30 November 2007

Montreuil-sur-Mer


This week Jonathan and I went on a little excursion to Montreuil-sur-Mer, which is about two and half hours west of us by train. On Wednesday morning we got up before the crack of dawn and headed to the train station. We had a rather long layover in a little hole-in-the-wall town where we ate breakfast and wandered arround.
Part of the book Les Miserables takes place in Montreuil-sur-Mer, which is one reason we wanted to go there. Victor Hugo only spent like one day there, but they are very proud that he set his book in their city. There are a bunch of businesses that sport Les Miserables monikers and there are even drinks named Jean Valjean and Cosette.

There also happens to be a big Medieval castle from the 16th century that we were able to explore. It was a lot of fun because we were the only ones there, since it was freezing outside.


video

We had lunch in the cellar of a little brasserie. It was pretty cool because the building was really old, and the cellar had a great atmosphere. We got pizzas, but French pizzas are different. I got one with bacon, green peppers, and blue cheese, and Jonathan got one with shrimp and tuna. They were exceedingly delicious.

The one downside to Montrueil is that is has practically no stores. I have no idea where the people who live there shop.

We did, however, see a rockin' carnival.

Until next time...

25 November 2007

Our Thanksgiving Feast

I hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving! We had a nice little meal here, just the two of us. It was sort of challenging because we've only got the two burners and we needed to keep more than two things warm, but we managed.



I had fun this week teaching my students about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. At the end of this week, Jonathan came with me to class and we played American football with some of my classes. It was really fun and some of the kids were really into it, although they called it "Rugby americain" sometimes.

We've already decorated our little apartment with our Christmas tree. Well... we actually put it up like two weeks ago because I couldn't wait. The tree itself is... a little sparse. It was only like 5 euros, so I guess we should have expected as much. We bought some chocolate ornaments to decorate it and have a few of our own ornaments on there, but otherwise, it's still pretty bare. Jonathan made the star out of some cardboard and paper, but it works.


This week we're planning a little excursion here in the North of France, but we've had to put it off several times, so I'm hoping everything will go as planned this time. But otherwise, things are rolling along here. Jonathan found a basketball club that he can go and play with a couple of times a week, so that will help keep him busy. He's also looking to volunteer as an English tutor and will, hopefully, start that soon.

20 November 2007

Ils sont vraiment francais!


Meme les pigeons mangent les baguettes ici. Ils sont vraiment francais.

07 November 2007

Brugge and Sluis


We just returned from our first venture outside of France. Jonathan and I spent a couple of days in Brugge, Belgium. It was a lot of fun. Brugge is a medieval city and it is so picturesque. It is full of cobblestone streets and chocolate shops! It is called (mostly by the people who live there, I think) the "Venice of the North" because it has canals throughout the city. We arrived there on Monday and stayed in a youth hostel.

On Monday we climbed up into the belfry of Brugge. The view from the top was really beautiful. We were up there when the bells rang and it was so loud.

video

We also went on a canal boat ride through the city, which was nice, and stared longingly into the dozens of chocolate shops (we did eventually purchase some, of course.) We also got some famous Belgian fries with the most delicious meat sauce at a restaurant named Pickles. It was awesome. That evening, as it drizzled outside, we wandered around the city and bought some real Belgian waffles. They were soooooooo good...........and chocolatey.

On Tuesday we rented bikes and rode them to the Netherlands. Yes, that's right, we rode bikes to the Netherlands. We did stop briefly in a little town named Damme, a quaint little village with a large and ominous cathedral. With an extremely bizarre head sculpture. It took us about two hours to get from Brugge to Sluis, the town in the Netherlands, but it was worth it. It was a really cute little town and we really enjoyed it. We had some wienerschnitzel and bought a wooden shoe Christmas ornament. We wanted to continue to ride to the North Sea, but we were a little sore and a tempest came upon us soon after we began, so we decided to head back to Brugge.


Once back in Brugge, we spent the afternoon wandering around some more. We went to one of the many, many cathedrals in the city and saw one of the only sculptures by Michaelangelo that is not in Italy. We got our chocolate and some more fries before heading for the train station and home.

04 November 2007

Paris

Well hello. We have just returned from Paris. That's right, I said we. Jonathan is FINALLY here! It is so nice to be reunited. Jonathan arrived Friday morning. Early. His plane was supposed to land at 5:25 am, but actually landed at about 5:00. The only problem is that the metro in Paris (at least where I was staying) doesn't start running until about 5:00. I got on the first metro availiable that day to go and get him at 5:09. Needless to say, he was waiting in the airport for a while. He is still sort of jetlagged, but other than that he arrived in Paris in good condition and we made it back to Lille just fine too.

The trip to Paris was so fun. I was there three days before Jonathan arrived, so I had plenty of time to wonder around and see lots of stuff.

On Halloween I went to the Paris Catacombs. There were so many bones, it was crazy, but it was definitely a good Halloween activity. First they make you walk down a very long, very creepy, dimly lit hallway. When you actually reach the catacombs there are human bones lining each side of the corridor. Sometimes there were stacked taller than me. After a while, I guess I just got used to it because I wasn't so creeped out anymore but it's strange to think how many people... contributed to this Paris attraction. I was down there for over an hour and I was surrounded by thousands and thousands of bones.


I also went to the ugliest of Paris' landmarks. The Grande Arche de la Defense. No need for a picture here. It's seriously ugly.

On the day Jonathan arrived we went to the Paris Opera House. I hadn't realized you could go into it, but thought that it would be fun. It was so amazing. Seriously, put this on your must see in Paris list. We didn't do a guided tour or anything, so we just went in and wandered around, but it was so beautiful. I took a ton of pictures.

Of course we did other things, but I won't bore you with all of the details. We hit the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur. Last night we went to the Eiffel Tower, as the last thing we did in Paris this time. It was so fun watching it sparkle. I know it's cliche, but the Eiffel Tower is probably still my favorite thing to see in Paris.


Tomorrow we are going to go the Belgium for the first time, so that will be a lot of fun. It is so great to have Jonathan here, everything seems more exciting.