Category: Photography

Loire II – Amboise

The second day – Monday – we visited Amboise and its castle. Much of the castle has disappeared over time and not much is to be seen inside except busloads of disrespectful tourists, the furniture consists mostly of replicas, the entrance fee is rather steep, all of this turning it a bit into a tourist trap. Nevertheless, the castle and its surroundings are very picturesque.

Link with CtB: the castle belonged to his arch enemy Louis XI’s father. Louis XI hated his father and his mistress but liked the castle and let his wife and children live in it.

No links with CtB but still interesting: Leonardo’s presumed body is buried in the St Hubert chapel on the castle grounds. Note the words presumed. At some point a skeleton was dug up somewhere else, it was concluded that it could be Leonardo and was eventually buried in the chapel. Also, Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne lived at the castle (after research it turns out that the Jean I was researching earlier on is linked with them). It was at Amboise that Charles the VIII hit his head on a door lintel and died a few hours later.
Amboise itself is a bit meh and very touristy.

In the neighbourhood but not visited:
The Pagoda: it is just a high, not so old but neglected tower.
The mini castle park: a park with miniature versions of the Loire castles.
The Clos Lucé: this is the manor where Leonardo lived and it has been turned into a tourist attraction. After reading reviews it seemed not worth it: the manor is not the original one, the things on display are not that interesting, it is too crowded and the entrance fee is very high.

Some snaps. First off, the castle grounds and Loire. Note they use robots to mow the lawn and seeing them at work is quite funny and anachronistic. Also it took some patience and planning to avoid crowds in the pictures.

The medieval St Hubert chapel where Leonardo is buried:

Inside the castle:


Japan 8: No smorking

Just a selection of amusing texts, mistranslations or the like around Honshu

Spot or stop

In the 7 eleven

Sign near the river

Made me hungry

French poetry in the breakfast room of the Hearton hotel. Almost right

And of course, the notorious Pocari Sweat, which tastes better than it sounds


Japan 7: Striking

A selection of strange or striking images.

Two-headed taxidermy object in Kobe

Scarecrows in Shirakawa-go

Bocca della Verita the Japanese way, Kobe

Dragon at Takayama

Traditional house, Takayama

Installation near the 21st Century Museum, Kanazawa

Flower in ice, fish market at Kanazawa

Large fish head, fish market, Kanazawa

Postbox in the station of Kanazawa

Shrine at Kanazawa,

Parking garage near the station of Kanazawa

Figurine in a glass bulb, Shibu Onsen

People in traditional clothes doing a tour of the onsens in the pouring rain, Shibu Onsen

Traditional showers and hot tub

The house that was allegedly the inspiration for the bath house in Spirited Away, a well-known animation film

Chicken and clock, Tokyo

Eve picking an apple, Tokyo

One of these strange raccoon figures you see everywhere

And last but not least, the Delirium cafe near our hotel:


Japan 6: The animals

Feeding time for the cute and fluffy

This is taking too long per village, so the next chapters will be: Animals, Weird stuff and Strange texts.

We saw a lot of animals during our trip, not just in the wild but also in the Osaka aquarium which is very big. See below.

Grumpy reptile

Cute capybara, a big hamster in fact

Ha ha ha… penguins!

***

We also encountered snakes at roadsides a couple times:

And crows:

And snow monkeys in Yudanaka’s snow monkey park, where they bathe in the hot springs:

And last but not least: lizards


Japan 5: Osaka

Osaka was chaotic and loud.

We stayed at the Hearton hotel. The room was ok, the breakfast too but a bit weird as it was a strange mixture of Japanese and Western style food. This was the  first time I ate spaghetti with tomato sauce and chocolate croissants for breakfast,

Osaka by night, river side

Osaka was filled to the brim with Chinese tourists who were there for the tax-free rice cookers and such.

Art in the streets of Osaka, aka beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I was travelling with a man who sighs and looks at his watch after five minutes in any non-electronics shops so most of the shopping I did was window shopping, eg the Angelic Pretty lolita fashion store:

Or the satanist shop, on floor -1 in one of the shopping streets:

Vendor preparing takoyaki, a ball-shaped snack of batter filled with octopus.

We dined at Tako Tako King that evening, a small but very lively café in one of the streets leading to the river. The dish was sort of vegetarian, we managed to explain that it had to be without octopus but it still had the dancing fish shavings on it. But what was underneath was nice and spicy.


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