Al and I recently spent a lazy Sunday afternoon wandering around the Esslingen Christmas market near Stuttgart. Continue reading
Al gets to go back to Paris this holiday season with my sister during her visit. Needless to say I’m uber jealous. I just booked the train and hotel for these two, and it appears as if they are just waiting for me to plan the entire thing. Talk about rubbing it in.Anyways, the Eiffel Tower is one of the coolest things I have ever seen lit up at night, and I can only imagine how cool it is at Christmas. Continue reading
I have to admit, since meeting and falling for Pat I’d been looking forward to “the proposal” with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Excitement at having that moment, just the two of us, the one you see in the movies and on TV where time stands still (to be honest, I continue to base most of my big life moments on SATC). Apprehension because …click to see my ring!
After some agonizing back and forth, the husband and I decided on traveling to France for his November break. It wasn’t as exciting a prospect as Barcelona (where my friends and many of his teammates coincidentally decided to go on the same weekend) but it had a special little place in our hearts. Almost exactly (3 days off) a year ago, we flew into Paris and Patrick proposed. We then proceeded to have an amazing time exploring that beautiful French city. This time, we set our sights on a less-traveled destination- Dijon.
With a car packed full of primal goodies and a few new CDs burned (yep the completely anonymous Steelers car doesn’t have an mp3 drive) we ventured out onto the open road Friday after work. We ate in the car, preferring to save our time and money for Dijon. Unfortunately, despite a forecast of nothing but sun, we drove through torrential rain the whole way there. Poor Patrick- we were finally traveling in a country with an acceptable speed limit – 130km – and he couldn’t even take advantage. It took us about 4 hours total. We checked into our hotel and decided to snuggle in for the night (also known as watching Downton Abbey- Heather, I now completely understand your situation last year!)
First thing Saturday morning we were up and at it. With a primal breakfast we were well equipped to explore the city. We had read about La Chouette, a trail that takes you through the city’s historic sites and many rave reviews of the Market. We decided to start with the Market and pick up the trail from there (little did we know we had walked along the trail from our hotel to the Market- would definitely recommend this hotel for convenience).
As we rounded the corner and saw many of the merchants setting out their wares for the day I was a bit uneasy. I don’t love pushy sellers in any sort of venue (flashback to our experience on the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris). To my surprise, it was not a pushy sort of crowd. Instead people were polite but reserved, it may have been the early morning air coupled with our completely native sounding Bonjour, but people barely took notice of us. Upon arriving at the main building of the market my jaw dropped to the floor. This market was like nothing I have seen before. I often brag about my hometown’s farmer’s market, and my love for Jean Talon Market in Montreal, but they have nothing on Dijon. In Dijon, you can buy all of your groceries at the market, anything you might need for the rest of the week (vegetables, fruits, fresh seafood, meat, fowl, preserves, cheese…for the non-primal folks fresh pasta, breads, pastries, candies), and many locals do. Not to mention the wine bar in the middle… I mean this is what we’re missing in Canada.
Following the owl trail we exited the main building and began our tour of the city. It was cool to see other couples lighting up when they found the big owls, and looking up to see the landmark. It wasn’t touristy like many cities we’ve traveled so far this year, it was predominately locals so catching the eye of the select tourists you came across was perfectly acceptable and even enjoyable.
At about 11am we were looking for a washroom break, and although the public pay toilets are probably acceptable I just can’t make myself use them. Thus we found a little cafe and settled in for a mid-morning break. I chose a Mocha (the very helpful French waiter could not fathom such a drink and was incredibly self-conscious when I took the first sip, lucky for both of us the high quality chocolate they use made for heaven in a glass) and the husband went all out and ordered a chocolate, banana crepe with whip cream, when in Rome right?
People-watching is one of our FAVOURITE hobbies (can you call it a hobby?). An enjoyable activity to do together (ok your own personal narrative about the life of Mr. X in the spandex yellow cycling suit and go) or solo (you should have seen these pants- I mean they were see-through!). Today, we got an extra special dose as there happened to be a huge protest in the square where we chose to break. Something to do with animals – horses specifically (I gather from the 6 or 7 small ponies people were leading around and the overabundance of riding gear people were wearing). Entertaining nonetheless.
Since it’s such a small city it didn’t take us long to follow the entire trail. WIth breaks for food, photo-ops and random detours (Museum of Fine Art- otherwise known as Pat and Al
attempting to look looking cultured) we still completed the trail in less than one full day. This destination is perfect for a weekend away.
We ventured over to the shopping street and browsed Maille, a very swanky mustard boutique downtown. If you’re visiting, don’t be intimated. I was pretty nervous to walk in, in my traveling clothes, but let me tell you it’s worth it! Patrick took the opportunity to taste all of the mustards on offer, and I spent my time deciding on the perfect size of my personal mustard canister. 19 euros later we had a beautiful travel memento from Dijon, and some very tasty mustard to look forward to!
In the afternoon we played French and bought brie, baguette, and red wine. Then snuggled in for a short siesta at the hotel.
In the evening we strolled the cobble-stoned streets and decided on a really cool restaurant for dinner. I had my heart set on Dr.Wine, however it was hosting a private party, so we tried out L’Edito instead. With books lining every available surface it felt cozy and comfortable. I chose the escargot, and the husband had a pizza. With a glass of Riesling to top us off it was a delicious dinner.
All in all a fabulous weekend away. I would suggest a visit to anyone in the area!
After a great last night with Lizzie and Greggs, they were up early and off to the airport. Al and I on the other hand still had one day left in Dublin before flying home. We chose to keep the day pretty low key, and just wander around the streets of Dublin. Brit took us on a wild goose chase looking for a milkshake bar and then her and Al did a little shopping, and I visited a few pubs to find beer glasses for my collection.
We ate lunch at a very cool pub. The walls were full of war memorbilia and photographs. We followed this up with some afternoon ice cream, and called it a day. Continue reading