Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Photos from France

So, today I type from an Italian keyboard. The proverbal finger reigns have been lifted as all the keys are in their English places. Although, I was kinda hoping for an Italian key that says "Fugetta Bouttit!. " In France, I was fighting the keyboard and lack of internet access. I have recieved so much praise from my faithful minnion readers. Michelle went even as far as to say that she looks forward to my blog as they "warm her winter mornings." I couldn't possibly take credit for global warming could I?

A lot has transpired over the last few days and it is a damn shame that I haven't been able to write about it. We flew from Dublin to Beavais, France last Tuesday night in typical Hohn fashion; no plan and little money. When I had booked the Beauvais tickets a couple of months ago, I was under the impression that it was in Paris. Wrong. It's actually 80 kilometers to the north. So in true form, I book the cheapest room I could find.

This little rats nest set us back about € 34, roughly 50 dollars. We shutteled down to Paris on a privately run charter for another € 13 per person and landed in Paris sans place to stay. That morning before departure, we had emailed another batch of people looking for a couch to crash on. This of course is in addition to the plethora of people we had contacted earlier to which we recieved the same response, "no."Also, ala Hohn tradition, I seem to run into some sort of stumbling block. France was in the midst of a public transportation strike. No metro, No bus. So to recap, this is our situation; no transportation, no place to stay, hauling heavy ass backpacks.

This is Colette's setup. Bread is pretty much standard here. So in order to fit in, and possibly to stave off starvation under an overpass, we rolled most days with baguette in tow.

We strolled into an internet cafe and to our lucky fortunes a young saint that goes by the name of Roman came to our aid. Roman, a first time couchsurfer, agreed to host us. So we walked a few miles and met up with him at his flat. Roman and his roomate Tarek, who I referred to as Derek for 80% of our stay, were amazing. Roman took us out for a walking tour, remember the public transportation is down in the city. We approximated we walked anywhere betwixt 10-15 miles that day but we managed to take in Notre Dame, The Louvre and The Eiffel Tower.

Sadly this was the only Eiffel Tower I had a pleasure of being part of this day

Notre Dame

For whatever reason, I don't like partaking in Mass but I enjoy the aestetic architecture that churches boast. Plus it was cold as shit this day and huddling in the warming shantty was quite refreshing. In retrospect, it may have been a confessional booth.

Imagine my extreme glee when I discovered that this statues genetials where just slightly taller than the top of my head.

After Paris, we made our way down to Annecy, France. I don't know a whole lot about Annecy other then the fact that our Couchsurfing friends Carole and Fred live there. We met Carole and Fred last April when we hosted them in Maui. The TGV train from Paris to Annecy travels at peak an astounding 187 mph. The entire trip took about 3.5 hrs and we were elated to see Carole and Fred at the station. Little did we know our hosts had a couple of days worth of festivities planned.

They first took us to a down town market. During the off peak parts of the year it runs only on Saturday while in the summer it runs 3 times a week and you can barely walk down the street because it is teeming with tourists. While it was cold as shit there were a startling number of people patronizing this event. For whatever reason, much to the displeasure of Colette's pig loving ways, it was a "Day of the pig." Which in English, I believe, translates to "Daie da' Americano." There was a pig cruising around with an X on his back. Guess his weight and you win him. If no one does, you get this ...

It seems like Porky pretty much loses every way you cut it.

Now this table wasn't used to execute disabled people. Although if it were used in the States for such a purpose, you be damn sure you would see hand rails on either side of that thing! The pigs are butchered on this table and the blood is collected in a bucket. Then the blood is added to water and spices where it is used to boil sausages. So then you get blood flavored sausages.

The French are amazingly enamoured with cheeses. The size of the cheese is a direct reflection of the size of the farmers operation. These bricks become very monsterous. I liken it to the jacked up trucks in Montana. The man above is quite satisfied with his manhood. While the vendor below is suspiciously overcompensating for something.

Fred guessed each of these discs of cheese to weigh about 100 pounds.

Here is a typical shot of Annecy. There is lots of water that flows through Annecy. Its archeticture mostly mimics that of the Italians who ruled this area for many years.

Annecy, France

Carole and Fred took us about 45 minutes by car to a small ski restort that was not open yet for the season for some snow shoeing.

A man kite boarding. This is drastically different from the kite boarding we saw on Maui

This is the view from the top. It was quite beautiful. We also had the pleasure of viewing Mount Vise (sp) which is roughly 15,000 ft in height.

I know this picture is blurry but it is very pertinent that I include it. The French are obsessed with Nutella and Crepes. Nutella is this chocalotte spread I am holding on my hand. They but it on fruit, bread, bannanas, and meat. Seriously, everything. The Crepes are like mini pancakes. Crepes taste a little sweeter then pancakes but are wafer thing. We are crowded around a Crepe Party Machine. You make 4 at a time so it goes very quickly. Anything can go on crepes such as fruit, Nutella, ham, goats cheese. It was quite an interesting conversation because the people on the other side of the table spoke a little English but were to nervous to use it. And of course, Colette and I are monolingual.

Who the hell let me live so much of my life before trying this little tasty gem!?! Wtf. This is called a Kebab. It's Turkish. It contains lamb, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes all nestled softly in a pita style bread and bridled in a healthy coat of Mayonaise.

By the way, we are in Rome. Look for a post within the next couple of days. Caio bitches!


Sara said...

Wait a minute, I thought you had given up mayonnaise? Sounds like you two are having fun.

Anonymous said...

It's about time you posted! I can't wait to read each post you write. Do you remember Chris' friend Martin, from elementry school? He was from Germany and he always ate that Nutella. I'm suprised you haven't seen that in the grocery store here. I always see it! As always, super interesting!

By the way, we're having Thanksgiving with your family on Thursday! Can't wait!


Kevin said...

dude, so cool reading your Eurotrip blog posts! question: when are you returning from said trip, and where are the two of your returning to? I have a friend who needs a night's stay in Maui around Jan. 8th. can you help me out?

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