Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saint Malo and Mont-Saint-Michel

Yesterday I went with a school group to visit Saint Malo and Mont-Saint-Michel. After a three hour bus ride, we arrived in Saint Malo, a small seaside town with a rich history and lots of crepes and sea food located in Bretagne.  It was home to Cartier who is credited with the discovery of Canada and the writer Chateaubriand. Statues of both. as well as other note worthy people can be found in the walled city. The city also got a good pounding during WWII and had to be completely restored. A good portion of the city is surrounded by ramparts with towers and entries on to the beach. You can walk on the top of the ramparts and see the tight knit city from above.
The girls and I were more than happy just walking around the ramparts and exploring the beach. We searched for a place to eat some crepes and drink some cidre(when in bretagne you must drink cidre or eat some apples). We couldn't decide on a crepe place even though Rick Steves told me which one to eat at, so we settled for a glass of cidre instead.

After another hour bus ride we arrived at the famous Mont-Saint-Michel. Mont-Saint-Michel depending on the tides is an island off the coast of Normandy. The island has been home to Saint-Michel monastry since the 8th century. The Abbey is loacated directly on top of the Montain and it is neccesary to climb a lot of stairs to see its beauty. The Abbey is surround by a small town that surrives off tourisme. The island has only about 30 permanate residences.

After making are way up to the Abbey we took are time looking around. It was amazing to see the views of the ocean from the top. Even though there really isn't enough to look at to spend a whole day, I wish we could of, just to see it at different times. There is suppose to be a good population of salty sheep around Mont-Saint-Michel but unfortunatly we didn't see any.

I uploaded photos from the trip on Flickr. There are a lot of different photos of the same thing, sorry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kitty in my bed, flowers on my doorstep

This weekend, my host family's daugter(L) came to visit with her husband(B) and two children. I wasn't expecting them to arrive until Saturday but their car was sitting in the drive when I returned late Friday night. I ran into the daugther and caught a glimpse of her husband when I got up in the morning. Later that day I found this little fella in my bed:
Well actually its a girl named Lilu, she belongs to L&B. She was a sweetheart but a bit of an attention hog. We were invited to dine with my host family that night. We went down a little before eight to sit, talk, and drink champagne. We met the little ones V and M. V the yougest child resembled a cherob and is an American, M was very shy but would offer us some snacks without speaking and hide behind her dad. L&B lived in New york for three years and we were informed they loved Americans. B had a lot of questions for us like what we liked about France, what we missed and if we drank beer. He said something like:  J'aime "Blue Moon" mais on ne peut pas le trouver en France ( I like blue moon but you can't find it in France), and the middle of dinner put on the strokes (If you know me well, you know I saw the Strokes at age 14 and have loved Fabrizzo ever since). We had north African cuisine that consisted of couscous, vegetables, chicken, lamb, and spice with red wine and cheese plate of course. Followed by dessert with Pyrenees, hazelnut, and rum infused dried cranberries and golden raisins. It was extremely tasty and everyone was really nice.

So yesterday was Valentines day. While my American friends and I were missing our american valentine's day traditions and celebrations, a kind friend left some tulips on the doorstep for my housemate and I. They are very pretty and made my day.
List of things learned continued:
14. I don't know how I left this out but you usually have to pay for public bathrooms, 20 centimes. If you're a lady this is not worth it at all, unless you  are about to pee all over yourself but even then I am not sure. The toilettes, if you can even call them that are awful.
15. I haven't really found that many inexpensive things besides bread. Make up, even our cheap brands are outrageous, a tube of rimmel mascara will run you about 15 euros.
16. When receiving change the cashier doesn't want to touch you! haha, they usually want  to place the change down on the counter and let you struggle to pick it up instead of placing it in your hand. I'm not sure what this is about because I know those centimes have more germs than I do.
17. I haven't learned what french cheeses I like besides the ones I ate in the states. All the types I've tried have been unsatisfactory or smelled like a toilet bowl.
18. The French should learn how to use goat cheese (chevre) and sometimes mustard(spicy brown) in moderation.
19. Sauce blanche is  ranch, and all the Kebab sellers think it is the best thing ever.
20. A majority of the food here is sweet or sweeter than what we have in U.S. Ketchup is one, toothpaste?, soda, chips and fries are less salty. Vending machines contain two types of chips the rest is candy, cookies, brownies, pastries, etc.
21. Valentine's day is not as commercialized as it is in America.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

School time

I just finished the trial week at CIDEF.  Everything seems fairly easy so far but I will be taking 21 credit hours and will actually be in class for 21 hours.  Fortunatly there will not be a whole lot of homework besides reading and langue homework. I will be taking Histoire de France, Histoire de L'art, Langue, Phonetics, Litterature XX siecle, Etude socio-culturelle. My Phonetics teacher is hilarious and a little crazy. For a phonetics teacher she has a lot of speech ticks and really intense ones at that but I love it.

I haven't done too much beside the usual walking around and hanging out with friends. Leah, Amy and I passed through the Jardin de Plante one day. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be in the winter. They have a lot of "exotique" birds to look at, a goat and big lop bunny area. yay.
I bought a ticket for  a trip to Normandie in March and one to Chateaux de Loire in a couple weeks. I'm pretty excited.

I don't really know what else to say everything seems a little boring right now... :/
But I think I'm having fun here, and haven't really been homesick yet.

Friday, February 11, 2011


For those of you who can't see my album on facebook here is a link to a flickr page. I haven't put up any captions yet but I will try to soon when I'm not feeling so lazy and I will try to give a real update.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

une Aventure Gastronomique

So, I'm sure you all are wondering about the French food, after all it is suppose to be the "best" food in the world.  While I have had my fair share of traditional french foods most of them have been street foods which are still pretty amazing. The best food that I've had here has been with my host family. The night that Amy, my house mate arrived we had a terrific dinner. I'm not exactly sure what they would call it but the best way to describe it is a savory tart with a flaky pastry crust, onion, ham, potatoes, with cream on top and I'm sure there was some butter in there somewhere. Followed by cheese and bread and then a dessert composed of creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese and what I think were speculoo crackers on top. It was a good meal and wish I would of had pcitures but I think the Sabatier's would of found it very strange if I pulled out my large camera at the dinner table.
 The only real french resturant experience I have had was at a Creperie called La Flambee. I had a formulaire with a salad, a galette with cheese, ham, an egg and a tomato salsa, a bowl of cidre, and a crepe with apples and chocolate. It was rather delicious as well. Crepes are everywhere here.
There are also pastry shops on every corner with several in between. These pastry shops often sell magnificent sandwiches, croissants, quiche, pizza, etc. I have tried a steak frite panni, a croque monsieur that was killer and wide assortment of pastries. The pastries are delicious of course, I get one about everyday.
As far American food goes, McDonalds is really the only distinct american place I've ate and I did not enjoy it. It was less greasy which is a vast improvement but there is a strange sauce on most of the burgers that I did not like. The coke tastes different, it is made with real sugar instead of syrup. I didn't like it at first but I think I am getting use to it. I hope to try much more french food but the Chinese Resturants and Pizza places are very tempting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Learning Process

 It is going to take a bit of time to learn how to live successfully in Angers. Here is what I've learned so far. 
1. At some supermarkets you have to purchase your plastic bags for about 0,03E so to save a few centimes bring your own sac.
2. French boys stare a lot but it is nothing to be alarmed by, they all do it. If they start to yell "les belles filles, viens ici" keep walking. If they don't stare and aren't occupied with texting, etc. then chances are they aren't French.
3. Loofahs are either impossible to find or very expensive running from 5 euros to 6 euros in the supermarkets, but oddly enough they are very cheap at Sephora.
4. McDoner Kebabs has the best tea ever.
5. Peanut butter is also extremely expensive especially American brands, so bring your own if you must have it. But they have a spread called speculoos which is a cinnamon cookie kind of like graham crackers made into a spread that I might fall in love with.
6. In France, We don't scramble our eggs.
7.Toliet paper is scented here which drives me crazy.
8. While riding with a French driver is not scary because they all drive in the same manner, an American driving in France might have a panic attack.
9.  I saw a small French child go to the bathroom on the sidewalk with assistants from his mother. I'm not sure if this is the norm but it is something to watch out for.
10. If you are thinking about going out between 5:30 and 6:30, Don't! The traffic is terrible. While you have the advantage of walking, the sidewalks are still swarmed with students and workers.
11. What to eat is an extremely difficult decision.
12. There are a lot of French Bulldogs here which makes me extremely happy.
13. Watch where you step!