11.03.2010

France - Days 3 and 4

Day 3 - Saturday, October 2
Saturday morning Josh and Nate woke very early to ride with Doug and Sarah on the shuttle to the airport for their 8:30 am flight. Around 7:30 Josh returned to the hotel room and woke me from slumber to get ready for the day so we could head to Chambery. Sadly that morning while getting ready I blew-up my awesome (and expensive, might I add) hair-straightener by using an adapter instead of a converter by accident.


Before we left Geneva we stopped quickly by our first French bakery to pick up breakfast for the road. It was a quick stop, but i've discovered a little bit what Heaven might be like.

Ayla was just as mesmerized as I was. 


When we reached Chambery I was amazed at the size of the town. For some reason, I had always pictured a quaint little village and you could walk from end to end in about 2 mins. As it turns out, Chambery is much more than a village, or even a town, for that matter. It is, in fact, a bustling city nestled among mountains and filled with high rises, honking cars, shopping, and restaurants galore.

Awkward 1/2 picture of Josh showing a bit of Chambery.


After unloading our luggage at Nate and Jo’s apartment, the boys returned the rental and we grabbed our wallets and headed to the market. About a 15 minute walk through the busy Saturday streets led us past a rather large demonstration and on to the packed marketplace. Live chickens, ducks, and geese for sale on the left and tomatoes, squash, peaches, and colorful flowers for sale on the right. It was like the Franklin farmers market on crack.





Hundreds of vendors with every type of bread, cheese fruit and vegetable you could imagine. We picked out some bright pink Dr. Suess like flowers for the apartment.

I was impressed as Nate and Jo both took in stride the chaos of the shouting vendors and customers pushing to inspect each apple, bean, baguette. They ordered cheese, meat, bread, tomatoes, potatoes and various food for the coming week in French.


We saw the elephant statue, which is a major Chambrey landmark right in the center of town by the bus



We made salami, tomato, and racqulette cheese sandwiches and washed them down with some wine for lunch. I snapped a few pictures of cute Ayla


If that's not good marketing I don't know what is!


 and then all of us decided a nap was in order.


3 and a half hours later we groggily woke up and Ayla decided to be adorable some more.





Josh and I got ready for our first dinner out in France. Since Nate and Jo weren’t on vacation they weren’t going to be eating out as much as us so I felt compelled to learn a few simple phrases in French to be able to communicate. (Not much of my French 101 stuck from college other than pronunciation, but that was mostly because of my singing diction class). I asked Jo how to say “Table for two,” “I would like…” and most importantly “one pitcher of wine, please.” And with very specific directions for how to get to the restaurant Josh and I headed out on our adventure.

The walk was longer than expected and Josh started to get nervous the further we went and JUST when we almost settled for something other than the recommended restaurant we found Vivaldi. A French-Italian jewel tucked among the plethora of French cafes along the pedestrian street we were strolling down.

Entering the restaurant, we weren’t sure whether we were supposed to just wait by the door, or walk straight up to the first worker we saw and ask for a table. Luckily after only a short period of awkwardly standing in the door way, the Matradee walked up and welcomed us with a warm and inviting smile. I nervously asked for a table for two in French. It felt like EVERYONE in the restaurant was staring at us American giants as the host ushered us to a nearby high-boy table.

Still nervous, I mumbled my request for a pitcher of water (learned later I should have asked for a carafe of water, even though the container was the same as a pitcher of wine). Upon being asked to repeat my request I was afraid my pronunciation was wrong so I crumbled and asked if the server spoke English. He responded kindly and said “Yes. But, you are lucky I’m your server and not someone else!” The rest of the evening went smoothly with me peaking at my small French-English phrase book from time to time still attempting to communicate in their language. I ordered a pizza with various meats and peppers on it. Josh ordered pizza with Frois Gras on top. My take on Foie Gras = semi spiced Velveeta cheese. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pâté version, and we never got around to trying the solid form everyone raved about. Maybe next time.


Nearing the end of the meal we still had over half our pizza left and we weren’t sure if it was acceptable to ask for a to-go box because we didn’t see anyone else carrying leftovers with them. We ended up seeing one other couple carry out a pizza box and so I attempted to ask for a box in French and our server all but laughed at me because I apparently didn’t say anything close to coherent. Se la vie! In the end, we got our box and meandered hand in hand back to the apartment.


That dinner was lovely and is one of my favorite memories from our trip to France. The whole experience of having to overcome the language barrier and fend for ourselves, just me and Josh was so much fun. We both had a blast the entire time. People watching. Sipping wine, devouring tiramisu and espresso and embracing the struggles of communication along the way.


We rounded out the evening with more wine and late, late, late night conversations with two of our best friends in the world, Nate and Jo. As the time ticked on and the Hour hand got closer to the morning hours than the night I was reminded how much I missed them and how lucky I was to have married into a family who is fun, hilarious, and genuinely loving people.


Day 4 - Sunday, October 3
Sunday morning we all pulled ourselves out of bed after a the late, late, late night and got ready for church. On the walk over Josh and I were coached on what to do if someone came in for the cheek kiss and I secretly was hoping someone would embrace me in this very European welcome for friends. The service seemed to be a good one. There was a simple worship band consisting of a guitar, an old Casio, a flute, violin, and tambourine. A few tunes were familiar (“Jesus, be the Center” and “Amazing Love”) and I was able to sing along in English. The entire service was in French (obviously) and I would be lying if I told you I was 100% alert the whole time…nope. I was so sleepy and could barely keep my eyes open so I had to read my Bible to stay awake.


After the service we were introduced to several members of their church. Everyone was amazed at how much Nate and Josh looked alike and I even had one nicer old man welcome me with the double cheek kiss! (Yes!)


We ate cheeseburgers for lunch and then found ourselves craving a nap again. A few hours later we woke up to ayla being cute again.
video

That night we stayed in since the next morning we would be headed out for an overnight trip to Beaune Joanna made a local dish known as Tartflette. It consisted of potatoes, onions, lardon (sticks of bacon), and a regional cheese you can ONLY get in France melted on top. Pair that with a baguette and you got yourself a bunch of Michael vultures soaking up every last drop of flavor from the baking pan with their bread.

Tartflette


One of the best wines we had while we were there. 


We spent the evening playing Euchre and TRYING to make reservations for the next night in Beaune and without much luck over the phone. (We had several people tell us to not call them back because they were going to bed!) Eventually, we found a deal on a family sized room at a hotel right next to the train station for a GREAT price on pricelince.com. After shouting “Buy my hotel room now!” in unison with pressing the “bid” button we all did a little happy dance when it accepted our ridiculously low offer. Yay for priceline!

Figuring we should actually try and get to bed at a decent time since we had to catch an early bus to make it to the train station for our 7:30 am departure we hit the sack at 1:30 am excited for the coming day.

5 comments:

  1. You just made my day by posting all that. :) All I have to say is YUM, and let's move to France.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was like the Franklin farmers market on crack. Best line ever.

    ReplyDelete
  3. what wonderful memories! Your descriptions make it so fun, like I was there (well, almost!).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your photos of the farmers market with all the vegetables, flowers and cheeses look just like the movies! I so want to visit France!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love all the pictures! Oh, those flowers at the market! And, you made me hungry with all the talk of cheesy food. :o)

    What a time you all had. So glad for that.

    ReplyDelete