Tuesday, January 6, 2009
... in Amboise, former home to kings
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...