Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flight of the Français

The past week has featured quite a few points of interest...

Last Tuesday (sorry for not posting sooner!), Dickinson brought us on a
trip to a castle in the Pyrénées. We hiked for 30 minutes STRAIGHT UP the mountain, through fog, which was pretty cool. The picture below shows the mountain. Where the road enters on the far left is where we began, and hiked pretty much straight up to the top.
That tiny thing on the mountaintop is actually an enormous medieval castle. Below, you can see the village where we ate lunch! Lunch (no surprises here) was fantastic! They served us a quinoa salad, trout, and pasta, as well as an amazing apple tart dessert, coffee, and pitchers
of wine. The trout was served WHOLE, which was an adventure by itself. All courtesy of Dickinson!
After lunch, we went on a kayaking journey through the mountains! This featured beautiful scenery, ducks, and a couple mishaps. A friend accidently hit me in the face with an oar, my kayak partner and I got stuck in a tree, and a few other girls fell in. Our kayaking leaders were pretty amused by all this. Good times all around. Plus, I arrived home that night with a sweet black eye/battle wound to show the family. That day also happened to be a grève day, meaning everyone was on strike. The buses and metro weren't working, and people were protesting in the streets. Too bad we weren't around to fully experience it - though they're common enough, I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities. We arrived back in Toulouse that night, soaking wet and starving (a miracle after the amount of food we consumed at lunch!), and headed straight out for kabobs! SO AMAZING. For those of you who aren't familiar with the wonder of kabobs, it's basically an enormous hunk of meat, lamb?, usually displayed in shop windows spinning next to a heater. The cafe workers literally SHAVE off hunks of greasy meat and put them in a naan sandwich. Clearly, this is my new favorite food.

A la Campagne

Seeing as the rest of last week didn't feature anything particularly exciting (piano concert, Place au Jacobins, churches - check out the pictures I posted online!), I'll skip directly to this weekend! My family invited me to their country cottage for the weekend. Two hours of winding roads outside Toulouse, near Bergerac (as in Cyrano, for my fellow Francophiles), we made it. Their home is pretty sweet, located on its own hill, with an ENORMOUS pool and beautiful view. I spent the weekend swimming, dining, and immersing myself into their family culture. I learned that they love whiskey-coca, and that they can spend hours debating politics over food, and that everyone in their family is a fantastic cook. Saturday, I accompanied them into town to check out the weekly markey, which was very typique and fun. That night, a friend of theirs invited us to dinner in their BEAUTIFUL home. Legit, it was furnished somewhat like a hybrid of these two pictures. Dinner lasted three and a half hours, which was pretty cool.

Sunday, I went tomass with Madame (en francais!) which was thoroughly enjoyable. Afterwards, we had an interesting discussion about catholicism and religion in general. For lunch, we had crab, still in its shell. The family was asking me if I knew how to eat crab. I answered that I was more familiar with lobster. They were VERY impressed. Thanks, Cape Cod roots!

WAIT. I forgot to mention the hilight of my weekend! I flew in my host dad's plane!

That's all for now~~~ Please send your responses/questions/witticisms via email or facebook, and I'll be sure to respond or post them!

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