Take one Canadian girl in les Alpes.
Add the ups & downs of living in France.
Cover with melted cheese...
Et voilà !

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

E & me {church}

last weekend, I've had that 
"Here Comes the Bride" music stuck in my head.

So I figured that we might as well have a church theme
for this week's E & me.

Ready to get going to the chapel?

Two very different churches, both quite lovely.
 Which one do you prefer?

And any guesses which is in Erin's hometown of Victoria
& which is here in Annecy?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Please disturb

Funny thing about the sign on our hotel door in Spain last weekend?

They forgot to use "ne pas" to make the French sentence negative!

It actually reads "please disturb"!!! 

I guess those Spanish are very friendly indeed!

P.S. Even though I know that "molestar
is actually Spanish for "disturb", it still creeps me out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Les Scènes du Week-end {21}

French friends + Spanish beer + tapas.
Sunny skies + cobblestones + nuns in bars.
Walking tour of old town + lunch on el patio + ice cream.
Beautiful church + nervous groom + gorgeous bride.
Amazing dinner + cheesy DJ + bed at 4:30 a.m.
= Excellent weekend in Spain.

view from our hotel room
Santiago de Compostella's famous cathedral
just one of the many lovely little streets in the old town
the symbol of the city can be found all over the place
inside the church where our friends got married
just minutes after saying "I do"
the reception was held in a gorgeous old monastery {now a fancy hotel}
us & the newly-weds
fountain in the lovely hotel garden
You know what?
We were in Spain for only three days 
but I managed to take 300 photos.
Guess that's what happens when you are excited 
about being in a beautiful new place
& attending your friends' gorgeous wedding!

I limit myself to ten photos in my weekend scene posts.
It's often hard to choose only ten!
I have so many more pictures of our few days in Spain to share...
not to mention lots I want to show you from our vacation in Brittany earlier this month.

Note to self:
Maybe stay in one place for just a little while 
so that you can edit up your photos
before taking another zillion shots of new & exciting stuff, ok?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Heck of a hailstorm

Yesterday I experienced an insane hailstorm.
It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.

I was at the Piscine des Marquisats,
Annecy's lovely outdoor pool
most of the afternoon.

I would swim for a bit,
go sit in the shade & read my book
& then get back in the water when I was feeling too hot again.

It was lovely.

Until about 6 p.m.
That was when I noticed some big black clouds forming
& decided to pack up & head home.

I hardly had time to put my bookmark in the novel I'm reading
before all heck broke loose.

The sky opened up,
the rain poured down,
& the wind whipped up.

I saw the brightest lightening flashes I've even seen
& heard absolutely deafening thunder.

It was at this point that the alarms went off on the pool deck
& a lifeguard armed with a megaphone 
ordered the few brave {foolish?} souls out of the water
& into the building.

And then the hail started.
Huge heavy hail.
I couldn't believe my eyes.

The storm lasted a good 10 or 15 minutes.
I waited inside until I was fairly sure it was safe to walk home.

Little did I know I should have brought my winter boots!
This is what covered the ground outside:

The road outside the pool was flooded:

It looked like Christmas in August at the park:

Nature's ice cubes were everywhere!

The town hall was flooded.
Firemen were busy inside
trying to pump some of the water out of the building.

Along the canal, I was astonished by the tree branches 
& the tons of leaves that had fallen down.
The huge puddles on the Paquier were pretty impressive too.
And I think this guy could have practically used his boat to get home.

I still can't believe what nature unleashed in such a short time.

You can see some more photos & a short video
over on the local newspaper's website here.

So it was very exciting around here.

Speaking of exciting,
we leave tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn
for a very quick weekend trip to Spain
to attend our friends' wedding.

I'll be back on Monday for a very Spanish
version of "Les Scènes du Week-end".


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

E & me {laundry}

It's washing day on E & me!

While Erin's busy hanging up cute little boys' dinosaur-themed shorts,
these days I'm often putting swimsuits & beach towels out to dry
after dips in the lake to try & beat this heat.

One good thing about this très chaud weather?
Things dry incredibly rapidement on our southern-facing balcony.
Even if I have to wait until the slightly-cooler time of 11 p.m. 
to handle going out there to take the laundry down!

I should stop complaining, though.
Because when winter comes, I'll surely miss the days
when I could put the drying rack out on the balcony 
instead of in the middle of the apartment
while everything takes a few days to dry.

France: rich in culture, cheese, castles...
but clothes dryers?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brittany: Cookie Central

So remember when I told you about our home base in Brittany

Well, there was one more great thing about Saint Michel Chef-Chef.

The town itself was pretty small.
 There was one main street with a bakery, a post office, a church 
& the local café/restaurant
{which seemed to specialize in mussels... & Aussie beer!}

But the most exciting thing by far?
museum/gift shop/outlet store.
You see, a baker based in Saint Michel Chef-Chef
at the beginning of the century starting producing yummy galettes
{basically, sugar cookies made with tons of butter... yum!}

His clever wife had the idea, back in 1905, 
to hit the beach & sell these delicious treats to the tourists
who were surely famished after breathing in all that sea air.

inside the boutique: looks like tourists are still pretty hungry these days
Of course 
we couldn't spend a couple weeks in Saint Michel Chef-Chef &
not hit up cookie central.

We watched a short film on the history of the biscuiterie,
looked at some old photos & cookie tins in display cases
& browsed all the products on the shelves.

You can still buy the original galettes,
although they've expanded a lot to include many other types of cookies
like madelines {my personal favourites... mmm!} 

As for the most surprising cookie in the boutique,
it was definitely this one:

If you're familiar with Australia's famous Tim Tams
you might wonder if these chocolate-filled cookies
are reason enough to cause an international incident.

Or maybe there's some kind of  
Brittany/Down Under alliance?

That would surely explain why on earth 
you could have a pint of Foster's 
alongside your moules-frites in Saint Michel Chef-Chef!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Les Scenes du Week-end {20}

It was very hot here this weekend.
Très très chaud.
 The temperature rarely went below 30 degrees C, even at night.

I'm not a fan of such weather.

I know I should be enjoying these last few weeks of real summer,
but it's hard for me to not be cranky
when I'm feeling sweaty,
just too hot.

I've been missing Brittany & its cool ocean
& dreaming of crisp autumn weather.

But you know what?
I really shouldn't complain.
You see, I live in a beautiful part of the world,
with lots of lovely places to swim nearby.

So this weekend was all about the water 
{the lake on Saturday, the river on Sunday}
the shade
my new best friend, the Evian water spritzer!

home-made peach crisp
my addiction
I think whoever owns this rowboat needs to lend it to me
perfect lake-side reading material {thanks, Erin!}
check out my new sunglasses... or the peoples' legs behind me!
thank goodness sandwiches don't require cooking
Annecy's most famous restaurant/tour boat
the last of the tomatoes from our balcony garden {it was even too hot for them!}
down by the river
nerdy clock showing the temperature in our kitchen... at bedtime

It's supposed to continue to be hot most of this week.
I have one more week of vacation, so
until it decides to be less than 30 degrees, 
my plans look something like this:

In the morning, 
standard-transmission driving lessons at the auto-école {eek!!}
Lunch of cold stuff, eaten in front of the fan.
Afternoon at the lake, in the shade with my book.
Evening on our balcony.

Oh & doing laundry & a little packing before next weekend,
when we will attend a friends' wedding
far from Annecy.
I'd love to tell you they're getting hitched
in Iceland or Denmark or Scotland.

Unfortunately that would be a lie.

You know where they're getting married?
In Spain.
Oh woe is me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brittany: Fishing

I usually take a break from blogging over the weekend.
But you know what?
I have so many photos & stories to share with you 
about our time in Brittany
that I figured I may as well post on Saturday!

As you saw yesterday, we stayed in Saint Michel Chef-Chef, 
just a hop, a skip & a jump from the beach.

Although I took lots of pictures of the waves, 
the seagulls & the sand,
I was especially enamoured with these fishing huts.
There was something so charming about them.

Imagine my excitement when I saw some real-life fishermen types
(one complete with a yellow rainslicker!)
climbing up into one of the huts.

Those weren't the only people we saw fishing down at our local beach.
In fact, everybody seemed to be at it.

What were they all looking at, you wonder?


We didn't want to be left out.
So guess what we did?
Yep, went fishing.  
Or mussel-ing.  Whatever.

We spent several hours of a rainy & windy afternoon
down at the beach during low-tide,
collecting mussels,
scraping the barnacles off them
& chucking them into a bucket.

It was great.
But even better?

The meal FQ made that night.

He cooked our mussels in a very simple cider sauce
(leaving plenty in the bottle for us to drink, of course!)
Dinner was delicious.
All our hard work 
(by which I mean wind-burned cheeks 
& barnacle scrapes on our fingers!) 
was so worth it.

Our mussel day was one of my favourite parts of our vacation.

Cheers to le chef !

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brittany: Saint Michel Chef-Chef

Ready to head to Brittany?
On y va!

If you've been reading this blog for a little while,
because we had signed up to a home exchange site, Trocmaison.

Well, shortly after creating our profile, we lucked out 
& quickly agreed to exchange our apartment in Annecy
for the beach house belonging to a couple of teachers
on France's Atlantic coast.

I'll be honest: at first, I figured that the best part of the exchange
would surely be the incredibly catchy name 
of the seaside village we'd be in:
Saint Michel Chef-Chef.
C'est impossible to tire of saying that name.  
Just try!
Keep saying it!
Another dozen times!

welcome to town

But once we arrived, 
I saw that our little beach-side abode was small, comfy & charming.
home sweet home exchange

living room/dining room/kitchen all in one!

But the best part? 
In less than five minutes, we could walk to this:

And see this:

And beach-comb to our hearts' delight like this:
And gaze upon this:

As you can tell from the photos, it wasn't always sunny & warm.
In fact, most days we wore our windbreakers & hiking boots
& we got rained on quite often.

But you know what?
That's Brittany & I'm a West Coast girl.
It was just so wonderful to be so close to the ocean again.

No reason to be crabby about the weather!
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