Tuesday, January 6, 2009

... in Amboise, former home to kings

Greetings all,

The weather's been uncommonly cold, even for the middle of winter. Three inches of snow covers the land since yesterday afternoon, sadly, not the beautiful winter-wonderlandy kind, no, the gray dingy kind under a low gray sky. After struggling through 8 kilometers of slippery unbroken trail along the left bank of the Loire this morning, I finally came out to a road, dangerously unplowed, and promptly accepted a lift into Amboise, my planned desination for the day. Walk 8, take a ride for 20... in these conditions, there's no shame. On the bright side, since I'm wearing nearly all of the clothes I've brought, I'm carrying next to nothing :-)

My early arrival has given me time to take a tour through the castle. Among other French royality who lived here for centuries, Charles VIII is prominantly featured. I notice in the carvings and paintings of him, he's always shown with scallop shells around his collar - big sign he was a pilgrim to Santiago. Maybe yes, maybe no, but scallop shells symbolize St James.

I'll go in search of the parish priest - the curate in Blois gave me the heads up that the parish here has pilgrim lodging. Excellent. I look forward tomorrow to arriving in Tours. I read that the Amis de Saint Jacques meet in a pub in the old part of town on the first Wednesday of the month. Grand and happy coincidence.

Amboise has a nice little cybercafé with a scanner - so here are a few paintings attached - that's the St James' Tower in Paris, an interesting gargoyle in Suévres - the devil on the shoulders of a monk, and a nice room with a fireplace in the Amboise château...


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I wonder if you are in the same cyber-cafe I discovered? As soon as I entered and spoke my 'best French' they pointed me to the English keyboard! I was there in quite other conditions though..on a cycling in the Loire trip - not a pilgrimage. And I was using the air-conditioned nature of the internet cafe as an escape from the heat wave outside!!!

Anonymous said...

It is great that you were in the place of the King on the feast of the 3 Kings. It is cold and wet here; the dolphins are still swimming in the river behind the house. Don't they know they are the lucky ones who can swim to Florida in the winter.

Take care. Miss you. Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

I wish you a happy new year, a lots o kilometers of nice landscapes without rain and sleet. I am reading your blog with suspense.

I send my best wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year!
From the other side of the world,

Stefan Koch

Katja said...

I read all day in the newspaper of the unusual cold in France. No gas to heat, schools closed. Amazing to hear you still walking cheerful through this winter world.
A warm hug,

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann(e),
I am enjoying your art and comments. I really give you a lot of credit for what you are doing. Wish I would have enough courage to go along.
My prayers are with you. Keep up the good job.
Pittsburgh Susie

Deanna said...

Hi Ann - Sounds like the weather continues to be very cold. I hope you're finding ways to stay warm and cheerful. Hope you're having a great new year. Can't wait to read your next "installment". Sending "warm" thoughts your way :). Deanna and McKaylee

Compostelle 2008 said...

I hope the weather is better. Know that though you may be alone on this trek, you are followed along virtually and some of us envy your freedom.

Michèle (Canada)

Anonymous said...

Been thinking of you in the cold weather that we are experiening here and I wonder how you are managing if it is still cold there. I keep checking your blog and I hope the lack of entries just means you can't find an internet cafe. Can't wait to read up on what has happened to you since Jan.6 and to see more of your watercolors-they're great. Take care, Love Aunt Vickie