Thursday, September 30, 2010

My boyfriend tried to make me eat Rognons

Pronounced "Runions"
(like funions, but less fun)

This is kidney and gall bladder and not testicles as we thought before we looked it up. Because kidneys and gall bladder are so much better than testicles.
And for good sport, I'll just tell you what else is fair play in the world of French gastronomy: andouillette (bowells), tête de veau (calf's head), escargot (snails), cochonaille (anything related to a pig, including ears, stomach, etc.).

I am totally getting my fill of adventure. Really Really, it's enough.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

La Drôme: churches, waterfalls and medieval mania

green is mountain,
red is highway,
blue is our road :)

We left Allex in the morning and headed to the market: tomatoes, peaches, bread, green beans. Market tomatoes.....SO good.

market tomato being sliced with our big camping knife for sandwiches

Our first event was in a small village called Gigors et Lozeron. Which is more letters than there are people in the village. We took a hike that started at a church and ended at a church. One church is big, imposing, medieval stone and the other only like a cave but then locked behind a modern sheetrocked bit of construction.
So logical that you would put the ruins that you invite people to hike in 2 HOURS to see, behind a construction box so that THOSE people then can't see the church.

medieval stone eglise

After our hike we headed over to this trail where we are supposed to stay the night. We drive through this beautiful valley and into a gorge. White and orange painted cliffs on either side. At the lowest point, we cross a small bridge with a moulin ("mill") attached to a restaurant. Which I then become obsessed with eating at. Enter bad restaurant experience #852. (And it is not even because I had snails for dinner.)

We sit down on the patio next to the beautiful stream, it starts raining.
We move to be under an umbrella.
My boyfriend starts (as is his addiction) watching/listening to people around us and decides the guy next to us and his wife rate 10 on the most disagreable restaurant customers ever.
The wait staff refuse to be outdone by this guy: He changes the wine 3 times. They bring the wrong plates to the table. He barely touches his food because the wine is wrong, they start packing it in for the night (uh, what restaurant closes at 9p.m.)
I can't add anything to eat to my small meal of onions and snails because there are 4 people wandering around this small patio, but none of them can come over so I can order.
We leave 25 minutes later after letting go of our hope that anyone working here will come back to our table, and finally go to pay at the cash register.

We continue to our destination: La Chute de la Druise (waterfall), hiking past the no camping sign down to the stream, and round the bend. We allow our brand spanking new 2 seconds tent to explode itself into tent, and crawl inside just in time for the first drops of rain to fall.
I am genius. Taking my boyfriend camping sauvage (no campground) for the first time in the middle of a rocky gorge where it is raining. What better way to find out if you really love eachother than buy putting the other one in mortal danger of a flash flood. Genius, I say.
Sadly nothing was revealed during the night, lots of lightening but the storm had no real water power. We woke up at 7h30 to this

...and my overwhelming urge to get in the freezing cold, virgin waters of the enormous waterfall. I thought outdoorsy french people got up early and I HAD to be the first of the day, but no, they are like Parisians and would not be climbing out of their BOWLS of coffee until 11h. So technically I could have waited at least until the sun hit the trees and the water was more than 10 degrees above freezing. Did you know that rainwater is COLD?!

On a positive: I got to watch the sun come over the gorge. Which I could not -or perhaps would not- have done, had I stayed in bed and waited for the sun to hit. And so hiking out looked like this...

Need for speed...

My boyfriend is continually surprised at the speed at which I can get ready in the morning. I admit, I have extra special speed when it comes to getting myself dressed and out the door. It comes from all of those years of waking up to my carpool honking in the driveway.

This is the way I prefer it. Waiting is my achilles heel. The longer I wait, the more I find for myself to do. In high school this consisted of curling my hair, painting my nails, or making breakfast - which inevitably ended in heartbreak because I was always in the middle of it when carpool came around. (So just in case you were wondering - between half painted nails and waking up with 30 seconds to get dressed and walk out the door, I looked hot in high school.)

So why is it that I always end up with men who take longer to get dressed than I do.
They do smell prettier at the end but, really? You need 30 minutes?

If I am going to take 30 minutes to get dressed there better be some good dessert involved.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


A french résumé is called a Curriculum Vitae, or CV for short. In my "oh so exciting" search for a job in France I have been encountering some nice and peculiar behavior.

Most recently I popped a vein in my forehead after being told that the reason this woman I sent my CV to was re-requesting my cover letter, this time hand written and scanned, so that she could do handwriting analysis to determine if I was a good fit for the position.

Handwriting analysis?! You have got to be kidding me. I studied it in my high school psychology class and even then it was considered "para psychology" otherwise known as a practice rejected by real science for it's inconsistent results.

I might have also popped that vein because my handwriting looks like the kid's in the Santa letter above.
And having done handwriting analysis. I know my profile doesn't come out "bright, shiny and full of personality."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marsannay la Côte to Allex

Allex at the red flag, Geneva Switzerland on the lake on the right.

Allex is a mini village (and yes, the term "village" is commonly used, and no it does not mean the inhabitants are living in huts). But it isn't even on our France map.

We start out in the early afternoon taking the autoroute (translation big, fluid-traffic road with tollways). I am living my american dream in our Ford mini car, driving on the freeway listening to the Foo Fighters. Stopping for sugary gummy things and coke (because really, what are road trips for, if not to allow yourself and all access pass to Candyland).
We arrive at our "chambres d'hôtes" in Allex in the early evening. It has a pool, and it is warm, lots of garden and plants - lavender, of course- and NOW I feel like we are on vacation.

The term Chambres d'Hôtes is translated as Bed and Breakfast. So it is basically people taking you in to a room or rooms in their home. By the French Government's tourism statistics for 2009 there are 35 times more Chambres d'Hôtes than there are Hotels in France. If the option of a chambres d'hôtes is available we undoubtedly take it. We have had really good experiences in all the chambres d'hôtes we have stayed in. They are generally owned by people who have traveled and who want to provide a good traveling experience for you.

One of the best parts of staying at these places is that you can get the low down on the area. The one we stayed at in Allex was called Chambres d'hôtes les Gaillards. The owners were avid hikers so they gave us maps and reccomendations on hikes and local fresh markets.
(Yes, for all my family members pick yourselves up off the floor, I actually asked for someone's advice.)

No, I do not carry scars from my childhood of having 3 older siblings who couldn't keep their mouths shut. I have no problem taking people's advice. I just only want it when there are words coming out of my mouth that resemble "Can you give me some advice?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So I got my new gym membership as my birthday/christmas gift. I am totally proud of myself. In fact I would give myself an "A" for going to the gym and sticking to the plan. I am now doing 60 minutes of cardio every other day.

And today I met with a trainer (it comes with my membership). And I told my trainer Jeff (Jean-François) "I want you to make my a&% look like a Victoria's Secret model"
which of course, he didn't understand because there are no Victoria's Secrets over here. And then I told him I wanted to look like Alias

(because Alias is everywhere). And now good old Jeff gave me a plan that is going to make me cry. On a regular basis. Thanks Jeff.

But soon enough I'm going to be able to kick other people's a&%es just like Jennifer Garner.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The first leg of our trip was to Dijon where got some good old fashioned family time.

I have to say that I am not sure if my family seducing skills are as strong in France as they are in the US. I can usually charm the pants off of anyone's parents within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. It's my combination of "utterly polite" and "super sweet". Add in the fact that I am pint sized and you have a professional.

Though my good manners have gotten me into trouble more than once when meeting french families.

"Yes of course I'll have some red wine. The champagne and white wine we already had from your private collection were lovely".

Do you see what I mean? I am not a heavy drinker and I am not very big. Coupled with politeness, this is a recipe for me falling asleep at the table.

So 1 three hour lunch and 1 hour walk in 95 degree heat later, we are on our way to yet another family home where we will have another copious meal and stay for the night. Hooray for multiple multi course meals!

No really. Hooray for the fact that we are only staying with peoples families for the the first night.


It strikes me as funny that we would end up making our French road trip in a FORD.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Vaca

I tried to hang on to my guilt trip for not having a job but it didn't work out.

So instead of staying home I went on vacation. It's a moral obligation for all people living in France to go on vacation. Legally after working one year they have 35 working days of paid vacation. Yes, 7 weeks.

So I settled on a road trip through France.


Why is it that coffee makes my pee smell like chicken soup?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

nude mammifaires

"The Blond with the Naked Breasts"

Another marvel of french movie titling.
(and no it's not a porno)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Moldy Cheese

My favorite American response to blue-green fuzzy spots on cheese is "That is going to make you sick."

Which is so true because we all know the French got sick and died out long ago because of all the moldy cheese they ate.