Monday, June 29, 2009

more thoughts from france...

A couple notable things to look for when visiting France (or maybe all of Europe)


Trees have been planted perfectly lined up along roads. In some wooded areas they are planted in a triangular pattern – but again, all in Napoleon’s soldiers (!)
Trees are severely pruned or trimmed down to where they look like the arthritic hands of an old woman. This is mainly done in villages, along streets and in public areas. However, you see this done on private property as well. This practice is called Pollarding.


This is a grocery store in France that has a Red, White and Blue logo. For years, I’ve looked at this logo as two arrows pointing in opposite directions. My sister always thought it was a fleur-de-lis on its side.

This trip, as we were driving through village after village, I took a good look at this logo many times and finally figured out what it is…at least it’s what I think it is. Can you guess?

It’s a “C”…for Carrefour! Many in my husbands family also didn't realize what it was. There were one or two that were like "it's a C", but others were just as surprised at our discovery as we were.

Friday, June 26, 2009

mswalk 2009 - update...

I wanted to update everyone on the status of what our team collected.

I just went on-line and it looks like the total is $1605.00!

That is the 2nd highest amount that we've collected over the past 7 years - AMAZING!!! (MSWalk 2007 beat the amount by $35). More amazing is that we are in the middle of a financial crisis.

Our team is now ranked 17th of the top 20 fundraisers at the Ann Arbor Walk for 2009.

Thanks again to all who donated.

DAY 14 (Tuesday, June 9) - going home...

By the time we woke up, Nadia, Herve and the kids were gone to work and school, respectively.

Francoise and Daniel took us to the airport. The flight was delayed and so we all sat and waited for about an hour. The weather was gray and rainy…not my favorite for taking off.

When we checked our baggage, we asked the woman at the counter if we could get our seats through her. She looked and gave us two seats on the wing, in the middle – she told us that she could block the other two seats in the row and so, we would have a whole row to ourselves. "Yes, please!" I said “not very many people on this flight”. No, she said, “it’s a good flight”.

We had a direct flight CDG->DTW and were on an A330, nice plane. Right at the beginning of the flight, they gave us a little packet with our headphones, an eye mask, ear plugs and a wet wipe. The meals on the plane were much nicer leaving France than coming in. We had a nice Chicken curry dish with fettuccini, some eggplant crumble, bread, cheese, pineapple slice, vanilla cream with raspberries and a drink. Watched “Coraline”, “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “New in Town”. The next meal was a small sandwich with some cookies.

Landed at 4:30pm and we were out of customs an hour later. Once again, our luggage was just about the first off the plane.
The shuttle driver from Qwik Park was extremely gentle. The very best driver I’ve ever had on one of those shuttles.

We were home a little after 7pm. It was a good flight; not much bumpiness.

So, Herve & Nadia will be coming at the end of July – we’ll go to Mackinac Island for the weekend and stay at the Small Pointe B&B on the island. They will make a trip on their own to Niagara-on-the-lake. Francoise and Daniel say they will be coming in March or April 2010 – we’ll go to New Orleans and San Antonio TX. Jerome thinks we’ll be moving to Europe in 2011…by then he will have lived in the US for over 11 years. I’m not so sure the economy will have recovered by then – I guess we’ll see.

DAY 13 (Monday, June 8) - driving to paris...

We were invited to Pascal & Sabine’s to have the leftover lunch. Pascal’s brothers and their spouses also came and some others as well. We stayed until nearly 2pm and then started our way to Paris.

Along the way we stopped at Claudette and Roberts in Filvy. This is a typical stop either to or from CDG. We stayed long enough for me to, yes…use the toilet. I noticed that Claudette collects frogs…and I had a frog that was hot glued to some stones that we received from the Communion yesterday, so Jerome and I pulled it out from our suitcase and gave it to Claudette. Pour toi – Fabrique aux Nadia. She seemed happy with it.

Jumped back into the car and back on the road. Next stop was to see Jerome’s grandmother, Mamy. Mamy is in a retirement or nursing home (Résidence des Fontenottes). It’s really not a bad looking place. Not as sad as I would have thought after seeing what their hospitals look like a few year ago. She’s got a room to herself with her things like photos, knick-knacks and some furniture. A nice area where you can watch TV and look out at the scenery. However, according to Jerome, she does not like it. She is unhappy and is starting to not remember things. Oh, BTW, she’s 92. She’s a sweet old lady – that’s the vibe I get from her. I survive in other countries on vibes.

We stayed for nearly an hour and she was very happy to see Jerome. A little old man in a wheel chair rolled up to our table and spoke more to us than Mamy. Jerome said he was also born in 1917. He was completely bent forward in his chair and he must have been in a wheel chair for quite a while because his thumb on his right hand was long and formed into sort of a claw. But otherwise, he seemed pretty good.

Before leaving, I used Mamy’s bathroom.

On to Jerome’s cousins place; Bruno and Katrines for dinner. Rained terribly hard for awhile while we were on the road. Katrine made some really awesome lasagna. We visited a little while but didn’t stay too late.

By this time I really wanted to get home and see my kitties.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

DAY 12 (Sunday, June 7) - communion, the return...

The church today was in a different village; Chevigny-en-Valière. It was the African priest again. We had met him the last time we were in France (2007) when Emmanuelle was “serving” at the mass and we went to church. Jerome said he sounded angry in his sermon this morning.

Went directly to the community center. The place was all decorated with menus and little ladybugs and frogs on stones. Sabine was thoughtful in many ways to me. She sat us with a bunch of people that could speak English and she typed up my menu in English. It seemed a bit of a direct translation and one in particular sounded pretty funny to me: “Quails’ spits in the blood of black currant and porto”. YUM! Actually, it was quite yum indeed. What it really was was quail meat on skewers with a really nice gravy made with porto wine and cassis. And what would you think “Tray of our meadows” would be? I let you guess.

This party lasted the entire day; until after 11pm. There were some photos taken, petanque playing and a lot of sitting and eating. I felt like a force fed duck ready to become foie gras. Jerome and I did manage to get a short walk in at one point and I played a little basketball.

By this time I perceive that I have worn out my welcome when it comes to my MIL. It appears that she was speaking poorly of me to the group of ladies whom she was sitting with on the other side of the room…I have my sources. I can understand her concerns. Those that know me know that I’m not much of a talker when it comes to English, so it goes without saying that I would have trouble having conversations in French and when she’s standing nose to nose and loudly saying something to me in French; it’s hard for me to concentrate and know what she’s saying. I have no excuse…but what I can say is this, if after I’ve lived in France for a year and my French has not improved, then there is reason for concern.

Dudu and Janine took us back to Corgoloin.

Found out that D is home in Michigan – she came to help with mom. Not sure what’s happening at the moment. Tried calling, but the phone was busy.

DAY 11 (Saturday, June 6) - communion...

Got up around 10am. Started getting things organized and packed one suitcase.

The communion festivities are said to begin around 7:30pm. A bit rainy and chilly today.

Jerome’s parents prepared some chicken and rice for lunch because they know I like chicken. Also some homemade cherry pie.

Barack is in Paris today for the D-Day Memorials and we spend a little bit of time watching him arrive and speak with Sarkozy.

By 3:15pm, we haven’t done much of anything. We still needed to go into Meursault for a gift for Francoise – when we finally did, we got stuck for a time in the middle of a wedding. The bride, groom and a bunch of the party were walking from the Marie (Town Hall) to the church and our car was right in the middle of it all – kinda cool.

The 24 hours of Beaune was happening today – so we stopped by for a moment. Actually, we tried to park in a grocery store parking lot but there was a guy that was hired by the store to keep everyone that was going to the 24h of Beaune out of there. Jerome was chastised (again) and we found another parking spot down the street. Really not the best weather and you feel bad for the racers who have to be out in the weather for 24 hours.

On to E. Leclerc for more shopping. On our way out, we noticed a strange looking person being pushed around in a shopping cart in the parking lot. Turns out this strange looking person was a guy in drag and he was being pushed by several other guys. After getting into the car, we went to investigate and found out that he was getting married the following weekend and this was in essence his bachelor party. He and his buddies came to talk to us and showed us that he had some tampons, rubbers and a dildo…funny.

Once we got back to Daniel and Francoise place, Herve and Nadia were there. We all finished getting ready and went to the church (Notre Dame of Beaune). Beautiful church. The music girl was pretty animated, so we took a movie. Jerome said he liked the priest from this church; he’s funny. He said you shouldn’t be 4 wheel Christians; coming to church first in your stroller for your baptism, then the car that brings you to your Communion, the car you arrive in for your wedding and the hearse that brings you for your funeral.

After the “official” ceremony, we all went to the community center of Vignoles for the party. Lots of food and drink. We stayed very late. Got home, went to sleep and woke up to do the whole thing over again.

DAY 10 (Friday, June 5) - Dijon...

The idea was to go shopping and visit the community (Emmaüs) that a priest made for the unfortunate. It provides would-be homeless people with a home and a job, usually sorting and reselling donated goods. Jerome described it as a Salvation Army.

First, we stopped by Sabine’s to get some ideas for what to purchase for Francoise and Daniel for Mother’s and Father’s Day. Then we drove into Beaune to get some money out of Caisse d’Epargne (the squeaky account). We would withdraw enough to purchase some items while shopping and then give the rest to Francoise to deposit in our Credit Agricole account; which is getting pretty low.

Then we drove to Dijon to go to the mall and the Carrefour so we could pick up some chocolate, cookies, cassis, sirop and annise. We ate lunch in downtown Dijon at a new brasserie called “Flo”. They served us even though it was “late”; around 2:30pm. However, there was less to choose from because they needed to reserve it for later in the evening when they reopened. Fantastic tasting food, great atmosphere (other than that the Farmer’s Market that shares the same street must have just closed and the cleaning crew was out washing and sweeping the streets – loud!) and nice presentation. I highly recommend this place. Jerome was told the difference between a brasserie and a restaurant. A brasserie is more like an Olive Garden or other franchise types of restaurants where they receive some items that they can re-heat rather than making from scratch. Still, very nice. Afterward we tried to go to the Emmaüs, but by the time we got there, it was closing. Oh well, next time.

First day of a little rain.

Drive back to Corgoloin and had dinner: Shrimp (with their little black eyes still attached), potatoes and later, some homemade strawberry pie.

DAY 9 (Thursday, June 4) - chateau hopping...

When checking in to the hotel the evening before, the inn keeper had asked if we would like to have the breakfast in the morning. We agreed and so by 8:30am we were in their little salon having a breakfast of bread and a croissant, hot chocolate and OJ. Apparently the cost of this breakfast was a bit on the expensive side and there was some conversation about that.

Off to visit a few castles. I think the initial idea was 4, but we only ended up going to 2. The first one was “Villandry”. Just beautiful! Extremely nice English gardens.

We walked around all over the gardens and at the end, Jerome purchased a rose bush for Francoise for Mother’s Day.

Drove some more and stopped for lunch. I had white pizza made with crème fresh and sautéed onions and some bacon-y things. It was large, but thin and pretty tasty. Jerome had a savory crepe.

On to the next castle; “Chenonceau les Chateau des Dames”. This castle was built over the river Cher. During WWII it was a means of escaping from the Nazi occupied zone on one side of the river to the "free" Vichy zone on the opposite bank. We stayed at this castle for some time; touring the grounds and the chateau. Nice – picturesque - busy.

We had spent so much time there that afterward; we decided to go home.

A couple of hours of driving and again they tried to have me pee on the roadside! I told Jerome “No, not on the side of the road. I’m sure there’s a bar, restaurant or a gas station we can stop at in the next village or a Carrefour or McDonalds – I don’t mind having to purchase a drink in order to use a bathroom”. Jerome had to tell his parents what I had said and explained to them that this is not something they “do” in America. In fact, that it is against the law.

So, they abandoned their plan to pull over and continued driving. I told Jerome I didn’t understand why they continued driving. If they needed to go to the bathroom and they are fine with going on the side of the road, why didn’t they and then continue driving until we found some (spoiled) American approved place? He told me that it is the way they are; once a new idea is presented, the old idea is abandoned.
Within 2 minutes, we were in another village and Francoise noticed a sign that said “Public WC”. So, we stopped. It was a newer place with two doors on either side of an open (to the world) area with urinals. On the left was a handicapped room, with a (normal) toilet and on the right was what they call a Turkish toilet where you have to squat. I was at the point where I didn’t care if I had to squat as long as it was within four walls.

We ate our leftovers in the parking lot and continued driving.

Got back to Corgoloin by around 10:30pm. Called mom at 11pm (so, 5pm her time) at home and listened to her complain about being home (she likes the break she gets when she's at the hospital) and then I told her about my experience with the “pee-pee” and she just cracked up. It was good to retell the story to someone who would understand both sides. I told her that I’d bet all the years Terry has lived in Europe, she has never had to pee on the side of the road.

A lot of walking these last few days and not as much eating so I’m hoping to have a respite from gaining weight.

DAY 8 (Wednesday, June 3) - Chinon...

Had 9:30am breakfast at the restaurant attached to the hotel and then off again to Futuroscope for the afternoon.

One of the fun looking rides was called the Dance of the Robots. The old folk (which includes me) didn’t ride it, but were extremely entertained by Jerome, who chose the Level 3 ride.

One of the attractions that we were interested in seeing was the “Future House”. This reminded us of the house at the Japanese garden that Marina took us to in Florida. While looking at the future kitchen, Jerome went over to the oven and started pushing all the buttons and in a short while got reprimanded by one of the workers. I knew that was going to happen, he loves touching things.

We left around 4:30pm after stopping at the snack bar and ordering crepes - surprisingly, pre-made. They heated them up and put the topping on. Jerome was a bit annoyed by that...I mean, heck - it is France afterall!We then began our chateau tour. We stopped at a chateau (park) in Richelieu, on our way to Chinon – it was free to walk in the garden, but the main castle was gone. Torn down in the 1800’s.Drove a little more and stopped at a hotel in Chinon. Gar’hotel - right across from the train station. Very cute. I was pleasantly surprised. I had just said to Jerome that I didn’t care for the look of this village – it just seemed a bit bland when Daniel pulled over and stopped the car. He made a good choice.

We had a nice relaxing dinner in the village of Chinon at a restaurant called Bistrot De La Place; eating outdoors with a view of the fountain.

There were a lot of English speaking people sitting at the tables. We sat next to one and I listened in to what he ordered and said to the waitresses. It’s fun to hear your own language in far off places.

I had veal on pasta. Was OK but not the best. At the end of the meal, I ordered a café aux lait, which apparently isn’t something you order at dinner time...the things you find out after coming to the country 9X…my sister ALWAYS ordered that, so I thought it was the norm. In France they will typically give you only one sugar packet, but I usually take my cup of coffee with half milk and half sugar and a hint of coffee flavoring. Anyway, the English speaking fellow next to us was about to leave when I noticed that he still had a sugar packet on his coffee saucer.

I got up the nerve to ask him if he wouldn’t mind giving me the sugar and he was completely happy to do so and then I had a friend.

He was a bit of a talker. He told me he was from the west side of Canada and showed us pictures of his son; a Canadian Mountie. He told us that he was on the Rick Steve’s Tour and all the places he had been and where they were heading. Eventually, Jerome informed his parents that we would need to hurry it up a bit because I would begin to feel trapped by this guy. So, we said our good-byes and we took the elevator up to the old village. We leisurely walked to the castle of Chinon, but it was closed. They are doing what looked to be some major work to the castle. Walked around the old streets, down some narrow paths and eventually back to our car and headed back the hotel.

Relaxing in bed and got up to get myself some water. Looked in the mirror and noticed something on my ribcage. It looked like a cat scratch; a dark spot in the middle of a red circle. As it turned out, it was a tick; really small and had his head buried into my flesh. I had Jerome use the tweezers and he worked the ticks whole head out. We put him in a bag to be examined. Then we checked each other to see if there were any more. There didn’t seem to be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

DAY 7 (Tuesday, June 2) - Poitiers...

Today we leave for Futuroscope which is located in Poitiers. We need to leave the house very early. I was up by 5:15am and we were gone by 6:18am.

Daniel drives fast and furious!

Poitiers is several hours away from Corgoloin, which is why we needed to leave so early that day. We had been driving for a couple of hours. My father-in-law doesn’t take highways; he drives from village to village. It’s long and a lot of round-abouts. They have a map and Francoise is the navigator. They either got a little lost or they aren’t agreeing on the correct way to continue from this one village we drove into. The village was having what seemed to be a nice farmer’s market that day and there were detours (deviations) set up which was making the navigation a little more difficult.
There is some stern talking between them. We drive out of the village and then turn around and go back into the village. At this point I tell Jerome that I need to go to the bathroom. He conveys the message as they are leaving the village again and the message seems to be lost in their bickering. They drive back into the village one more time and I think that I will be able to use the bathroom, but then, once again, they drive out of the village. I think…well, I can hold it until the next village.

Daniel makes a quick right on a very narrow (only one car lane), country road. I think…strange way to go to Futuroscope. He turns around in a clearing and stops the car. Francoise says “pee-pee” and hands me a roll of toilet paper. I stand there in shock as I’m left holding a roll of toilet paper while all the rest go scattering to different areas of this country land and start peeing.

Nearly as soon as Francoise came out from where she had just gone, the very isolated little road became quite busy with farm tractors and bike riders. Francoise called me over to another spot and insistently motioned to me to go there. I walked into the dark forest and immediately came to some electric fencing, saw a man walking a dog in the distance, found a spot, dropped trou and did the deed. Since I’m not used to going potty in the woods and don’t know the ins and outs as to how NOT to pee on yourself, I ended up with some sprinkles on my new shoes. YUK!

We all got back in the car. I’m feeling mortified and humiliated, and then within 5 minutes, they stopped for gas! Why couldn’t we use a bathroom at the gas station?

From this point on I decided that no matter where we stop, I will be using the facilities going in and coming out, just so I don’t get into this kind of situation again.

We finally get to Poitiers. Our hotel reminds me of the F1 from two trips ago (remember Kelly?).

Out into the parking lot to have a hard piece of bread and a thin slice of ham out of the back of the car followed by water – a bit like prison.
Spend the rest of the day in Futuroscope. This is an amusement park that is similar to Epcot Center. They have 3D movies and rides. We were very lucky to be there when most of the kids were still in school. We never had to wait in line for anything, except for dinner that evening. Really amazing laser light show called "The Note Blue Mystery" at the end of the day. I think the trip was worth it just for that. Oh, and fantastic weather.

Day 6 (Monday, June 1) - Varanges...

Again, up by 10:30am and ready by 11am.

Today we are going to Varanges (outside of Dijon) to visit Laurent and Laurence at their place for lunch.

They prepared for our eating pleasure duck breast off the grill, which was really tasty, three kinds of sausage: Indian, Mexican and Arabian, potatoes and sour cream, hard boiled eggs, sliced, tuna salad, and fruit.

We spent a good portion of our time looking at photos from their trip to the US. She had all of them developed and it filled a pretty nice sized box. I found a few that we didn’t have and asked her to send them to us using Picasa.

Unexpectedly we went for a nice walk around their village; I got to pet a horse and some doggies. Then back to the house to sit on the back porch for a while.

When we got home that evening I spoke to mom again and she said she was doing better. I had sent Justin a note to tell him to call grandma and once he did that, he tried to get a little leave from the Army (R&R) by seeing if he could come to Michigan and help with grandma. Uncle Marty put him on the right path and said it was not that bad that he would need to come home yet.

Side Note: Air France flight 447 crashed in the Atlantic; Rio->Paris. So sad.

DAY 5 (Sunday, May 31) - Vignoles...

So, up by 10:30am (earlier than after noon…) and showered and ready by 11:30am.

Have a typical French breakfast of a croissant and chocolate Quik. They generally have hot chocolate in a bowl that they dip the croissant in and eat. I prefer a nice cold glass of chocolate milk.

Head downstairs to sit and watch Jerome work on his parent’s computer. He is the IT guy for both sets of parents. He even downloaded a free program on both my parents and his parents’ computers that allows him to remotely log in (from our computer) and “fix” whatever is screwing up at the time.

For lunch Daniel wanted to make us a fish appetizer that they had had on their trip to Tahiti in November; tuna, salmon & mahi-mahi (raw!) cut up into small bite-sized pieces with a citrus juice. I ate it, but I wasn’t a big fan. Jerome couldn’t finish it, so he gave it to his mother.

We had been invited over Sabine’s for a visit. Pascal and Camille had a few soccer matches that morning so Sabine and Emmanuelle were home on their own. The initial plan was to ride bikes to (Vignoles) Sabine’s but somehow we ended up driving there with Francoise and Daniel. Before going, we stopped in Beaune because Francoise thought that there was a Brocante and Antiquite show going on; which there was. Daniel paid for us to go in and look around. I found some things that I would have purchased if I lived there, like a really cool old bench - this is not an item that you would take on the plane back home. Another piece that I liked was a pair of little scissors in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. It would have gone well with my Eiffel Tower collection.

Manu had made a cake for us that afternoon and we had a nice little visit. As we were driving home, Jerome asked his parents if we could be dropped off around the area where Sabine works so that we could walk the rest of the way home. They obliged us. While we walked, Jerome noticed Pascal’s car coming down the road. They stopped and told us that they won 2 out of 5 matches.

Got home and it was dinner time. We ate potatoes prepared in a pressure cooker along with a cheese from Jura, which you bake in the oven in its original cheese-wheel form, until it is nicely melted. You scoop the cheese and pour it over your potatoes. Really liked the taste of that cheese!

We played dominoes with Jerome’s parents for a bit before heading to bed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

DAY 4 (Saturday, May 30) - swimming...

Needed to be out of our room by 11am – didn’t get into the room until 3am and couldn’t fall asleep for a while. It was the first French wedding that I’ve gone to and/or heard of that didn’t have the gang of people going to arouse the newlyweds in the middle of their wedding night. I asked about it, but was told that this was not the “type” of wedding or the kind of place where that would be looked upon very nicely.
So…swimming pool time. I didn’t swim, but the Bosch boys (and girl) surely did! They were dragging EVERYONE into the pool. And midway through Jerome’s brother pushing, pulling, dragging or driving nearly the whole party into the water, it really began to get kinda old – I mean really, how many people do you have to throw into the water before enough is enough already? They knew to stay away from me, Laurence and the rents – I’m glad I was safe.

For those who got up early enough, there was breakfast by the pool. For those who didn’t, there was lunch. This was a lunch of barbecued sausage, some brochettes and other picnicy kinds of foods.

By the end of the swim-day, Jerome ended up with sunburn. He’s still peeling.

Imagine swimming in such a pool and having Champagne poured into your mouth...Jerome did that!

Drive to Corgoloin with Jerome’s brother Laurent & his wife Laurence. Jerome had put together an iPhoto book with pictures from their trip to the US last year (see previous posts) and gave it to them when we arrived at Francoise and Daniels. Later that evening we were joined by Sabine, Pascal, Camille and Emmanuelle for dinner. We gave them their book of the US trip. They all really seemed to like it. We had done the same for Jerome’s parents when they came for a visit in 2006, so now it’s a Herve and Nadia.

On the menu for dinner: Thin slices of meat that you cook yourself (perrade) and fries. The typical cheese plate and strawberries (from the garden) with cream.
While having dinner, I brought up the subject of Camille coming during the summer for a short visit - maybe not this summer. Perhaps next summer. Camille said that he promised a friend that the next time he went to the US, he would bring her along. Eventually I told him no. It's one thing to be responsible for one child (who's in your family) and another to be responsible for two (one of which is not in your family).

After the company left, I called my parents house and dad told me that mom hadn’t come home yet. So, got the new number and called mom after and she told me she has M.R.S.A. and has been placed in the contagious diseases ward of the hospital – not good.

When we had arrived, we had a choice between the bedroom on the main floor and the bedroom in the basement. I know from previous trips that if we stay in the basement, we sleep until after noon. It’s very dark, cool and quiet down there. I also have been told that my MIL doesn’t really care for the fact that we sleep that long. So, I told Jerome that we would take the bedroom on the main floor – and keep the shutters open so that the sun would wake us up. Plus the only toilet is on the main floor, and I tend to wake up once or twice during the night and it’s just easier to walk down the hall then come up from the basement.

Read a little of my Ann Enright book “The Gathering” and down for the count by 1am.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DAY 3 (Friday, May 29) - the princess and the castle…

FLORENT SORIN et AMELIE BOSCH Wedding – Chateau des Condé, Vallery, France

Woke up at 12noon and got ready to leave. Herve had made pancakes from a recipe that he says he got from us…however, it wasn’t quite our recipe. He then drove all of us to Vallery.

Got there before 3:30pm in order to find our bedroom and change before the wedding would begin. Wow – what a place! Walked around the castle grounds a bit before going to find our room (which was located outside of the castle wall). Met up with Francoise and Daniel on the castle grounds. Their room was inside the chateau, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to take a look. Got in the car and started driving toward the house (sort of a B&B without the B) where we would be staying and ran into the woman who owns the house. According to the brochure, we stayed in the Chambres chez Colette & Didier.

As you entered our room off the first floor, you had to first walk through the bathroom in order to get to the bedroom. A little strange set up, but heck, if you’re not paying for it, you have little room to criticize. Got dressed and walked back to the castle where we met up with many of the family and other guests. We all waited awhile before the wedding began, using the opportunity to take some photos. Then off all together walking the small path to the church which was a short stroll outside the walls of the castle.
The bride, of course was beautiful.

Back to the castle and wait again until “the drink”. Here's a shot of Dudu being "Dudu".
We toured the grounds; the turret (which they call the Pigeon House) that houses the wedding suite, the Moroccan room with the wedding party suite upstairs; poolside. Absolutely Gorgeous!
At the “drink”, hors d’oeuvres included smoked salmon on little breads, white asparagus on little breads, foie gras in a tiny shot glass with a beat and gelatin mixture on top – it was like eating butter! Crawfish in an awesome sauce some mini pizzas, gougeres, etc. and cassis. Then dinner! (see menu).
(Translated from Babelfish)
egg of quail in meurette sauce.
roll of foie gras and steaklet of duck, small mesclin (lettuce), pot of crunching vegetables
slipper of Saint-Jacob to Noilly and saffron of Moynes
small sorbet house frosts
filet of beef and fine champagne and its trimming
cheeses closely connected to Bourgogne
wedding cake
soup dish of sorbets
coffee and its preciousness

Later in the evening we moved downstairs for a dessert of sorbet and then dancing the night away.
They had a beautiful fireworks display once it was dark using the landscape and some "ruins" as a backdrop. As the final firworks were going off along the ground - they presented the wedding cake (piece montee).

DAY 1 & 2 (Wednesday – Thursday, May 27 & 28)...

Left work about 3:15pm picked up Jerome and drove to DTW. Parked the MINI at the Qwik Park. The shuttle driver was a woman so I thought she’d take it easy, but I was wrong. Sometimes you think you’re going to lose your life in one of those things.

On the flight we watched “Marley & Me”. Good movie – choked me up. You've gotta watch your tears a little when you're on a plane so as not to upset anyone who might not care for flying.
On the menu: Teriyaki Chicken with sticky rice & roll. Speculoos cookie for dessert.

Just before landing an egg biscuit was served which was so dry, I only had one bite and that bite stuck to the roof of my mouth for the duration of the landing.
Jerome’s brother Herve who works for Air France was there to pick us up; our luggage was one of the first off the plane which was pretty tremendous. He drove us in his sporty Alfa-Romeo to Tremblay-en-France where his girlfriend Nadia’s house is located and dropped us off so that we can could catch up on some z’s. He had picked us up in the middle of his work day and needed to return.

Jerome and I slept until around 5pm. I think we scared Nadia’s son Thibault because we were in the house still sleeping when he returned from school. It wasn’t until Nadia got home from work that Thibault came out of his room and mentioned that he thought someone was in the house.

Jerome’s Uncle Dudu and Aunt Janine arrived and we all relaxed in Nadia’s lovely garden with drinks and some snacks.

For dinner, Nadia made lamb with curry and bananas, kidney beans on the side and for dessert; chocolate mousse and a rhubarb pie from Janine.

9 times...

This was my 9th trip to France since I was 16; my 6th trip in the past 8 years - ever since Jerome and I have been seeing (and then married) each other. It is becoming more familiar to me which is kind of sad in a way because I find myself not as attentive to the smallness of the cars, the quaintness of the villages and the French way of life. It’s sometimes dismal to become too familiar – things become a bit dry. However, with that being said, I do always notice something new when I'm there - I'll tell more in later posts.

Otherwise I would say that our trip was a success and looking back, rather easy. We spent 2 weeks with the family, mostly in Jerome’s little village of Corgoloin (between Beaune and Dijon). It is really a beautiful area there; right in the middle of wine country. The department is called Cote d’Or (which is also the name of my all time favorite Belgian chocolate) and the region is called Burgundy (Bourgogne).

The family is always very happy to see Jerome and we try to plan our trips around different life events. This trip we attended Jerome’s cousin Amelie’s wedding and Jerome’s niece Emmanuelle’s 2nd Communion...oh, and let's not forget Jerome's sisters 42nd birthday!!!

In the middle of the trip, Jerome’s parents took us to an amusement park called Futuroscope and then touring châteaux (or castles to you English speakers – like moi).

It was a busy 2 weeks and I am finally recovering from my exhaustion.