March 28, 2011

Un petit voyage en France

Another Monday already?! Where does the weekend go?

I first want to thank all of you who linked up to the Storytellers Blog Hop! What a great turn out! And I found some great new reads, re-read some classic posts, and enjoyed hopping around each site. So I hope you did too :) And if you missed out on linking up, you can still have a good chance to read up on some new blogs. Check out the button that links to the hop on the right side. It'll be there all month :)

With hockey playoffs still dragging on (let's see how many times I say that in the next month) the boys had Friday, Saturday and Sunday free. A weekend without practices, games or anything, unheard of! Especially in playoffs.

So instead of spending quality time with the bunnies and goaties, which was hard to turn down, the hubs and I figured we would go visit a country we had never been to.

I have to admit it is pretty embarrassing that we hadn't been to France before this past weekend. Living in Germany for three seasons now, you would think that we would have at least wandered over there once or twice before. But nope, and that is ok, we have seen many other places, so France was just waiting its turn. 

A mini vacation to the Alsace region brought along with it many iconic things that France is known for. There was no lacking in vineyards, mild and fruity wines, strong but delicious cheeses, and beautiful and distinct architecture.

Strasbourg was our first stop, and the weather could not have been more beautiful. With temperatures in the upper 70s and an abundant spring sun, this little Texas girl was in heaven. 

The city is a perfect mix of German and French culture. It has the structure and order of German lifestyle combined with the laissez-faire attitude of France.

We wandered the streets of Petite-France, a small but well known section of Strasbourg. Despite many wars and destruction that the city has seen, the medieval area of Petite-France has been maintained to this day. (Still think it is funny they have a Little France in France. You think they have Chinatowns in China?!)

We walked along the Ill River and through the windy streets, and were towered by the medieval houses crisscrossed in black and white timber-framed style. Literally just a hop, skip and a jump from the German border, yet it was new and different and we felt as if we were in a whole 'nother world.
Of course, as we walked through the town, I didn't comment on historical style of the buildings or the bridges, didn't relate it to the back and forth passing of the German and French reign. I just kept thinking "Holy cow, this looks like a street from Beauty and the Beast!". What a well rounded, cultured gal I am, haha. 

We eventually stumbled upon the last cafe to have sun gracing it's terrace. Somehow snagged a seat, our aggressive table snagging being attributed to our time in Germany. Thank you, Germans, for that. We sipped on wine, tried the local cheeses and basked in the warm sun. It was beautiful!

The area of Alsace is apparently known for its Rieslings and Munster cheese, among many other things. I already knew I liked Riesling, so I was just fine trying as much of that delicious goodness as they would pawn off on me. But Munster??...I wasn't sold on that stinkiness. 

Mmmm Mmmm Munster??? (source)

Let's be honest, Munster cheese has a reputation that precedes itself. It is stinky, it 'matures' in damp cellars for five weeks to up to 2-3 months. That is a loooot of aging, which makes is small kind of like feet. Really making this sound appetizing, right?!

But it is delicious! I can't explain how it can smell so putrid yet taste so yummy, but it does.

So as the sun set on that evening, we watched as swans flew past us*, gracefully gliding over the river and enjoyed the mild wine and strong cheese. It was one of those moments that I will savor for a lifetime.

For now, I'll stop here and tomorrow go into our wine tasting afternoon along the Tour de Vins de Alsace. Gosh, we sound so fancy pants!

*Ok yes, swans really did fly past us and along the river. As the first one was drawing near, I so eloquently said "Wow, that is the biggest darn Seagull I have ever seen!". It wasn't until it was right on top of us that I noticed the long neck. You can take the girl out of Texas...
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  1. Munster and a Reisling sounds delicious to me. Glad you had fun in France. I only visited Paris and I hated it. The people there were so rude and generally grouchy compared to the friendliness that was Italy.

  2. I am so glad you got out and saw some warm weather and sunshine. Looks like a beautiful place. Still laughing on how you turned a swan into a seagull, and how many glasses of wine did you have? I can't wait to see what happens when the real wine tasting begins, YeeHaw!

  3. so fun!! mmmm i <3 riesling and i <3 cheese! ive never tried munster either but i might reconsider now that u say it's actually good!

    this is exactly why i want to go to europe ... you can take a little drive and be in another country! so fun!! planning on going this summer and i can't wait!

    glad you had such a fun weekend

    - kim

    ps - i would have thought of beauty & the beast too!!

  4. Sounds like a lovely week-end; definitely right up my alley, enjoying Wine & Cheese in some sidewalk cafe.

    My hubs was in Paris yearrrrs ago, hated it, much preferred Italy (why not, he's Italian!) and Spain. Same with our oldest daughter when she travelled across the big pond. First stop was Paris, she couldn't wait to leave and head in another direction.

    Good to see you back, have a lovely week ahead! I'm off to fight with Blogger and see why my posted pics have been disappearing..:((


  5. Ah, munster cheese. But what's better than that? Gruyere. Pair that with your Riesling and you've got your posh PB&J.

  6. @Jordan - people in this area were soo nice! I was afraid, especially with the language barrier, but we were pleasantly surprised!
    @Wendy - haha, less than one! It just looked really different from far away. It wasn't until it was practically on us that we could see the long beautiful neck, haha.
    @kimberly - you really can't go wrong with wine and cheese, can ya?! You should definitely try, just once at least. We are pretty dang lucky that we are so close to everything :)
    @Patty - Paris might have been another thing, but this area we were in (about 4 hours SE of Paris) was nice. I would pick it over Italy for sure! It really was a great weekend. Good luck with the blog! Blach!
    @Mollie - you got it!! I will have to try for sure. I am not too knowledgeable about cheese, so thanks for the tip! haha

  7. Jealous! I've always wanted to visit France - it's on my "To Do" list. However... I refuse to go until I can at least speak the language enough to communicate the basics. "FEED ME!" "BATHROOM" "IS THAT ON SALE?" & "NO CILANTRO!" I don't know if they put cilantro in French cuisine - but one can never be too cautious when it comes to the Devil Weed... :D

    I'm happy ya'll had a good weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Storytellers Hop again. So fun! Tell Hubs I wish him and his team much luck in the playoffs!

    Have a great week Tex!


  8. Sounds like a fabulous little getaway, AND in the midst of playoffs, what a treat!

    I have a love of stinky cheese...disgusting and delicious at the same time :) But really, cheese and wine in France? Doesn't get much better than that!

  9. I just found you through the All Week blog hop, and I'm glad I did! So many beautiful photos! After getting done reading your "Whirlwind" section (reality show indeed) I was already hooked.

    My brother and his girlfriend traveled to Eurpope for 3 months and they can't stop talking about going back. France was one of their favorite places. I'm glad you had a little getaway in the mist of the playoffs. :)

    I'll be back here! Aloha! :)

  10. Oh....and I wouldn't have been brave enough to try the stinky nose goes into hiding at the very words of "stinky cheese".

  11. I'm so jealous!! I'm dying to go to Spain & France. (French was my minor in college). So I had to learn about various cities, culture, as well as the language.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great pics. Riesling is great. Munster cheese is divine.

  12. "The biggest seagull" Bahahahaha! Very pretty pics--good for you for getting out and exploring the culture :D

  13. Love that you show-cased Alsace. My French NATO neighbor is from Alsace. My girls will love to hear that where Mrs. F. comes from looks like Beauty and the Beast. They will especially love the pictures. Thanks for sharing your travels :)

  14. @Yotes - haha, you are too funny. Devil's Weed!?! I actually love the stuff :) I guess it is a good saying to have in any language. And you are right, probably the only draw back of the weekend was not speaking the language.
    @Traveling - no kidding, unheard of! It was, in some strange was, disgusting and delish at the same time. Don't know how they do that?!
    @Katie - hey Katie, how nice are you?! Thanks for stopping by and the sweet comment. I can't wait to check out your site too. Stinky cheese doesn't sound very good, but you have to trust me, it was! :)
    @Mac - thanks! With the sun setting like that, they turned out pretty neat!
    @Lala - could have used you this weekend with those language skills. The couple of years the hubs had in elementary didn't get us very far :) Glad you liked!
    @TriGirl - haha, yep, I can't deny it. I thought it was!
    @Miko - haha, it was such a beautiful region with nice people. Plus the closest to us, an easy decision, haha. Aw, I am glad they will like it then, you are too sweet :)

  15. What a great get-a-way! I have been there before myself, and loved the area. We actually walked- yes walked- from there to Germany. The people that we talked to knew little english and told us that the bridge was just 4 miles away. This was a major lie! It was a great adventure, I am glad you had a fantastic one too!

  16. You really know how to enjoy your weekends, my weekend was cleaning and ironing, so sad!!
    It's also funny how Strasbourg sounds absolutely not french at all, right?

  17. Beauty and the Beast- HA! I laughed so hard when I read that. Hilarious, as usual! I agree, it does look like a street out of the movie;-) Great pictures!

  18. What an amazing weekend! I've lived in Arizona for almost 10 years now and we still haven't taken a trip to the Grand Canyon! I have been there before when my parents took me there!

    Munster Cheese is the best! I used to take chunks and dip it in spaghetti sauce!! Obviously before my no-fun diet!

    Marcy @ Life's Gristle

  19. I'm a Texas girl moving to Karlsruhe Germany this summer, it's just 15 mm from the French border near Strasbourg. Love hearing about Texan living in Germany and enjoying it, thanks for sharing!

  20. @Whity - yeah, it was close, but not THAT close. That must have been some adventure! :) Haha. Glad you enjoyed your time there too!
    @Patti - ohhh, you wild woman :) Most of the places right around Strasbourg had German names. Since the town got passed back and forth between the two countries, I guess the German stuck!
    @Shalyn - haha, see, I knew someone else would agree with me :) It does look like a movie set!
    @Marcy - Haha, it is funny when things are so close they don't feel as special. I totally get that. OHHH, that sounds so good. I might have to try that :)
    @Ifs - too cool! You will have an amazing time there :) It is so beautiful!!

  21. Will you adopt me, so I can go on these trips too?!

  22. So glad to know that you had an amazing weekend!! We do have a little India in India :| Then again, we're pretty crazy too! :P

  23. Absolutely gorgeous pics and what perfect timing to go. Loved that you guys took a break for a mini romantic the chinatown in china-er little france!-that was hilarious! Happy Monday

  24. WOW Fancy Pants, looks like you guys had an amazing time! You are incredibly beautiful btw, that picture of you is amazing (and now I kinda hate you : P)

  25. @Marjory - if you can fit in the suitcase, you can come! haha.
    @Apfel - that is pretty funny that they have a little India in India. Still weird to me! :)
    @Morgan - It was perfect timing. I just wish everyday could be like that from now on. So ready for summer! Happy Monday to you too!!
    @An Irish - haha, well, I like to pretend that I am fancy pants, we all know that really isn't the case ;) Aw, thank you! That is really sweet of you to say. I have a couple of bad ones I could post (who am I kidding, tons of bad ones). Is that better!?! haha

  26. LOL umm....only slightly better. Next time post all the crappy ones of yourself to make me feel better. Ok, just kidding. You're gorgeous, I bet you don't have one crappy picture : )

  27. WOW, how exciting. I would love to visit France. Thanks for the amazing pics Ÿ

  28. It looks like you had a spectacular visit to Strasbourg. You couldn't have asked for better weather! I need to go back to Strasbourg as I only spent a little time driving through.

    Thanks for sharing. It looks and is beautiful.

  29. France is sooo nice I love it! If u have a chance u should go visit down south its just amazing! Seagull..haha u are att funny lady:))

  30. @An Irish - Ok, I will find one just for you :) Too funny girl.
    @Diane - well you are welcome, lol :)
    @Debbie - it was so nice, the weather really was perfect! I want to go back again, hopefully next season!
    @Mrs K - I would LOVE to go down south! I have heard it is gorgeous down there. One day, haha

  31. nice blog/post!

  32. The first rule in eating Munster or any other pongy cheese is HOLD YOUR NOSE phew. Strasbourg looks such a beautifully tranquil wee city considering it's brutal history, It has changed hands between Germany and France countless times over the centuries. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

  33. Looks like you had such a fabulous time in France! Isn't it such a gorgeous country? I just adore reading your blog as I can relate to to many of your stories. Wish you lived closer so we could hang out!

  34. @Toto - well thanks!
    @Ryan - haha, ok next time I will hold my nose. Yeah, I tried not to get into or think about the brutal history. I just decided to enjoy it like it is now. But holy, has it been through a lot!
    @Antoinette - so beautiful! That is so sweet of you to say! I wish we lived closer too, I think we could have a great time over here :)

  35. Look amazing! So glad you guys were able to get a way for a few days and take a little time to yourselves. I miss traveling like that, simple and light. Now it seems we've got a million bags, a car seat, a stroller. Should have seen me trekking through Venice! What a sight. I'll be updating our doc soon ... chaos with unpacking, new job, etc. BLAH!

  36. What a Peaceful place to live! It reminds me so much of Movie sets and what not! I cant wait to travel there!

  37. @HW - haha, I better savor it while we can then. I bet ya'll were hilarious through Venice! No worry on the rush, you get settled in!
    @Soaring - I kept thinking that we were on a movie set for sure! Beautiful, and if you go there, you will really love it!

  38. How wonderful! Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing them :)

  39. Looks like you had loads of fun. Had a little snigger at the seagull/swan realisation ... :0)

    Just popping by from the Tasty Tuesday blog hop and am following, great blog!

    Shirl x

  40. Yum! I love France! And cheese! What fun!


Whoomp, there it is!