we had in fact got the correct train, but it was the lack of information provided on the leaflet of where to go afterwards that had left us slightly lost. Anyway, the woman in the tourist office gave us directions on how to get from there to Chambord; take the number 2 bus from the stop outside the train station and we’d get there. So we made our way back to the train station. And I’m not even joking, there was five bus stops outside the train station. Five. And not having had specified which one it was from the lady in the tourist office, and after having asked several people which stop it was with no joy, we decided to wait and see what happened. Nothing happened. We waited patiently but it never came. It was time for Plan B.

For our Plan B we decided to check out Château de Blois and then have a wander around the town. As a result, we headed back towards the chateau. Now, this chateau was one of the more pricier of the ones I’d been to; 7.50€ isn’t exactly what I’d call a ‘reduced price’ (student rate). But it was a really charming chateau with some beautiful features.

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Front facade

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La salle des États

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Grand escalier François I

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L’aile Gaston d’Orléans (looking up)

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Grand escalier François I

After exploring the chateau we went to find some lunch, near to which we found the Maison de magie purely by coincidence. We heard strange noises, and I will say no more as this video can explain more clearly what we saw… Being very curious as to what this mysterious building held inside, we ventured in and explored and it was interesting… although I was fortunate that I feel young at heart because the abundance of excitable children was a telltale sign that this was more aimed at a younger generation.

Next, we explored the town a little. This included eating a Nutella crêpe, climbing way too many steps for my liking, getting harassed by a lady asking for a banana for her children (don’t ask) and having a nose around an old bookshop where I purchased the French versions of Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I was very proud of these purchases at an impressive 4€ for the two of them.

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View over Blois from the top of the steps

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Other view over Blois from the top of the steps

Finally, after a long but very good day we made our way home. I bid my farewells to Hollie and ended up back home where I am writing this entry and feeling a bit dizzy. Not really sure why, if you have an insight into reasons behind this however please let me know. I’d appreciate it!

I’ll leave you with an update on my Nutella situation: after a couple of weeks of refusing to buy a new jar for my health and sanity, I caved and allowed myself an acceptable 440g jar. I bought this on Tuesday last week, 10 days later and it is about nine tenths gone. I am not sorry.

Bonsoir!

-Len

Better late than never!

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
-Dr. Seuss

Okay, so truth be told I have already been living in France for a little over a month now, but it’s only recently occurred to me that a blog could be a really good idea, and a way of recording every experience so that I don’t have to rely so much on my memory later in life, because it is truly terrible. Anyway, I will use this first post as a means to do a quick overview of my first month here, in the beautiful country of the French. (I apologise in advance for how un-chronological the following may be…)

So, the few weeks leading up to my departure for France were probably the most awful weeks of my life. Well maybe not my life, but you know what I mean. The prospect of leaving home to go to a totally new and foreign place just scared the crap out of me and I put off packing for as long as possible, mainly because I hate packing but also with the thought that maybe if I didn’t pack in time I wouldn’t have to leave. But the city of Tours is a beautiful place, and so arriving to the city with my parents in tow gave me a little sense of relief; I would be living in this amazing place! Below is the first picture I took here, which I soon uploaded to Instagram.

View over the Loire river from Rue Nationale.

View over the Loire river from Rue Nationale.

I am living in University halls, which for the very cheap price aren’t bad at all. Although I think 30 students to 4 hobs and a microwave is slightly pushing the boundaries, and I am always mega happy to find it empty when I want to cook. I have my own en suite (or tiny wetroom; however you wish to look at it) and I’m at the end of the corridor which means minimal noise. I have located the best supermarket; only a 10-minute bus ride away and they have a section of international foods, which includes some English items, much to my delight.

One of the things that made me feel a whole lot better about being here was the number of other international students who are here and in exactly the same boat as me. It’s reassuring to know that everyone is missing the comforts of home, and we have often spend an hour or so just simply talking about food we miss; for me it’s onion rings and magic stars (Nutella is not an issue here!). It’s great to sit and talk to them all, there are many from America, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and England too, as it gives me the opportunity to experience cultures other than that of the French while I am here.

Internationals in Tours

At the Château d’Amboise

Already, I have experienced many things. Some of which include: visiting a couple of chateaus (one of which you can see above); ice skating (and falling over in the most un-elegant way imaginable with the bruises to show for it!); eating my weight in crepes and croque monsieurs; speaking to many French students, all of whom have been a pleasure to speak to, and buying a toaster, because living without one would be unthinkable. However, the first moment I was truly proud of was when I bought bread for the first time in a boulangerie (French for bakery) because I managed to have a conversation for the first time without having to say “Pardon?!“.

Although I could probably type for hours, I feel like I should bring this post to a close as I probably run the risk of boring you with all these words (currently 706!). So as a finishing note, I would like to say that having now lived here for a substantial period of time, I now realise that the anxiety I had before leaving were natural but unnecessary and that I should embrace new opportunities and grab as many as I can with both hands, jumping in head first! Oh, and also, all the Nutella is now gone.

-Len