Château d’Amboise

Because I’ve bemoaned the fact that I’ve lived in the Loire Valley for nine months now without visiting all of its picturesque castles—and because I’m constantly trying frantically to have it all in 2011—I decided to squeeze in another castle adventure today.

Bright and early this morning, my ami Adrien and I hopped on a train to nearby Amboise, a charming town on a gorgeous stretch of the Loire and home of a rather impressive castle.

This is what the interior looks like from the ramparts, but there's a ginormous mostly man-made butte underneath you.

This is what the exterior and the surrounding town look like from the ramparts--the biggest I've seen yet!

This is what I look like kinging.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Amboise is that Leonardo da Vinci spent his final three years there. He was buddies with the king, so his remains are interred in the castle’s chapel. You’d think Italy would want them…

Maybe this isn’t the most appropriate response, but to me, the cool thing about seeing Da Vinci’s grave was thinking, “You know, just for funsies, I could stomp on the skull that housed one of the Top 10 most incredible minds of human history.”

Instead, I put my ear to the ground to confirm that he is indeed rolling over in his grave, humiliated and infuriated that his legacy became "The Da Vinci Code."

After that, we rented bikes and took a long ride past about 100 vineyards and some incredible trogolodytes. Now I have an unfortunate sunburn on my arms and a Band Aid tanline on one foot, but I suppose that’s not so bad, considering I got to hang out with LDV today.

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