Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gone Francin' Days 1-3

The following is taken from my trip journal. And by "trip journal" I mean, tipsily-written notes cobbled together while watching Nouvelle Star and drinking really nice Burgundy wine from the little rinse cup they give you in hotel bathrooms. I am nothing if not classy chic.

Trip from Austin to Paris was long, but not too horrible. Other than Sam literally falling out of the shuttle bus as it dropped us off at the check-in point in Austin. He missed a step, ripped a hole in the knee of his pants and twisted his ankle. Good times already! Once we got on the international flight, Sam said we should try to sleep on the plane to avoid jetlag, but I couldn't. It was a combo of being too excited and the fact that it was at least 100 degrees in our section of the aircraft. Mid-flight, I considered stripping down to my underwear, but didn't want to spend majority of vacation time at the Charles de Gaulle Airport Jail. Navigating Paris is a bit.. scary. Our only lifelines are Sam's high school French and my willingness to look as stupid as it takes for someone to take pity on us. Managed to wrangle said stupidity into the nice man at Gare Lyon exchanging our tickets to an earlier train so we don't become hobo meat by mid afternoon. Arrive Dijon, find hotel in record time, drop bags and then immediately find wine bar at Hotel du Nord. Bonus: we're at least 3 hours ahead of anyone else showing up, so while we get to watch our bartender mop the floors (no, really), he is quite a good sport about pouring us several glasses of our first wine in France. Back to hotel by 7:30 where I promptly fall asleep for the next 14 hours.

Normally, this would have been a waste, but Sunday is Easter Sunday and the whole town is in church til at least 10 am. We made our way to Darcy Square and found an open cafe. I had a Croque Madame (dee-lishus) and Sam had Andouillette Dijonaise (nasty). I took a bite of his dish and had to spit it out. Found out later that Andouillette Dijonaise is fancy name for tripe sausage or as I like to call it "shit meat." Ugh. first lesson in French cuisine learned hard way.

note: am having a really hard time responding with Gracias instead of "Merci". To the point that Frenchies are starting to talk with me in Spanish, which is.. not really helping matters. Must stop.

After brunch we waddled down to the Musee des Beaux Arts and the Ducal Palace 'xcuse moi, Palais.. Saw lots of art--some famous painters here and there, but mostly religious stuff. Walked around the Palais and the adorable little park in Darcy square. Every other person we encounter is walking a dog and in a mode calculated to make me giggle--all of them are completely cliche-- several poodles, at least 5 french bulldogs, 3 papillons, lots of little frou frou longhaired ones that I can't place, but am sure are named Fifi. I am secretly relieved when we finally see a golden retriever. We found the Market (des Halles) but it is closed. sniff. Found a wonderful little place that was open for dinner where we started tackling our "to eat" list. Notched off were boef bourgogne, escargot and creme brulee. Went back to hotel to write postcards and watch a three hour documentary on Disco entirely in French. Thus begins the overwhelming urge for me to hum ABBA's Voulez Vous for the rest of the entire trip.

Quote of the day: "That looks fancy, let's go there."

Monday--whoa, hey there, France, Easter is over, right? RIGHT?? Non. Easter is still celebrated on Monday here. Everything still closed for the most part. We find an open grocery store where we bought essentials: Orangina, cheese puffs, stinky cheese and bottles of wine. Decide to go over to Beane which is just a short hop on the train. We need to find the places we have scheduled for on Tuesday because unlike the rest of our waddlings, these are actual appointments with reps of wine houses and we don't want to be late because we have figured out at this point that to fully maximize our limited time in France, we need to be drunk by about 8:30 a.m. This scouting trip ended up being a very good idea because we got lost in Beaune for about 2 hours despite the fact that it's really small and you could probably walk one end to the other in less than an hour. Turns out, You see about 10 quaint tiny cobble-stoned streets with painted shutters and flower boxes and after a while, they just sort of start running together and the next thing you know, you find yourself at the only open Cave (wine cellar) where you pay your 10 euros and they just send you along with a little metal tasting cup thingie and absolutely no supervision. It's just you and Sam in a 12th century cave and it seems really unreasonable that you should have to spit out the wine after tasting it because you've had a really long day of being lost--you've probably walked at least 27 miles (most of those on the same three streets) and oh yeah, cobblestones suck. Shortly after tasting the 10th wine, you start to realize that they might have known what they were talking about with the whole spitting thing because holy crap, I am shit-canned. After a very tipsy dinner during which I have no idea what I ate, we miraculously find train station, get back to Dijon and pass ou-, I mean, go to bed a wee bit early.

quote of the day: "I'm going to need dinner to stop the drinking."

tomorrow: days 4-6 (and hopefully the rest of the pictures).



1 comment:

lotuseater said...

Hey, Sam. Thanks for sharing you lucky dog.