Monday, June 30, 2014

Jour 4 Nice: TGV & Hotel Nice Excelsior

Onward to the next city! Nice (pronounced "neese") is another city I learned about in French class. We all kept calling it 'nice' (as in the opposite of naughty) until our teacher corrected us. Madame Foster wasn't exactly the strictest of instructors so I think several of us continued to call it 'nice' (again, as in the opposite of naughty) despite the reprimand.
In order to get to Nice from Annecy, we had to drive back to Lyon, return our rental car, hop on a direct train to Marseille and then hop on a second train to Nice. We probably threw five or six hours into travel that day, but it was a good kind of travel. The drive was leisurely and we chatted each other up pretty much the whole way. The only time we were silent was when we were stuffing our faces with leftover pain, jambon de pays, et fromage.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Les Églises & Château D'Annecy

After our picnic, we actually went back to our hotel for a quick nap. When we got up, we decided to explore a bit more of the town, check out some churches and the château.
Our hotel gave us a little paper map with a bunch of sights and monuments marked up so we used that to take ourselves on a self-guided tour of the town. Beyond the Palais de L'Isle and the Alps, I honestly didn't know much about Annecy. Plus, all of the travel blogs I read prior to my visit emphasized those two sights mostly and not much else anyway. No biggie though; the town was so small, we were able to see everything in a span of a few hours anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Lac D'Annecy

If I could force you to listen to a soundtrack as you read this next post, it would be some cheesy French accordion music (like the stuff I threw into my video blog) and some classy Edith Piaf. We had a picnic of bread, cheese, and ham next to a lake with a view of the Alps, swans came swimming up to us, and there were baby ducks everywhere. Is it just me? Don't you think that scenario deserves a super Frenchie soundtrack?
So in my last blog post, I left you guys as we were heading into the park. There are several lovely grassy areas surrounding the lake. We saw girls sunbathing, kids playing frisbee, dogs taking a dip, and like us, there were people picnicking. The front desk at our hotel pointed out a spot that he said had lovely views so we headed in that direction (Parc Charles Bosson) to enjoy our picnic lunch.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Old Town Market & Palais de L'Isle

Before we even made it to Annecy, we had decided to have ourselves a little picnic. So, when we got to the town, we headed straight to the Old Town Market to pick up some delicious bread, delicious cheese, and delicious stretchy ham. Yeah, I refer to jambon de pays as stretchy ham.
There are random markets sprinkled throughout the town but the Old Town Market's probably the best and most bustle-y. I believe it's open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 7AM to 1PM. And of course, we were there on Sunday. We got to the market about 45 minutes before it was supposed to close so by the time we made our rounds, a few stalls were starting to lower their prices just to get rid of some of their fare which was great for us.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Road Trip & Hotel Alexandra

The first time I saw Annecy (pronounced "ahn-see") was in my French textbook in junior high. I saw the classic canal shot in front of the former prison and I was smitten. I promised myself I would go there someday and I kept my promise. It took me 15 years but I made it happen!
I decided that renting a car would be the simplest and most economical way to make our way over to that quaint little town. You can certainly take a train but when we looked it up, it was about €25 each way and with four of us, it would've been €200 round trip. The rental car (via Sixt) was around €100 for the day. We hadn't booked a GPS but we all thought it would be a good idea to get one so when we mentioned it to the sweet girl at the counter, she said she could either give us a GPS for €10 or she could upgrade us to a bigger car with a built in GPS and it was an automatic for €25 more. We figured eh, why not? Even though I drive stick, we thought it might be a safe move to go with the easier car since we were in a brand new environment anymore and we went with the upgrade.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jour 2 Lyon: Fresque Des Lyonnais

One of the cutest things you can do while you're in Lyon is to visit the cutest mural ever, the Fresque Des Lyonnais.
The mural was just a short walk across the Saône. We enjoyed the lovely day and the bridges and views on our stroll.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jour 2 Lyon: Basilisque Notre Dame de Fourvière

I'm so happy to be posting about Basilisque Notre Dame de Fourvière! It was such a fun sight in all aspects. It was fun getting there, it was fun looking at the outside, it was fun looking at the inside, and the views. Oh gosh, the views. The Lyon title photo that I keep using is from up there, you know.
Notre Dame de Fourvière is way up on a hill, basically the highest point in the city. You can get there on foot but we chose to use our 1-jour transport passes to hop on the funicular. FUNicular! See? So much fun on this day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Jour 2 Lyon: Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

One of the nicest things about visiting Europe is the churches. Even if you aren't a religious person, you can't deny the beauty and impressiveness of these structures that have been around for centuries. America's just full of new stuff. Even the old stuff is pretty new, especially compared to the old stuff in Europe so I'm just really excited about European architecture in general.
After stuffing our faces at Marché Saint Antoine, we headed across the River Saône. It was maybe a five minute leisurely stroll before we arrived at Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jour 2 Lyon: Marché Saint Antoine

We had one full day in Lyon and we packed it full of goodies so I'm going to split up the sights into a few different posts. Today's post is all about Marché Saint Antoine and it might be my favorite bit of the whole trip. I mean, okay, we saw a lot of different amazing things but this was my first experience at a genuine French market and the memory is just burned into my brain. The colors, the smells, the haggling, the free samples, the hustle, the bustle, every inch of that market was superb. This is an incredibly photo-heavy post. You've been warned!
The closest I've ever been to this sort of market experience is probably the Farmer's Market in Ithaca. It's a ton of fun and had I been travel blogging back in college, it certainly would have deserved an extensive post. Marché Saint Antoine is so much better because it's open all year and every day of the week except Monday. Can't you just imagine living in this adorable town, waking up and heading to the market to pick up the freshest ingredients for the day's meals? That's my fantasy life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jour 1 Lyon: TGV & Hotel Mercure

Here I am to finally share some meaty goodness from my most recent vacation. Today's post is just ever so slightly boring just because it's got mostly logistics stirred in with a hotel review but hey, if you're looking to do a similar trip, you might learn a thing or two. By the way, if you were wondering or questioning yourself in the slightest, it's pronounced, "lee-ohn" with just the slightest hint that there's even an 'n' at the end of the word.
So on Thursday evening, we headed to the airport around 9PM for our almost midnight flight. Our bags were impeccably packed (because that's how we roll).

Monday, June 09, 2014

Holiday en France Video Blog

Ladies and gents, it's the moment I've been waiting for! I'm finally starting to blog about my trip to France! If you can't tell, I'm pretty excited.

It was rough going for a bit because as soon as I got back from holiday, I had to unpack and repack my bags to head back out to North Dakota. I did my best to sort through my own photos from my Mac before I had to hop on a plane so I wouldn't have to lug a second laptop with me (because I've got a Mac as my personal comp and a PC as my work comp). Plus, I also had a stack of photos from my cousin and her husband to sort through once they'd gotten back from Ireland (which is where they headed while my sister and I stayed in Paris). Then, once I'd arrived in ND, I realized I'd left my laptop charger back at the office so that sucked. It arrived a day later via UPS (thanks to our lovely admin) but by then, work was busy enough to make me pass out as soon as I got back to my hotel and if you didn't know, it's pretty difficult to blog while you're asleep.

Luckily, because I was so freakin' neurotic and crazy and intense about getting my sh*t together before I flew out west, I'd whipped together a little video from our trip. I'm not the best videographer or editor but honestly, I'm improving and I'm actually pretty proud of this one - both the footage and the editing. It's on the longer side (fifteen friggin' minutes) and I don't know how interesting it will be to other viewers, but both my sister and I had a lot of fun watching it because it reminded us of the fun trip we'd just experienced. Hopefully you don't find it too boring.

So, before I get into meaty posts packed with photos and words, here it is in motion. Please enjoy!

Oh, and for your convenience, here's a little map with most of the landmarks and sights and restaurants we visited. There are a few extra restaurants listed too, which might be helpful if the ones I visited are booked up or maybe no longer in existence by the time you read this entry.

FYI, I've also started posting some French food-related entries over on my food blog as well, if you're interested.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my trip to TRNP! Like I mentioned a few days ago in my first post, I took so many pictures and that's why I've split the trip into two blog entries. I share two new animal encounters and some other cool stuff so scroll down for more!
I didn't see wild horses running across the pastures, unfortunately, but I did catch this little guy all by his lonesome self. Wild horses look weird to me. I'm not that familiar with horses but I thought he looked kind of skinny but sort of muscular but he also has that weird potbelly thing going on. I don't know! Is he healthy?
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