À la fin de la semaine dernière, I did a lesson on April Fool’s Day (a bit in advance, je sais) with entertaining results (surtout given that April Fool’s Day/ le poisson d’avril isn’t really a big thing en France). None of mes élèves had heard of the infamous spaghetti tree documentaire produit par the BBC en 1957:
Après entertaining them with that, they then came up with their own April Fool’s news bulletins…
- “Last night France beat Brazil 3-1” (when pigs fly…!/quand les poules auront les dents!)
- “Tectonic plates are moving and countries will relocate” (they went into lots of detail with this one)
- “A recent earthquake means the clocks will not go forward in Paris and people will need to put their watches in the microwave to reset them” (imagine if you fell for that…)
In the afternoon, comme d’habitude, it was exam preparation for one class with some added hilarity grâce à one student using the word “pastrying” [baking] with so much conviction it could almost catch on…!
Le week-end dernier, Simone, Chrissy and I visited le lac de Constance…and a whole host of other lieux while we were there. It involved waking up très tôt (I know that mon père will disagree with this) at 06:30 (I’m not a morning person) but driving through la Forêt-Noire and la campagne allemande made it worth it! Our first stop was ‘Insel Mainau’; essentiellement, an island with lots of flowers (cue: early-onset hayfever pour moi!) et lovely views of le lac de Constance which surrounded the island.
L’île était vraiment belle, and the weather was amazing (though not as warm as les ciel bleu might suggest!). Au début, we saw the huge sculptures made entirely of fleurs: premièrement the huge flower, then an enormous peacock followed by some large ducks.
Ensuite, on a vu a miniature train track…and became keen trainspotters while waiting for un train to be in the perfect place for une photo!
We then saw the mini-farm avec some very lazy Shetland ponies, beaucoup de chèvres, some donkeys (/Eeyores) and some chickens. On a mangé our picnic au bord du lac (a safe distance away from les cygnes) before continuing to walk around the island, passing a mini version of Geneva’s jet d’eau (perhaps installed as part of the “Journey through Europe” theme pour cette année) and a nice waterfall-cascade-y thing surrounded by flowers.
Next, on a vu the “serre aux palmiers”: a large greenhouse filled with fleurs. Lots of photo-taking ensued…and we were probably les personnes les plus jeunes in there!
Le château baroque also had a room open, filled with fleurs – including an attempt at the EU flag in flowers, or perhaps Germany in flowers? Devant le château there was a nice Easter egg display (or, as Laurence thought, badly cut hedges…oh dear).
Ensuite on a mangé une glace (melon sorbet pour moi) whilst admiring le lac.
After this, we headed to the “serre aux papillons” which involved a butterfly sitting in my hood for most of the wander round, lots of blue-winged papillons which wouldn’t stay still long enough for Simone to prendre une photo and some tortoises engaging in some… shall we leave it at that?
Après à peu près quatre heures on the island, we decided to explore Konstanz. Tout d’abord we saw the harbour(?) with its rotating statue and quelques bateaux.
Ensuite we explored les rues et le centre-ville, avant de prendre a hot chocolate dans un café [Café Rosgarten]. Je n’ai pas beaucoup de photos of Konstanz itself, mais c’était une jolie ville. We saw the cathedral (tower closed for “travaux”) avant de chercher un restaurant for tea…tarte flambée sucrée sans crème fraîche for me. Chrissy and I also tried “Spezi” (Coke+Fanta) pour la première fois; it’s a lot better than it sounds! We then went back to our auberge de jeunesse, which had swimming-pool-esque décor, pour la nuit.
Not feeling too sleep-deprived after turning back les horloges, we left the hostel vers 08:15 to hunt for le petit déjeuner en ville. Luckily, les Allemands have an equivalent of Greggs: BackWerk. Tasty pastries galore; the apple slice/not entirely sure of its real name was absolument délicieux! Then we hit la route, with the GPS providing directions to Lindau. For some reason, we had all (somewhat naïvely, in retrospect) assumed there would be un pont to cross the river. Par résultat, we were un peu confused when it appeared we had to board a ferry…
Quinze minutes (and quinze euros) plus tard, we were on the other side of le lac, heading towards Lindau. En route, we stopped off at Friedrichshafen, for a wander around le port and la ville (which had the coolest mini Zeppelin playground for les enfants…if only I was un peu plus jeune!).
We then continued onto Lindau, une (assez petite) ville sur une île, accessible by a bridge from the mainland. We saw the waterfront et puis la marina (un peu comme Conwy) avant de chercher something to eat for lunch: schnitzel (and “the nicest tap water in Deutschland”). Also, top marks to les Allemands: the table salt was normal, unlike the salt in French supermarkets which is with fluoride and tastes revolting.
Avant de catching the ferry back, we had a quick walk around Meersburg; it was une très petite (et assez jolie) ville, on a (steep) hill, with nice views of les montagnes and le lac.
Our final stop for la journée was the Rhine Falls, which, we were informed by the man at Swiss border control “have always belonged to Switzerland” (and not l’Allemagne, as we had thought they might be located on the border between the two…). Après checking our passports (fairly sure we were the only people he checked), we drove through la Suisse to “Europe’s biggest waterfall” (to quote the leaflet). C’était a pretty impressive sight (minus the surrounding buildings and it would’ve been mieux) with all the mist over the water. On a pris un bateau jusqu’au mileu des chutes du Rhin; some tourists were prepared with rain ponchos, we were not (mais ce n’était pas grave).
Then it was le temps to commencer the journey home; with the GPS no longer in action, this had the potential to be disastrous. Heureusement, Simone’s phone worked and we used that to navigate our way back to l’Allemagne. On a vu three cars involved in accidents de la route in la Forêt-Noire (one of which looked like it had just decided to park facing the crash barrier) and shortly after, we stopped for tea. Chrissy et moi n’avions pas trop faim, so we opted for ice cream: best decision ever. First banana split of ma vie, and I’m sold.
Ce lundi, all lessons were annulés in honour of marking the terminales’ exams; this translated as a day off for me. It was not a very productive jour, largely centred around supermarket trips and several skype calls (nice to see you all, Abi, Natalie, Mum and Laurence!).
Le lendemain involved quelques cours, et bien sûr when discussing stereotypes with a class over lunchtime une élève giggled before telling me that Asians “have yellow skin”. Seems les Français are rather less PC than us brittaniques.
Hier, it was Simone’s last day en France (well, not technically but it was the last day we were seeing her)…c’était triste! We (c’est-à-dire, Simone, Chrissy, Adrienne, Julie et moi) had pizza (fait maison) followed by chocolat chaud that Julie had bought in Frankfurt, plus some “hobbits” (biscuits). Plus tard, we had a short wander around Colmar avant de dire “au revoir” (and it will be just that – “until next time”).
Aujourd’hui, I had one class ce matin (more April Fool’s entertainment); they had plus d’imagination than the BTS class when they invented their own April Fool’s hoaxes:
- “Newsflash: The Nutella recipe will be published online” (funnily enough, leur professeur knew exactly who had come up with this one!)
- “The Minister of Education has decided to change how the terminale students are examined” (including an interview with “Mr Minister”, trop drôle)
- “François Hollande has decided to cheer up the French people with rabbits to celebrate Easter. He wishes everyone a happy weekend.” (if only, that would be trop amusant!)
- “Yesterday, Monsieur Hollande met with his best friend Angela Merkel. Alsace has been sold to Germany for €3 billion. German is now the official language for Alsatians. We are in a crisis!” (sans doute, my favourite…mais j’espère that that never comes true!)
Ensuite, je suis allée à la boulangerie…to try the “la-pain au chocolat de Pâques” (get the pun?): c’était savoureuse, but le croissant chocolat-banane is still my preferred choice.
À la fin de la working day, I had another class. The Euro 1ère class were receiving their certificates for an exam and had une petite fête après (juice and biscuits). Le proviseur adjointe was there too and decided to choose that lesson to thank me for the year…at which point un élève said he had enjoyed “everything” that I had done for their class, trop mignon et ils vont me manquer. À la fin de l’heure we watched the classic April Fool’s video (see above)…one student even said “it could be a documentary to show us how spaghetti is really made” (I sincerely hope he didn’t really believe it!). I then ended up with trois cartons de jus and une boîte de (120) biscuits that were leftover!
Joyeuses Pâques tout le monde, et à plus!