01 February 2011

hopla!

stras00 in france, when something happens extremely quickly. when time flies. when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time.

they say either, c’est speed! or c’est rapide!

no “oh it was a really quick weekend”

just simply, c’etait speed! c’etait rapide!

and that’s the perfect way to describe your weekend in alsace. two weeks ago.

it was rapide. as there is a subtle difference between rapide and speed, rapide being less intensive than speed.

stras01you start with breakfast, as usual. tea. butter. bread. homemade mint jam. a chinois (a brioche rolled with pastry cream and chocolate). and honey. from alsace, of course.

stras02a brisk walk around strasbourg. note the material of the cathedral: grès des vosges – sandstone from the vosges mountains.

stras03you feed the ducks with your friend.

stras05and you make a new friend, the otter. la loutre.

stras06and then you leave. goodbye strasbourg.

stras07and hello les vosges.

the mountains. the countryside. the best.

stras08here, the roads are unpaved.

here, the nearest neighbor is five kilometers away.

here, you really learn about the alsatian culture.

stras09the vosges is a department in france in the lorraine region.

but part of the vosges mountain range dips into alsace region.

and there’s also a place des vosges in paris.

confusing? then you’ve got hautes vosges and the grand ballon.

and haut-rhin. bas-rhin. then you accidently start mixing in the rhône. and then you throw in the alps since you’ve got the rhône.

and then you stop. it’s too confusing. french geography without maps or visual aids is not your thing!

stras10a dog not in a city is a happy dog.

same thing as a girl from a city of six million who is now in the mountains of france with a population of…  five.

stras11remember the cathedral? the grès des vosges? here it makes a comeback in the form of a kitchen sink in a house heated by wood. a belle maison, you gawk.

stras12you breathe.

stras13and you wait.

stras14for this.

stras15le coucher du soleil.

stras16words.

stras17aren’t.

stras18necessary.

stras19back inside, your enthusiasm to learn is matched by an enthusiasm to share. and so the feast begins.

“have you tried cancoillote yet? it’s not from alsace but it’s good.”

“no.”

goûte!”

and you never say no.

stras22“who wants soup?”

and before anybody has a chance to respond, containers of frozen mushrooms suddenly appear.

mushrooms. from the mountains. picked and frozen in the summer and defrosted in the winter for a soup. a soup of nothing but champignons, cream, milk, and spices. a soup that made you wish you lived in les montagnes as well.

stras20repeat. but with blueberries. wild ones frozen and defrosted for a quick blueberry tart.

stras20agrès d'alsace – not sandstone this time, but traditional pottery from alsace. betschdorf is the name of the town drilled into your head.

if you understood (and remember) correctly – the walls of the carafe are thick and heavy so the water retains it’s temperature.

stras23if. you are ever lucky enough to be offered magret de canard fumé.

aka smoked duck breast.

don’t think.

eat it. eat it. eat it. eat it.

and hope that the person never stops slicing pieces for you.

it’s that good.

stras24before you are à table and can finally eat the mushroom soup and blueberry tart, you hop outside to watch the the sun hand off the sky to the moon.

stras25a salad is quickly brought together.

stras26and it’s time to eat.

note the green stem of the wine glasses.

if you ever see a wine glass like that, know that those glasses are only for white wines from alsace.

anything else is a catastrophe. a wine from bordeaux? no. a wine from burgundy? no. a wine not from france? don’t even think about it.

but that rule is broken. accidently. but that’s a secret, okay?

stras27you taste a fromage de tête. which is not a cheese, but a pâté instead.

wikipedia explains it better.

stras28on mange à la bonne franquette is the phrase you learn. it’s how you eat when you aren’t expecting guests. you bring out everything that’s edible in the fridge, pile it on the table, and eat. no planning. no prepping. no fuss. just getting together and eating.

stras29one last look at the sky. with stars embedded in your memory but impossible to capture with a lens.

stars30the next morning, you have one last walk around strasbourg.

stras31your favorite time to explore a city is early when everyone is still sleeping. even the sun.

stras32except you. and the lights. 

stras33suddenly, your weekend is over. but not before tasting some madeleines from your favorite salon de thé in strasbourg.

stras34 goodbye alsace.

stras35hello paris. a nice walk, a missed train, and some french poetry. goodbye paris. hello evreux. where you head straight to bed.

6 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful shots that are full of serenity! Mmmhhh, I LOVE cancaillotte. Here we also say "c'est speed"....

Cheers,

Rosa

donna said...

i love all the color, the images, the food, the way you compile memories of a trip into such a visual array....there HAS to be a job out there waiting for you and your little camera......someday?

Miss Vodka said...

I love all your posts! The colours, food everything is beautiful.

:)

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizounette said...

lovely lovely! I adore the forest shot next to the dog.

cathy said...

someday indeed! thank you all :)