midnight, friday night.
“cathy, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“uhhhhhhhh…… well i was planning on going to the market, reading, editing some photos, doing some lesson planning, maybe go to a bookstore… well, nothing really, just a lazy day…”
“i’m staying in evreux this weekend. let’s do something!”
[she stares at my giant map of france]
“have you been to chartres?”
“have you been to dreux?”
“yeah, just a few weeks ago....”
“have you been to-"
“i haven’t been to amiens! let’s go to amiens! i’ll jump on the sncf website and check out the schedules! look, it’s only 14 euros from evreux to go there! let’s go!”
“okay, i haven’t been there either! what time is the train?”
“6:39 am. which means we leave at 6:15am to walk to the train station. which means you wake at 5:45 am”
[her face falls. she grimaces.] hey, it was her idea, not mine….
“okay. see you in five hours!”
what hurts the most is that for the entire week, you had a week of blue skies and intense yelllow sun. but the day you decide to take a daytrip, the obligatory grays come back. but you like your philosophy in life: a gray and rainy [insert random european city that is expensive to fly to from dallas] is better than no [insert random european city that is expensive to fly to from dallas]!
amiens. 1AM last minute googling teaches you a lot of things. like how it has its own special macaron. how its famous for its canals. how you have to try a flamiche. how it has the home of jules verne.
and most importantly… like how it has a floating garden. as well as a floating farmers market. which of course, since you are in france in march, is closed until april. and the floating farmers market doesn’t happen until june. oh well!
as usual, you can’t not go into the cathedrals in france. but the amiens one is a bit more special thanks to its UNESCO status because of its height, sculptures, labyrinth, and all those other good things that make buildings important for future generations.
no regional specialty will ever escape your tummy. your eyes are peeled high and low for certain key words, like flamiche and ficelle. but for some reason, on this gray saturday in march, it was difficult to find a restaurant open for lunch! your french friend was equally puzzled as you. oh well, life has to have it’s mysteries.
you don’t give up, and you find your prizes tucked away in a charming little restaurant.
flamiche. a quiche-like tart with lots of leeks. whether you use cream, milk, or cheese in the filling, the most important thing is to make sure it’s heavy on those leeks.
and lets not forget the ficelle picardie. a crepe stuffed with mushrooms and and ham, then baked in a creamy gratin dish.
mission accomplished, time to walk it off….
museums. and not just any museum, but a museum that integrates contemporary stuff with their permanent collection. all of the history and age in europe is nice, but it can get tiring real quick. so seeing current stuff is always a nice surprise when you step into a museum.
and all the patisseries are gearing up for april! instead of april fool’s day, the french like to celebrate poisson d’avril. where you stick fish on people’s backs and see how long they can go without noticing. and that is carried over into the chocolate world, you can’t avoid seeing windows full of chocolate fish as april nears!