Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année

Ok I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted…my bad, I apologize. My only excuse is that I have been traveling for the last few weeks and also holiday season.

I am now back on that 12 hour work week grind after a wonderful Christmas break which included travels to 3 new countries, an extended French Christmas celebration and visits from my friend, Stephen, my mom and my aunt. I’m not even sure where to begin recapping the last few weeks so I’ll just go in order. This post is going to focus on what I/we did whereas some future posts will focus on the cities we visited more specifically. Bear with me.

First, Stephen made it to Grenoble the 15th of December. During the first few days of his visit, I showed him around the city and we did some hikes around the city. I think we would both agree that the highlight of his time in Grenoble was our failed attempt at skiing at Chamrousse. We borrowed a bunch of ski gear and took a bus to the resort only to find out that there was one ski run open and it was “difficile.” Considering neither of us have skied in quite some time, we weren’t too optimistic about our abilities and decided to hike instead. While we were both bummed that the slopes were no longer in the cards for the day, the hike, ending with a mountaintop hot cocoa, was wonderful.

After a few days in Grenoble, we headed to Turin and then Milan, Italy where we enjoyed wonderful food, beautiful architecture, and an especially pleasant night of simultaneous food poisoning 🙂 Brutal.

From Grenoble, I headed to Nantes to meet Yann and his family. For those of you who don’t know, Yann used to work as a french TA at Normandale, and he lived with our family at the time. He was 23 then, and I was 7. I spent a busy few days bopping around from one family gathering to another and eating 7 course Christmas meals with Yann, Cecile, and their adorable 3 year old son, Armand. Some French Christmas traditions include eating “Bûche de Noël” for dessert (basically a chocolate cake in the form of a log) and putting a slipper next to the Christmas tree for Père Noël to come fill up with gifts. Also, I know a 7 course meal sounds excessive, but the courses were fairly small and we took time in between to converse and even play games. I loved it!

Last but certainly not least leg of the voyage was with Amers (mom) and Bethy (aunt). I met them in Lyon and from there we headed directly for Porto, Portugal. It was a long day of traveling so when we arrived at our rather petit and somewhat cold Airbnb, we (mostly Amers) were a little less than thrilled. However, we were very happy to be together so we got over it pretty quickly. The small Airbnb was thankfully not indicative of the rest of our trip. Porto turned out to be an absolute gem, and we had a wonderful roadtrip along the northern coast of Spain with stops in Santiago de Compostela, Ribadesella and San Sebastian (more details to come). We rang in the New Year at our hotel in San Sebastian while enjoying some Spanish wine and the view of fireworks from our window.

After our roadtrip, we returned to Grenoble where I was finally able to show off my stomping grounds. I took my mom and aunt up to the Bastille, we ate at my favorite cafe, Pain et Cie, did some shopping at Decathlon, and in typical Amers fashion, they gave my room a bit of a makeover 🙂 It was nice to finally assure them that I’m better than fine over here in France with great roommates, friends, and coworkers as well as a nice apartment.

On Friday the 26th we headed to Lyon because their flight left from there on the 27th. Lyon is a beautiful city that I will definitely need to go back to for a full weekend visit sometime. Despite the cancellation of their flight from Lyon to Amsterdam where they were supposed to connect to Minneapolis, and only after figuring out ourselves how they could get to MN (thanks Delta), Amers and Bethy made it home safe and sound.

It was a wonderful few weeks, and now I am ready and happy to be back in a routine. I will try to get my blog posts up to date quickly!

Hope all is well across the pond! Until next time 🙂

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