Hello from Paris (again), and happy Thinking Out Loud Thursday! I meant to update you on my weekend adventures a little closer to the weekend, but I was still focused on settling in, so that did not happen. But that just means there’s more to talk to you about (and show you!) today, so let’s get down to it.
1.) On Friday morning, earlier than most people like to get moving around here (7:30), we boarded a bus to the Loire Valley.
It was on that bus trip I realized that the difference between traveling with people my own age (now) and with older people (my Britain & Ireland tour) is what they do on a bus ride. Sleep is universal, but if not asleep, college students then put in their headphones, while older people converse with one another. I caught up on a lot of podcasts that day, so I’m not complaining.
2.) Roughly two and a half hours later (oof), we ended up at Blois Castle. A lot of French kings liked to spend time there, and it has sections from a bunch of different centuries because they kept adding on. That said, it’s pretty small and it could be more impressive.
Except I do like that staircase.
3.) Then we walked to a nearby nice restaurant for a lengthy lunch. Oh man. I deeply wished I was a vegetarian for that lunch because the vegetarians got a nice salad appetizer, and the rest of us got a big slice of foie gras, and because they have me down as gluten-free, I didn’t get bread with it. Which makes sense, but…
Guys. First, I have some ethical issues with foie gras. I know those exist with pretty much all meat, and those are thoughts for another time, but to make foie gras, you literally have to treat the animal badly. Second, it is basically pure fat and without anything to eat it on, it was quite repulsive. Like eating a brick of softened butter that tastes worse. Yes, I know. Delicacy. Trying new things. I’m all for tasting new things, but not for making them most of my meal (course two was a bowl of sautéed vegetables, so that was good) when I am thoroughly nauseated by both the concept and the reality. So. Never again.
I will say that they crushed dessert. I’m not usually one for calling fruit dessert, as much as I like it, but super thinly sliced pineapple topped with passionfruit syrup and sorbet… totally passed as dessert.
4.) After lunch, it was off to castle number two for the day at Chambord. This one was much prettier and I wish I had more pictures, but honestly, we went on an hour and a half tour where the very enthusiastic guide basically told us what century all the furniture was from and apologized for not having the originals. We did get to stand in the same room where an assassination happened, so that was pretty cool.
Notable thing about this castle: it’s super asymmetrical. They wanted it to look like a city skyline, and it kinda does.
5.) On Saturday, I went to the Louvre. It was insanely impressive, but also huge and overwhelming because you can’t see everything.
If you go to the Louvre and want to feel like you saw the right stuff (or some particular theme of stuff), I highly recommend going to the website and looking for a pre-planned trail. It gives you good directions to make sure you get to everything on the trail, as well as some background on the pieces you see. I pulled it up on my phone and followed one that was entitled “Masterpieces of the museum, In search of the beautiful ideal”. It took me around an hour and a half and I saw the famous pieces I’d heard of, plus the works around them. I could have stayed longer, but I was hungry and had some work I wanted to do.
6.) I found really good gluten-free bread and a GF cookie at Maison Kayser near the Louvre. I plan on trying more restaurants and GF bakeries (and occasionally non-GF ones), but this cookie was thicker than my fingers and sooo buttery and delicious that I kinda also just want to go back for more.
7.) Taking four-plus years of Spanish makes learning French a little rough. Everything is spelled so similarly and said so differently. I can kinda read, but talking and listening are not so fun. I get by with a lot of, “Bonjour! Merci! Au revoir!” Plus smiling and nodding.
8.) I have no idea how I did homework in high school. How does one go from being in class for 7 hours to doing homework? I’ve grown used to a couple hours of class a day and then not having to do much work that night because I wouldn’t have class till a few days later… or because I had done my work on the weekend. Here, I use my weekend for more fun things, so I actually have to work on days when I have class. On Tuesday, I even had to do some work on a day when I’d taken a midterm.
I know. TRAGEDY.
My current solution is to work first thing in the morning, before I’m tired of school. I got more done in an hour yesterday morning than in six hours the evening before, so I’d say it’s a pretty good plan. Then, my afternoons can be for fun things and rest.
9.) Speaking of fun things, my trips are all planned out now! I was having trouble focusing with everything all up in the air, and I figured the cheapest prices would be now, so I finalized stuff on Tuesday. This weekend, I’m going to San Sebastian to meet up with a high school friend who’s studying abroad in Spain. Next weekend, I’m going to Milan. In mid-November, I’m going to the Swiss Alps + Zurich. And Thanksgiving weekend, I’m going to Athens. I’m actually jealous of my future self.
10.) And now I want to leave you with some of my favorite recipes + reads from the week:
- Perfect fall dessert, y’all. –> Impossibly Easy Paleo Pear Apple Pie
- I absolutely adore soup. Like a hug in a bowl. –> 20 Healthy Soup Recipes
- Further proof I need a waffle iron. –> Healthy Pumpkin Spice Orange Waffles
- How to muddle through. –> Recognizing a Slump and Ways to Break out of It
- Choose to love your rough edges. –> No Permission Needed: Be YOUtiful
When are you most productive?
Anything else I should know? I love hearing about your life!