In the U.S, accents, mentalities and specialties differ from state to state. Here in France, the same goes for each region. I've spent nine months in this country but I wouldn't say that I've seen France. Although, considering my complicated host family change, it's safe to say I've seen more than the average exchange student!
Anyway, what this is all getting to is that my host mom drove me and my host sister to Alsace this weekend! It's north east from my village and borders Germany. This proximity, and the region's history is still apparent in the region's culture and sets it distinctly apart from my region, la franch-comte.
My host sister slept the entire two hour drive as she had just gotten back from a class trip to Italy that morning. Up front, I talked with my host mom and played the license plate game; it's even more amusing in Europe because instead of looking for states, you see all different countries. There was an impressive amount of Germans and Swiss on motorcycles and in RVs.
We got to my host mom's brother's girlfriends house that afternoon. We would be spending the night there, in a charming town at the bottom of the ballon d'Alsace (a mountain). After talking for a while, we packed a picnic for dinner and all filed back into the car.
It was great to see mountains again. I've written before about my love for them but I'll do it again. I don't know what it is, but being in the mountains does something for me. The air feels so much more fresh and every view, all 360 degrees of them, is breathtaking. We hiked around for awhile and then found a good spot for our picnic.
|At the top there was a statue of Joan of Arc.|
The next morning I woke up to the smell of croissants. My fuel for the day which would bring miles of walking. We visited Colmar, a typical Alsacien town. The sun wasn't out in the beginning but it was shining by the end of the afternoon. The town was full of tourists, but reasonably so as it is really adorable. An "oh my god" moment waiting to happen as I turned each street corner. With the buildings charm, and musicians playing, it was almost to cute to be real, in a Disney World sort of way.
|We ate lunch to the sound of beautiful jazz music.|
|The sculpter of the Statue of Liberty was born in this house.|
|A market, selling all sorts of Alsacien specialties: pretzels, wine, sausage, flammekueuch|
|Me and my host sister :)|
|Some German influence....|
|My personal favorite flammekueche with goat cheese!|