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

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Pizza

HELLO!

Superduperquickpost.

Today was busy! Spent most of the day at the library. Project DONE, yayyy! Classes worked out for dual enrollment– very strange story. Cross-country was good, tomorrow is first day of school EEP and it’s REALLY LATE!

SENIOR YEAR WHAAAT?! D:
-Aly

P.S. Sorry this is fail, I just finished everything and I still have more to do to be ready for tomorrow!

Granola Bar

Coucou!

Okay, so, today I’ll be writing in English, though yesterday’s post is definitely not the last post I’ll be writing in French just because I can…

ANYWAY!

My first day of Forsyth Tech went surprisingly well. I was EARLY, but my teacher was late, so I stood anxiously in the quickly-emptying hallway and fidgeted, while obsessively checking my phone for the time. Eventually he showed up (about six minutes late), and the class began. There were only SEVEN of us there, which was REALLY WEIRD. Is that how it works at community colleges, or did everybody just…skip?

We were discussing Ethics and Law, which is really quite fascinating, though the chapter in the book is TWENTY-SIX pages long (so after working on it for a good chunk of my day and taking probably unnecessary notes, I’m on page 18). I really hope every chapter won’t be like that, because I fear that might be a bit too much reading, even for me. Unfortunately, I encountered so many problems with my Sociology class that I didn’t even get started on that today.

I logged on to Blackboard, only to discover that I WASN’T enrolled in any online classes. So I called the help desk, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes and hang up. I then called the Dual Enrollment organizer, only to find out that she will be gone until Friday (unless she’s forgotten to change her voicemail…), and then i called Tech Support AGAIN, only to be on hold for 15 minutes before actually talking to an actual person, who told me that I was enrolled in the class from their end, and that I’d have to contact my teacher to have them open up the course. Unfortunately, I can’t see my teacher’s contact information since it says I’m not enrolled in the class. GAHHHHHH. SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING.

All of that means that I have to deal with more stuff tomorrow, since I didn’t today. Emails, emails, emails, that I don’t have time to do.

Anyway, after all that mess, I went up to my high school to help out one of the “coaches”, Mr Fisher, who is really a math teacher. I got there early (since I’m bad at timing), and ended up staying for the next two hours, dealing mostly with the organization of textbooks, which included putting names into many of them. I gave one of my friends a New book because I could, and then spazzed out later when I found MY old Algebra 2 book. I’m so glad I don’t have to go through that again. I wanted to leave a note for the next owner of that book, but decided not to. I mean, I wouldn’t want to embarrass anybody by being that creepy! … 🙂

Finally, there was more cross-country, where I ran with a small group of girls, For once, we had a girl from every grade! We were just chilling, a nice, relaxed run. One of the other groups (the “faster” group), walked, which I DO NOT UNDERSTAND, and it annoys me quite a bit but so far as I’m concerned, they can make their own decisions about what they want from their season. I’ll just run with the “slow” group, enjoy myself, and at the end of the day, feel good about what I accomplished.

In other news, Real School starts Wednesday, and I’m still not done with Summer Reading, so I’ll be squeezing that in tomorrow!

A demain, comme d’habitude 😉

-Aly

Scones!

Salut!

Alors, aujourd’hui, je vais ecrire en français un petit peu 🙂 J’espere que ça te derange pas trop! (Inquietez pas, je vais ecrire apres en anglais pour ceux qui savez pas le français.)

J’ai lavé ma voiture aujourd’hui! Ca prends beaucoup de temps, malheursement, alors je n’ai pas beaucoup fait à partir de ça. En fin, j’ai rien accompli aujourd’hui sauf faire le menage. Apres diner, j’ai fait la cuisine—j’ai fait les scones de myrtille avec un glaçage de citron. Ca m’a fait beaucoup de plaisir, parce que je vais les manger pour petit dejeuner demain matin! Ils sont très bons—mon frère m’a dit ça et il dit jamais les choses gentils au sujet de la cuisine que je fais! xD Mon premier cours de l’ecole à l’universite est demain matin, à 8h. Je ne suis pas pret!

En fin, j’ai dit au revoir à Via et maintenant, je vais au lit! 😀

*****

Okay, In ENGLISH now! 😀 I just wanted to practice my French, since the only time I write in French is when I talk to my French friends… unfortunately, that’s never frequently enough, due to my busy schedule and the 6 hour time difference. Anway, I hope that didn’t annoy you too much, and any of you that speak French, feel free to correct me 😉

Today, I ended up washing my car, though I didn’t originally plan to. That took up most of the day, so I really didn’t do much else! I didn’t end up accomplishing anything today except a few chores. After dinner, I baked—I made blueberry scones with lemon icing, which are DELICIOUS, and a smoothie with leftover blueberries, some raspberries, strawberries, and cranberry juice. The scones will DEFINITELY be my breakfast tomorrow, and even my brother (who never compliments my cooking!) said they were good! xD

My first class at the community college is tomorrow morning at 8, so I have to get up reallyyyy early 😦 Luckily, I’ll have scones to look forward to as breakfast, instead of cereal! I’m not ready for this at all, so I really hope I’ll survive—I guess I’ll talk about it tomorrow?

After all that, I went over to Via’s to say goodbye, but didn’t cry. I’m still trying not to think about the fact that so many of my friends are so far away. GAHH MY LIFE IS BORING!

I’m going to bed now 🙂

BONSOIR/GOODNIGHT!

-Aly

P.S. What would you say if I make EVERY blog post from this month a food-title? I think I’ll make it my Thing.

Popsicles and Ice Cream

Hello again!

See what I said about blogging every day? I’m making this happen.

So, today was BUSY. Not that every day isn’t, but today was borderline hectic.

We had a long run this morning. My run was strangely satisfying. I wore my NEW SHOES which are the same as Molly’s shoes, which was of course, completely unintentional. It was sunny again, thus really humid, after all the rain we’ve had lately. My shoes are ALREADY dirty, but hopefully they won’t smell as bad as my spikes do anytime soon.

(For you non-cross-country-runners, spikes are the racing shoes we wear… and they have a very pungent odor. I refuse to take mine out of the box, and they stay in a corner of the basement where the stench can’t hurt the quality of life…)

Our coach brought Popsicles for us for after the run (YAY! TREATS!), and since there were so many of them, Molly and I got three each. We were laughing, being like “oh, Fattie Club is BACK IN SESSION!” and “I wonder if we can make this a thing?”, so Coach Cromwell took us off to the side for a Lecture. It wasn’t so much of a Lecture as it was an Expression of Worry About Our Mental Health, which made it rather humorous. But, in a way, it was complimentary and I think both Molly and I realized how awkward and difficult it must be for him to confront “girly” problems (even if they are perceived as problems, but aren’t).

Though it is funny to note his reaction to us senior girls with our water-guns at yesterday’s practice and then what he said to Molly and I today. We’re just enigmas. 🙂

Other than that, I spent today shopping for books with my mother, which ended in me getting a couple books from the Free Shelf (ONE IS A PLAY IN FRENCH!) and lots of Shakespeare. She finally showed me the houses she likes, one of which we will hopefully buy… as soon as our house sells.

After all that, I went to Via’s house (with Molly) to help her pack for college. That was fun, but the reasoning is sad. It SUCKS to say goodbye, and she’s not ready to leave. For that matter, I’m not ready for any of my “ex-senior” friends to be gone. I know I’ll keep in touch somehow and this won’t be goodbye forever (at least, I SINCERELY hope not!), but still, the whole people-leaving thing is just not fun as leaving yourself.

During all that, we stopped by Cold Stone. Hence, ice cream. Delicious, FattieClub worthy, ice cream. YAYYY SUMMER! (I’m holding on to Summertime for dear life, though I could do with some nice fall-like temperatures…)

A demain! 😉

-Aly

NaBloPoMo

Hello, everybody!

So, I’ve been back from France for a month-and-several-days, and time is still passing far too quickly. I’ve got less than a week until school starts again, and to be honest, I’m not at ALL ready. I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that this is my last year of high school, though I’ve been worrying excessively about colleges since about April.

In other news, I’ve been REALLY busy lately, which is why I haven’t yet finished the last two blog posts from France. Sorry about that. Part of the reason is that finishing those posts feels like saying goodbye to that time in my life. I’m still holding on to the memories and the people I met there, my friends and “dreamland”.

Since I’m not that great at blogging or keeping up with this blog, I’ve decided that I’m dedicating this month to be my National Blog Posting Month, which is rather like NaNoWriMo, except it’s basically any time you like. I’ll be blogging daily until September 19th, even if it’s a small post. During this time, expect the last couple blog posts about France, and a few other big posts with excessive pictures. However, it’ll all depend on my schedule—cross-country season is nearly here for good (not just pre-season), and I’ll be busy with college applications, classes, and volunteering soon enough. With a bit MORE luck, I’ll be able to keep up with my French by tutoring others in French, since they cut the AP French program. Basically, if you know anybody that wants to learn French or is struggling with French, let me know, and I’ll see if I can help! 😉

(In reference to the “volunteering” thing—I’m applying to volunteer at the public library! I turned in the application yesterday, before settling in for an hour and some of working on school stuff. I love libraries :D)

Last night was Orientation (at least I didn’t have to go to REAL orientation in the silly clothes I wore to the “What Not To Wear skit” for Freshman orientation in the morning. The Freshman are probably embarrassed about the seniors xD), so I got to “meet” my teachers, though I more-or-less know them all. I’m really excited for my English class, because I have it with Molly, Matt, and Duncan… though I feel sorry for my teacher.

My dual enrollment classes begin Monday. With luck, I’ll be able to change my study hall to be a study hall with French… so that I can speak in French for an hour of my day!

In a strange way, I’m excited for this year. I just know it’ll be hard and crazy, though I think I can handle it. Don’t hold me to that one, though, because I’m probably going to spaz out in a few weeks!

-Aly

Dreamland

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Hello again!

I’ve put this off for a few days now, but it’s about time that I sit down and actually write this blog, so here it goes.

I’ve been here for five months now, and in that time, quite a bit has changed. The most obvious is, of course, language-wise, but I’ve also gained many amazing friends and experiences.

Some things haven’t quite been what I expected them to be, but some, such as the relationships I’ve built, have been so much more important to me than I expected. I’ve spent these last two months (ever since the last vacation) in my own personal version of heaven, so busy with my French friends that I didn’t have time to miss home. And now, I’ve moved in with my friend Charlotte—I finally get to experience a “host family” with somebody my age, which is quite fun.

I could get all sappy here, but the video I posted on the 21st shows it pretty well—all that video was taken in a span of four days, and it’s kind of a present for the Frenchies, with whom I’ve passed so many good days lately.

OH! In other news, I only have 2 days of school left. And then I’m off to Bordeaux again, and the final few weeks in June, I’ll spend with Charlotte (B.) and my other friends. I’m so not ready for this to end, it’s just TOO GOOD.

♥,
-Aly

Trips to McDonalds/Quick: 12
(*hides in shame*)