L’Alsace va me manquer

Je suis triste that I have less than un mois left here en France; it will be un peu étrange to leave in a few weeks’ time. With presque all my year-abroad-bucketlist complete, I just need to find a day (or two) to visit Lyon…

Au lycée all is going bien: the end of la semaine dernière involved students acting out their own trailers for “Private Peaceful” (très éducatif, of course, since they are actually studying the book), watching “Supersize Me” (just to clarify: this wasn’t a lesson planned by me) and educating les élèves français on the development of medicine…from Ancient Egypt to aujourd’hui (my degree/ being une “native speaker” definitely didn’t prepare me for that).

Given all the hype, l’éclipse solaire was a little (read: very) underwhelming. Je comprends that it wasn’t a total eclipse (of the heart, oh I miss Top Gun) but I expected it to be a bit…darker.

That night (vendredi dernier), je suis allée au cinéma to see “Still Alice” (VO, with subtitles) with Adrienne and Simone. C’était super, mais très triste. Plus tard (après avoir skypé Vicki) I headed to la gare to pick up Olivia – who ended up having to take cinq trains to get here due to a technical fault. That was la première fois that I had ever heard of a Swiss train malfunction!

On Saturday morning, après finding something for breakfast (brioche aux pommes, nom nom nom) and a wander around le marché Place St Joseph, nous sommes allées à la gare to catch the train to Strasbourg with Simone, Julie and Adrienne. Upon notre arrivée à Strasbourg, we went to Petite France and found a café called ‘Le Kougelhopf’ for a drink/snack. I had un chocolat chaud; Olivia opted for a plus exotique passionfruit tea (which she then tried to locate in le supermarché plus tard). The general consensus from the kougelhopf-eaters was not to eat it there again, un peu ironique given the café’s name.

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Olivia & I, Petite France [photo courtesy of Simone]

We then wandered to les ponts couverts for the nice view of Strasbourg, with la cathédrale en arrière-plan.

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les ponts couverts, finally remembered to do a panoramic photo

Ensuite it was time to climb all 332 marches to the top of la cathédrale…at which point les nuages returned, just as we thought it was starting to get sunnier. By the time we came down, c’était le temps to chercher quelque chose à manger…with all five of us being fairly indecisive this was a bit of a challenge! Eventuellement, we opted for ‘Le Gruber’, a traditional Alsatian (I’m not referring to German Shepherds here) winstub. Feeling un peu deprived of the lovely garlic pizza bread found en Angleterre, I opted for that whilst Olivia followed a friend’s recommendation and went for tarte flambée…with munster. If you want mon avis, this is a thing for fromage fans (if you’re not a fan sérieux/ can’t stand the smell of strong cheeses, turn away now).

Après avoir mangé we split up; the others headed to a museum, whilst I gave Olivia the comprehensive tour de Strasbourg (ma famille, you’re up next!). Tout d’abord we saw the (slightly underwhelming) astronomical clock display in la cathédrale. On the plus side, j’ai réussi à prendre une photo of the lovely stained glass window – a huge merci to mon caméra for its (uncommon) cooperation.

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finalement! succès!

Ensuite, we walked out to the parc de l’orangerie, la cour européenne des droits de l’homme, le parlement européen and le conseil de l’Europe. Devant le conseil de l’Europe, there were plusieurs sculptures, including some saxophones:

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“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” – Gary Lineker.

We then walked back towards le centre-ville, wandering through the nice shopping streets, ending near Place Kléber…at which point we encountered an irresistible macaroon deal! Un train and a supermarket trip plus tard, we were back at mine cooking fajitas; turns out the “doux” (aka. mild) spice mix here is actually BBQ flavour. The chocolate and raspberry macaroons were délicieux; a great prequel to an episode of “The Great Irish Bake Off” (definitely helps the post-Bake-Off blues until la prochaine saison).

Le prochain matin, we were up bright and early and absolument prêtes to hunt down un pain au choco-smarties. Malheureusement, luck was not on our side: Poulaillon is fermé on Sundays en hiver. À mon avis, it is clearly no longer l’hiver…mais c’est la vie. It’s certainement une bonne chose that there is no such thing as a bad boulangerie in Colmar. We then wandered around toutes les rues, spent some time in Place du 2ère Février (which I think I prefer to le Champ de Mars), walked down Quai de la Poissonerie to Petite Venise and ended in ‘Jupiler Café’ for un chocolat viennois.

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Petite Venise

We then returned to ‘Les Fameuses Bretzels de Colmar’ for a crêpe (me)/ waffle (Olivia) with speculoos. Since neither of us have ever wanted to commit to an entire jar of the stuff, this seemed like la chance idéale to try it out; a word of caution, it’s sickly stuff, but it certainly caters to the sweet-toothed.

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Every Lotus biscuit lover’s dream

On a passé l’après-midi chez moi, watching “Little White Lies” (titre français, “Les Petits Mouchoirs”) – averting une catastrophe when it transpired our link only had la première partie of the film – avant d’aller à la gare for Olivia’s train. Un très bon week-end, with one last événement to come…Simone’s pre-birthday celebrations in Ribeauvillé with Adrienne, Julie and Chrissy. We went to a little winstub (slightly irrelevant side point: what DO les français do to the salt here?! It’s disgusting!) which was très alsacien. Afterwards, we had cake (très bonne idée Adrienne and Julie!) at Chrissy’s.

Au début de cette semaine, I saw “Selma” with Simone, Adrienne and Julie; c’était tellement intéressant. Plus, it was only €3.50:

Le lendemain, I was giving a lesson on stereotypes. After discussing the “All Asians are intelligent” stereotype, I asked students if they knew of any others…to which one replied “Ils sont jaunes!”: not quite what I was aiming for! I also gave a lesson on the invention of a Braille printer made out of Lego…il y a beaucoup d’avantages to choosing n’importe quel sujet to teach!

Hier, Chrissy, Simone and I (after beaucoup de deliberation on where to go) went to ‘Maestro del Caffè’ pour le ‘pti dej’ (to quote le menu): jus d’orange, chocolat chaud, pain au chocolat et une petite viennoiserie. Chrissy et moi then decided to see “Cendrillon” [titre original, “Cinderella”] au cinéma…which (unbeknown to us beforehand) also included a short spin off called “La Reine des Neiges: la fête givrée” (no prizes for guessing quel film de Disney this was a spin-off of). Whilst planning un cours on April Fool’s Day, I learnt it is known as ‘le poisson d’avril’ en France which now explains pourquoi il y a beaucoup de chocolate fish in the shops…!

Aujourd’hui j’ai pas fait beaucoup; I only had two classes, the latter of which involved an entertaining video on les stéreotypes des français and un élève telling toute la classe that he liked eating sheep’s brains…!!

À la prochaine

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