After arriving back from France, we didn’t get up to much. I was mostly just waiting around till our next travels, as I was going to New Zealand and the end of April, so not a lot of point looking for a job yet. We also wanted one of us to have a job ideally before getting a flat, so we weren’t really looking for that yet either. We had Sunday Lunch at some delishuz places, usually equipped with some great vegetarian option (like nut roast, and mushroom roly poly), roast veges, gravy, and Yorkshire puddings.
Lots of buildings around that are old and fancy stone, or ones that are all the same, a whole row of houses up the street, all like the others.
The next weekend was cruisey, Henri and I went op shopping – lots of cool 2nd hand stores in Brighton and Hove. They are all quite small, but I think they have a high turnover of stock, and they seem to keep a lot of nice stock in. Some of the also seem to get donations (?) from department stores/bigger stores, so occasionally they have new stuff tags still on.
We wandered around town, and the Pavillion, where we met the local squirrels. Wandered the streets a bit, met a few showers (its a bit like a tap is turned on).
Moved to a friends house to stay for a while, whom had a spare room, and we were very appreciative of the opportunity to have our own space. One of the nights, we made Saag paneer from scratch, including the paneer, and it came out a lovely shade of virulent green. Way greener than any curry you get at a takeaways, and I think it is cause the spinach is so fresh.
Went bouldering with Alastair in Portslade, which was very fun. It is wall climbing, but without ropes, so you need to be a bit careful, rely on your skills and strength. It is not as high as a usual climbing wall, only 3-4 metres high.
Monday dawned nice and sunny. We all piled in Curby (our vehicle, a 7 person carvan), and headed out into the local neighbourhood.
We had a bit of trouble finding our first location, and zoomed on to the second. A lot of the roads are quite small, and kinda crazy, zipping through them in a large car-van. We found the second location, but they were closing for lunch – most vineyards seem to close for a period over lunch, perhaps for napping? While waiting, we decided to go to the supermarket and stock up on cheese and bread! We spent the rest of the day trying, drinking and buying wine. It was very interesting, many of the people didn’t speak much English, and we didn’t speak much French, so there was plenty of extrapolation, hand waving and charades, but we enjoyed it, nonetheless.
Our last day was spent in a town called Cadillac, where they had various interesting points. There was a church, Chappelle d’Epernon.
There was also an old castle – Chateau de Cadillac, that was used for various things. It is apparently a good example of French Architecture, and was quite amazing inside, with massive rooms and fireplace. Each one was elaborately carved in marble and stone, with huge tapestries.
The town even had a proper wall, town gate, towers with arrow slits. It was pretty, lots of spring flowers around. We ate lunch at a little bakery, where I had to go back and buy apple pastry things, and eclairs, a couple of times, as they were very yummy.
The day we flew out, we spent a fair amount of time packing, and headed into Bordeaux early so we sort out extra bags. I think a couple of extra bags were bought by people for transporting wine home. We stopped at a massive mall, that had the most amazing fancy toilets I have seen in a while. We also bought more macaroons, and ate them. 🙂 Plane ride back was uneventful.
The best thing so far about Brighton, is the vast array of vegetarian options! This is very exciting for me. Many places have 1/4-1/3 of the menu vegetarian and there are many places that are fully vegetarian. So delishuz. I have had pasties, pies, platters. We went to a cafe called Chockywockydodah (not sure of spelling), where they make amazing cakes and chocolate items, and the cafe has 4 items on the menu (liquicd chocolate hot chocolate, cake, shake, sundae. All great.
We went to see the new Captain America, which was very similar to seeing a movie in NZ, but they have either sweet or salty popcorn, or a mix of both.
The beach is all small stones, but I don’t mind that, cause I’m not that keen on sand anyway. There is an amusement park at the end of the pier, with small rollercoasters and things like that.
We spent the end of Friday night packing our bags – can only take carry on with the cheap tickets we have with Easy Jet, but there is no weightlimit on your carry on, you simply have to be able to fit it in the overhead compartment, and be able to get it up there and down again yourself.
We arrived in France to overcast skies, but a decent temperature. Bordeaux is definitely a winemaking area, even the airport is surrounded by vines. We are staying in a house in the countryside, 40mins from Bordeaux. Is it super cute. All the buildings are sandstone brick, again, it all seems so like it should be. A bit surreal. There is a vast amount of grass here, much more than we saw in Canada.
We bought lots of food from the local supermarket – mostly bread, cheese, wine, and meats. Most meals are composed of this. In this area, most people speak French, and many of the shopkeepers have only a very small amount of English. It is very interesting, trying to badly speak french, enough to buy things. I know how to ask for cheese, wine, bread, and where is the toilet? Also, chocolate, candy.
Macaroons are delishus, I bought a few, and promptly ate them all. We spent today wandering around Saint Emilion, which was very pretty, old bell tower, old (but still current) wine cellars, massive amounts of vineyards. Tiny town is fully of cobbled streets stretching up and down the hills, tiny alleyways and side streets, with decidedly french people lounging on the corners, wine for sale in every second shop, and many macaroons!
Sunday we visited a lot of vineyards, and did a lot of wine tasting. Lots of reds. Got shown around a few wineries, and enjoyed the lovely weather. We headed back in the afternoon, to sit outside in the warm afternoon sun, and drink wine, cider, and eat things.
My favourite thing from France was eating Raclette for dinner. Melted cheese on everything. So. Good. Raclette I think is originally swiss, a type of firm cheese that is mostly used for melting, you hold it towards the fire until it starts melting, then scrape the melty part off, and eat it with potatoes. In modern times, we have tiny pans, that are set on an element, and slices of cheese are laid in them, and gently melted, until bubbling, then you slide it out onto your plate, and voila!
We totally ate veges too
My next favourite part was seeing all the tiny towns filled with cute little stone houses and terracotta roof slates. Tiny towns with tiny little cobbled roads.
Also, I thoroughly enjoyed anything that required us to reference the fact that we were in France.
We woke at a reasonable hour, and packed EVERYTHING into our bags. We seem to have accumulated a large amount of stuff, and my bag is quite solidly packed: I literally can’t fit anything else in it and get it closed.
We stored our bags downstairs in the storage room, and headed off to the cafe for more waffles, as they were so yum, and we had totally missed the hostel breakfast. We stayed there for a bit, then retired to the hipster cafe, Swallow, near the hostel. It had about 15 people in it, and pretty much all of them had 14 inch macbooks, and were playing on them. We felt slightly out of place, as we had proper laptops.
Then, we headed back to the hostel, loaded up all our bags, and trotted off to the subway. Our transit passes unfortunately had expired the day before, and when we arrived at the subway entrance, we were a bit sad to realise there was no ticket booth. We left me in charge of our bags in a pile, and Dale went back to the hostel to find out the nearest entrance with a ticket booth, which was luckily only a block away. We successfully transferred trains until we made it to the airport and checked in. We found a seat with a power plug, and entertained ourselves until it was time to leave. We flew with Aer Lingus, which was fine, except for the supposed lack of vegetarian options in flight.
We left at 10.30pm, t was 6 hours across to Dublin, then 2 hr stopover, then another hour and a half to Brighton. We somehow managed to land in Brighton at 8.30am, with only having had an hour or two nap. Very tired.
Henri met us at the train station, and took us to her flat, where we showered and lay down on the couch for a 5 hour nap. Lovely.
The next few days were sleep, and Henri showing us the lovely food places and shops in Brighton.
It is a little surreal; we have never been here before, but it looks exactly like I think England should. The countryside is green rolling hills, with hedge lined roads, and a slight mist. Town is very bustling, people everywhere. Houses are cute little country houses. In Brighton, everyone speaks with some kind of British accent, and there are lanes and streets, and lines of houses that all look exactly the same. I understand that we are in a different country, but it is weirdly familiar, from all the TV shows and movies we have seen.
We have sorted out sim cards, a duvet, I bought a skirt (YAY), can’t get bank accounts because we don’t have a flat or a job. We are happy to be here, but can’t wait to get sorted with the new time zone. We are off to France (Excite!) on Saturday, for Henrietta’s birthday.