Monday, July 4, 2011

Catching Up Part I: Europe

Le Jardin des Tuileries, Paris
     I'm home! I'm finally home! I'm back in Boston, and I am so happy. Slowly, I am getting over my jet lag, unpacking my bags, and getting out the cricks in my back from a 9 hour plane ride, an 18 hour (read: 18 hour) wait in one airport terminal, and then a 7 hour plane ride that landed me back Home. And now, I will actually cook! I cannot wait. But, before I cook, let me tell you a bit more about my travels:

     I know when I wrote before everything was very scattered. As you might remember, my itinerary was: Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Normandy, Paris, Bombay, and New Delhi. It seems so simple when I list it like that. Traveling was tons of fun, but food eating was the most fun of all. Food eating was even fun on my flight from Boston to Paris! Look at all my food! I am very proud of Air France for creating a meal that I actually scraped off of my plate...plastic tray thing. Rice salad with flaked tuna, egg noodles, beef stew, cheese, French bread, and an orange cake. Yum. Do you know what makes slightly dry cake better? Pouring a little bit of your orange juice onto it. Don't look at me funny, it elevated the  cake.

     I already told you a bit about my first days in Paris, at Sacre Coeur eating fondue et al. We also explored the Musee d'Orsay, went through Le Marais, wandered around St. Michel (and had pizza with the loveliest crust I have ever gotten to taste), saw Notre Dame, went to Shakespeare and Company (a really cute all English book store with a little bed upstairs for sleeping on), and ate many many crepes (generally Nutella Crepes...I just couldn't resist). 

Notre Dame
Shakespeare and Company Book Store
     And then from Paris, we took the train to Brussels! The land of waffles. Really good waffles, as I think I mentioned. Also, the land of much elaborate architecture, like the old guild buildings of Grand Place shown below. We spent three nights in Brussels exploring the city and finding out exactly when the night trams stopped running each night. But it was fun, and then we went on to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries before I got there. Fortunately, we were only there for one day and one night, so not too much of my life will go undocumented.
Grand Place, Brussels
     Hm, leaving Amsterdam. Dwelling on that particular day fills me with emotions that cannot be properly expressed First, that morning, my wallet got stolen, then we arrived at the train station to find out that the tickets we had pre-ordered could not be picked up in Amsterdam so we would have to buy new train tickets (at 130 euros each), then our train to Paris got delayed so it arrived only 40 minutes before our connecting train to Normandy from a different station, then we ran to one metro, then we caught a connection on another, then we ran through the station (literally from one end to the other of a giant station) huffing and panting and....half fainting on my part due to lack of sustenance...and then we got onto our Normandy train. Phewf. But then we got to eat crepes when we arrived in Normandy. And ham and cheese and egg crepes cannot help but make everything better.  

      And then we arrived at the farmhouse we were staying at in Normandy! This was a lovely basket of hazelnuts and walnuts left for us to eat. It is hard to describe ten days of pure relaxation. Every morning I would get up to drink a glass of chocolate milk (we had been brought milk and chocolate powder) with a sweet roll. Of course, morning could be at 7 am or at 4 pm depending on our moods, but I always had my breakfast nevertheless. 

The Kitchen
     There was a lot of sunbathing involved. A lot of grocery shopping, almost every day for fresh bread, and a lot of salad making. What else does one need to eat on such nice summer days? Just a bowl of pasta salad, or some bread with cheese and salami or Pork Rilletes (shredded pork in pork fat)...I want some now. Now. If only wishes were Pork Rilletes and fresh bread... 

     We also created an epic cheese plate. And ate it (slowly over the course of a few days, but that first go at it did account for a lot). 

     We went to the beach and lazed there, we lazed and read in the living room and the front yard and the back yard. And it was the best time ever. Sometimes, laying back and doing nothing but listen to your friends playing the guitar or read or write poetry is all you need. Now, during the year when all is stressful and I'm running around without pausing to take a breath, I will stop and think of Normandy, and maybe it will make me feel a little better.

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