June Vacation: Tours, Bordeaux, Pays Basque

HELLO!

Okay, so the LAST time I updated this blog, it was the end of May, and I was rambling about five months. I haven’t updated then because I have been INSANELY busy.

Since I last updated, I settled into living with Charlotte’s family in Fayence, which is a MUCH smaller town than Fréjus… so, basically, she lives in the country. I finished with school on the 28th, and then I took a train to Bordeaux on the 31st. I got back Tuesday night from Bordeaux, during a rather big storm in the Var.

**EDIT: it is now SEPTEMBER and this is long overdue. I am out of town this weekend and lack internet access, so I finally finished up this post with LOADS of pictures, so please enjoy. Sorry for the delay!**

Anyway, I have lots of things to talk about, and lots of pictures to share.

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All the Frenchies! IN ONE PHOTO! (On my last day of school.)

Okay, so, my last week of school was boring and only 2 days long. I didn’t truly say goodbye to most of my teachers, because some of them had nothing to say to me or anything to do with my stay here, and others (namely, the english teacher!) are certain that we’ll see each other again before I leave! Saying goodbye to teachers I’ve only had for a few months was decidedly awkward, especially taking into account the unexpected bisous. I came out of school the second-to-last-day thanks to probably my most awkward experience ever… (no, really, despite my repertoire of awkward and or embarrassing experiences, that one was very awkward.)

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Second to last day of school, after awkward goodbye, hanging out with Charlotte and Jean-Paul 🙂28205_114617815247616_100000981955268_83770_6447311_n 28205_114617758580955_100000981955268_83758_6759748_n

Typical. We can’t actually take a picture without JP poking somebody.

Monday afternoon (Charlotte skipped SES in the morning to hang out with me), Charlotte’s dad, Xavier drove us to school. With frantic texts to the others that were already at school to convince them to come outside (they didn’t get the texts) to come see me, we dropped Charlotte off at school and I said goodbye. Shortly after, I was at the train station in Saint Raphael again, the one that always brings back bad memories, and waited for the train.

I’m still not that great with the trains—I looked at the wrong ticket and ended up walking all the way to the end of the platform, before double-checking and realizing that my seat was actually back by the entrance. Thus began the two-week-long vacation.

(Okay, I now realize how much time that will take to write up ALL THE GORY DETAILS, so I’m going to do this in MORE CONCISE and list-y form.)

BORDEAUX.

Arrived late Monday. Didn’t do anything of interest for a few days, just caught up with Any and Jeveta from the LAST time I was in Bordeaux. My camera was broken, so took it to “The Photo Clinic” to be repaired, where I was informed that it would be good to go the next Monday.

Left Thursday afternoon shortly after eating a delicious “composed salad” (recipe: corn, mungo bean sprouts, tuna-from-a-can, tomatoes, add in a bit of lettuce and there you go. Serve with Balsamic Vinagarette and fresh herbs. Dessert of FRESH STRAWBERRIES, nutella crepes, and homemade whipped cream. Yummm.) to go to Tours.

TOURS.

he train was late, of course (Train to go to Paris, have to get off AFTER passing Tours as it’s not exactly on the way… and then take a commuter train BACK to Tours. Complicated), because every train I’ve ever taken in France has been late, it seems.

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Met my hosts in Tours, Dad’s friend Xavier’s parents. Francoise picked me up at the Gare and we walked back to their house. It was hot, and the small rolling suitcase Any lent me wasn’t very great for crossing a park.

Friday, wandered around Tours while Xavier’s parents worked. Took pictures with disposable camera, bought antique postcards, had a (second) run-in with a creeper. Fled and then spent time writing and reading. That evening, went to Amboise and wandered a bit. Saw naked statue of Leonardo Da Vinci. Took more photos.

F1010001 The cathedrale

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Medieval houses

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The Grand Theatre/Opera (uhh.)

F1010003 The Pont Napoleon (I think, I never actually figured it out on the map.)F1010004 The Loire River (I ate lunch right here.)

F1010008 Old street

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Amboise

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The statue of Leonardo Da Vinci sans clothes.

Saturday, went to Chenonceaux and LOADS of other Chateaux of the Loire. Very pretty. Followed tour guides speaking in English. Lots of schoolkids arrived. Fled through bigger garden, and talked to Francoise about how great of a place to run the grounds would be—final decision being that it would be unlikey for the women of Chenonceaux to run cross country. Failed at the maze, took pictures in middle, ate lunch, continued driving around and seeing the outside of other chateaux. Wished it would rain because it was hot and I was sore from walking around Tours.

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Chenonceau! Of course, it was being restored. F1010025 P1010079 P1010092P1010093 P1010094P1010104 P1010097

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The Chateau de LochesP1010102

This is actually Emmanuel Lansyer’s house turned free museum of his collection and works. It was pretty cool, the garden was pretty, and YAY AIR CONDITIONING!

P1010103 …Same town? Chateau? Actually, I have NO IDEA what this is. I should have taken notes.

Sunday, it rained. Saw more chateaux. Toured Ussé, the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty. Took pictures with the Briend’s rather old camera.

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The town of Langeais F1000003 F1000006

Chateau de Langeais

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Ussé

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Inside Ussé, there was an exposition of old clothing. I took pictures of it all 🙂

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This desk was inset with gold and ivory, and had 49 secret drawers. :O

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And then, further on, there was a set-up of rooms themed around Sleeping Beauty.

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Azay-le-Rideau

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Chinon, which was also being restored. Not much to see there.

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Street in Chinon

Monday, returned to Bordeaux and picked up camera. Apparently he had it fixed on Wednesday. Fail. Saw an interesting cow at Bordeaux Lac. Turned in my disposable camera after taking two silly photos with Any in the parking lot.

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Any and her friend Monsieur le Vache.

Visited the Chateau de Cazeneuve, the chateau that I didn’t get to visit last time because it was closed. Saw a bat, but then the other tourists scared him away. Learned how to make Tiramisu, and then made a Cherry cake. Took a “Balneo” class at a spa, where I ran around in the water for an hour (Thursday). Friday, left for Pays Basque after Jeveta finished exams.

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PAYS BASQUE.

Left around 2 Friday, dropped off Jeveta’s friend that is Basque at her house. She gave us chocolate and nougat, yum. Stopped in Biarritz and took pictures. Stopped elsewhere in Biarritz, took more pictures. Waved at the ocean and yelled HELLO to the USA (on the other side) and then screamed when the waves came. Mused that it wouldn’t be a good idea to fall on the rocks. It started raining. Got lost on the way to St Pée sur Nivelle, where Any knew a hostel owner.

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Screaming about the waves, and then fleeing calmly. (Photos from Jeveta.)

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Jeveta!

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The hotel/hostel, dunno what it was because the bathrooms were communal?

Next day, found “little pigs” and gateau basque (which is REALLY good, and I have the recipe so :D) saw the Musée de Chocolat, Edmund Rostand’s house, and the Chateau d’Abbadia.

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Musée de Chocolat – Chocolate art and various chocolate-making utensils. At the end of the tour, we got to taste some delicious hot chocolate, but honestly, it wasn’t that great as the chocolate-making demonstrations are only during the week and we went on a Saturday.

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Edmund Rostand’s house- Typical Basque style. The woodwork on Basque houses is typically red or green, the colors of the flag, red being more traditional.

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Since Edmund Rostand was a playwright and actor, his house features an exposition of costumes from one of his works.

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The gardens were really great, however, we couldn’t see the full view from the front thanks to the tents. In front was the French garden, and the backyard was the English garden.

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This cat didn’t have a tail, but he was sweet—and then he followed Jeveta and I everywhere until we went back to the car.

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Typical Basque-style house.

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Chateau d’Abbadia—it was really just a castle-but-not-really where a scientist lived. Or something like that. The library was AWESOME, but photos weren’t allowed inside (not to say that I didn’t sneak a few, until the employees became suspicious).

Sunday, saw St Jean de Luz, where we saw an orchestra and a quartet play. Then we went to St Sebastian in Spain.Saw lots of soccer supporters, partying before a game. Ate ice cream that wasn’t good, and then a drunk guy talked to us. Returned to France. stopped by Bayonne. Got a bit lost, but sang old songs very loudly with Jeveta in the car, as Any doesn’t have a radio. And then slept.

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Port at St Jean de Luz

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*Note: I may be confusing what day we did what here, but at the moment, I’m not recalling very well as I ONCE AGAIN, wrote nothing down. If I’m mistaken, then I guess it really doesn’t matter.

BORDEAUX.

When we got back, we went to over to Any’s friends (the Gauntiers) house (they live across the street) and ate gambas al ajillo, and then the gateaux that we brought with us from the Pays Basque.

Next day, went to Planete Bordeaux. Tasted wine the proper way (it still wasn’t good, and when asked what it smells/tastes like, my only answer is “Uhhhhm, wine???”). That night, ate lots of ice cream with Jeveta and Any and then toured Bordeaux. Found more cows. Took pictures and ran around vaguely idiotically with Jeveta.

And then, went back to St Raphael by train but the train was cancelled in Toulon, where I was stranded until Charlotte and her dad braved the flooding roads (yayyyy, huge storms! and floods! D: ) to come get me. Went back to Fayence, slept for a very long time.

Any gave me two little recipe books—one of cookies & cakes, and another of I-don’t-exactly-know, so now I have recipes for French food, which I will be converting into American measurements (and English) soon. I’d be happy to share with you, once I figure it out! And for my friends, except some French cooking!

Since then, I’ve been here in Fayence at the Belliard’s. Charlotte and I have been busy, going to Frejus for multiple parties and seeing various people nearly every day of the week. It’s been INCREDIBLY hot and since the floods, the beaches in Frejus have been closed (they’re still closed until July 15th).

My mom is coming to France soon with my brother, and I’ll be back home in 10 days!

See you then, and I will try to update you guys on all my adventures in France and in Italy then.

-Aly

Trips to McDonald’s/Quick: 16

3 thoughts on “June Vacation: Tours, Bordeaux, Pays Basque

  1. Pingback: Something Like Adulthood | Aly en France

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