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(Castle) Tours in Tours on Tour (Eiffel)! June 19, 2012

Posted by kavya.mk in Travel Log.
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This weekend, we had a group of eight people to travel with, instead of our usual four.  It definitely made for a fun train ride!

Originally, the eight of us had planned to take an all day tour of three different castles, complete with transportation and food.  However, timings didn’t work out too well, and we decided to just go ahead and do our own tour of two castles, Villandry and Chenonceau.  We took a train over on Friday night and arrived at our little hostel, Hotel Stars Tours!  It was an adorable little bed and breakfast style place that was kinda far from the train station, so we flagged down two taxis and got ourselves there.

The next morning, we got up pretty early to rain (surprise, surprise).  The bus station was a solid walk from our hostel, so we set off into a really cute little neighborhood to find one.  We both family bus tickets (aww) and got ourselves back to the Tours train station, where a bus than ran from Tours to Villandry was waiting.

Le Château de Villandry (Castle of Villandry) was situated in a little town.  The castle itself was pretty small, but the gardens surrounding it were spectacular.  Each garden had a different plan and a different theme.  One was a set of hedges cut into four different patterns, each filled with a different color flower representing different concepts of love.  There was a huge herb garden filled with at least seven different kinds of fresh mint (which was delicious! Not that we ate any…)  There was a whole garden dedicated to different kinds of pollen (allergy central), and another with seasonal flowers and a fountain.

The majority of the group! Minus our photographer Conrad 😦

The best gardens though had to be the maze and the kiddie playground.  All eight of us raced through the maze in the rain (and mud) to get to the little pavilion in the middle, and tried to keep each other balanced on a four-person swirly chair.  Thankfully, since it was raining, there were not many people there to see our antics 😉

Only a little bit terrifying!

After a rhubarb crepe, we got back on the bus to the Tours train station, where there was a regional train to take us to Chenonceaux to visit the le Château de Chenonceau.  This castle was much bigger, filled with the most, largest, freshest arrangements of flowers I’d ever seen!  The castle itself was quite impressive, surrounded by a moat, and some more gardens.  Chenonceau features both the Queen’s garden as well as the mistress’s (which was larger… ouch!)  We walked all around the grounds and ran around some more in the maze before hopping on a train back to Tours for dinner and a few rounds of cards before getting some rest.

The next day, we checked out of our hostel and got on our train to Paris for the day.  Upon arrival in Paris Est, we got luggage lockers for the day, and set out.  Paris always seems to be PACKED with tourists!  So, we decided to save any actual visits for our Paris trip we planned to make on Bastille Day weekend.  We visited the outside of the Louvre and giggled at the line that literally would at least once around the castle in which the museum is located.

We walked around more and stood in line to go to the top of Eiffel Tower! (It was a pretty long line, but the view was totally worth it).  After getting to the very top, we took lots of pictures and checked out the tallest buildings from around the world in comparison to the Eiffel Tower.  Of course, Silvia had to use one the tallest bathrooms in the world 😉

It was a beautiful day as well, and we got ourselves some ice cream before heading back to the train station (yum, stracciatella!).

The next day (Monday), Silvia, Jason, Eric and I went to a Slash concert in Luxembourg!! It was amazing and was a super fun experience running around the city, dropping off our stuff, and hopping public buses and trains over to the Rockhal concert hall.  We didn’t want to get pickpocketed during the concert where we were all super close, so we didn’t really get pictures. 😦  But we’ve certainly got the memories!

Next weekend– the five day to Italy!!

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