Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Photos Galore!

So I have some old and new photos and stories to share :)

Skiing in the alps... with all our gear, ready to hit the slopes :)

These were some beautiful swans that we fed while we were in Geneva.

And here are some sights from our short stop in Dijon... The home of mustard and spice breads :)

We stopped in a park in Dijon and had a couple chances to speak with local younger people about their town.

Back in Reims, we saw the factory for Fossier cookies! They were made for kings back in the day... actually in this picture is a certificate from the royal family...

And we have been enjoying nicer weather... one day it wasn't only sunny it was nice enough outside to not wear our pea coats :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bibliocartes, Edelweiss, and Switzerland

So I know all of you have been waiting anxiously on the edge of your seats since my last post.. of course some of you probably fell off since it took so long. For that I'm sorry. The last couple weeks have been quite crazy with traveling on the weekends and cramming school into shorter weeks.

I'll catch you up with some of my favorite photos and stories from the last couple weeks :)

JoAnna really excited about her new library card for Mediatheque Jean Falala :) We were the first to get them.. with a little convincing since we didn't technically have everything we needed to get them.

Carina and Jennifer took a bit of time on our train to Lyon to get some shuteye... we've been on a lot more trains since!

Some Highlights from Lyon, France:

We walked up the hill to see the Basilica and also these older Roman ruins of an amphitheater. Madame Love sang for us and then Anna Schaffer and I joined in with some Sound of Music classics :) We all ended the impromptu show with Edelweiss.

After our performance together we went to the square and split off into groups to explore. John, Jennifer and I enjoyed a few local dishes at a cafe and then relaxed next to the water :)

The next set of trains took us here :) Interlaken, Switzerland! I skied for the first time here, and I witnessed a girl getting a concussion and having to be flown to a nearby hospital... so I ended up not skiing too much since that took up a big portion of our time on the mountain, but it made it an experience to be remembered. This picture was taken from the top of a hotel where a few of us drank some delicious hot chocolate the night we arrived.

This is le jet d'eau in Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva was much harder to navigate than the last two explorations, but I was able to visit the museum and see some of the paintings that were on display including one by Picasso. I also experienced the atmosphere of an awesome cafe in old Geneva called La Clemence. Probably my favorite part of this weekend was when JoAnna and I stayed with a french speaking couple.. who didn't know english at all :) Their house was lovely and the husband had a good collection of photos he shared with us while we waited for dinner. They also had a dog, that was huge, but very nice and gentille named Lilly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

l'enfant et les Sortilèges, et des Champagnes Pommery

These last couple days were filled with an amount of cultural experiences... Last night we dressed up to attend an opera, when we arrived we were surprised to find the opera we were attending was going to be a family event, the brochures say "a voir en famille spectacle". This was nice because it meant it would be shorter than most operas. The opera house was lovely with red seats and a beautiful ceiling with paintings around a window.

The ceiling in the opera house.

The opera itself was about a young boy who basically isn't good at the beginning, he gets upset and throws pillows and trashes the room he is in, even breaking a lamp. Afterwards, the objects come to life to sing and move about the stage pestering him screaming "Il est méchant!" A few of the scenes were very suggestive and displayed blatantly the difference in french culture, with a crowd full of elementary children we sat there watching a couple very sensual scenes... I suppose they don't guard their children as we often do in the states. Well at the end, the "animals" try to punish the child, but accidentally hurt one of their own. As they attack him he cries out "Maman!" The child then saves the "animal" that was hurt and collapses.. The animals wonder what the boy was saying "what does Maman mean? they decide to repeat it.. so there is this chorus of "Maman!" from the animals.. the mother comes and the animals say that he is now good :) The end!

The other cultural experience that we had was this morning was a champagne tour. We all went on a champagne tour at Pommery, it was beautiful looking at all these old chalk murals on the walls. We were down about 3 or 4 floors in the champagne cellar. We even saw one of the bottles from the first year. We were late to the tour because of confusing directions, so we also spent some time looking at the lobby and the artwork there. There was the largest barrel for champagne in the world there that was made for the World Fair in St Louis and could contain up to 100,000 bottles worth of champagne. Amazing!

The stairs leading back up to the lobby at the end of the champagne tour.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims

The beautiful sunset outside Carrefour.

So the last few days have been filled with getting settled in, having first classes and getting to know the neighborhood. We received our bus passes a couple days ago so we would be able to go to a larger store nearby. There is a small Champion down the street near our flat and we've been there several times to stock our kitchen with a few essentials. Once we had bus passes we went to Carrefour which is a much larger store, sort of like a big French Walmart, but nicer.. perhaps like Fred Meyer. I was surprised to see the first red heads since I'd arrived! Two little children aves les cheveux roux. It was overwhelming the amounts of meats and cheeses and breads you can pick from at these stores! Especially when you are so unfamiliar with the local brands.
Yesterday we went on a walking tour around the center of town and saw the cathedral, and several other historical buildings. It is so beautiful walking around and seeing so many historical places. For French class we looked up Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) and found out she had been to the cathedral here for the coronation of a king. We had our first day of classes yesterday, which was interesting sitting in the same room for several hours for a bunch of different classes. I like my classes and I'm excited about all the traveling and how we'll be incorporating our experiences with our assignments :)

The Front of the Cathedral with construction on the left side.

Today, a small group of us attended mass in the Cathedrale Notre Dame at 11 then at 2pm we gathered as a group for a communion time. Later JoAnna and I took a walk around the neighborhood and I took several pictures. We even saw a man with awesome salmon colored 90s basketball shorts. Which is a coincidence since we are having Salmon tonight for dinner :) On our way home we ran into Jacqueline and when we crossed the road to go to the flat together some random guys in a car honked and waved!
Tonight we're staying up for superbowl! Hopefully I'm awake for classes tomorrow :)