Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Monday, January 7, 2013

secrets de l'table

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.” -Rumi

It’s a new year, and a new me.  Well, I’m hopin' anyways.


I am in the mood to re-invent myself. Maybe it's because I feel like I need to finally grow up and be the woman I'm supposed to be.  But, how do I find out who or what that is?  This year is a big birthday year for me, and in all honestly, I'm not looking forward to it one bit.  I had really thought that I would be waaay further along in my plan....to becoming a supermodel.  So, I have decided to start working on being all that I can be (thanks Oprah) so that I will feel as great about myself as I can when that dreaded day comes knocking.  

I'm looking at it like training for a marathon (not that I've ever done that).  I have challenged myself to write everyday....at least something (but not just the grocery list) and I have been doing that now, going on, what day is it today? Seven days now.  My writing classes through U of C will start at the end of January and then I'll really have to write! I'm finally going to read some of the books I've put off...you know the ones that are challenging, uncomfortable maybe, but excellent.  And, I'm off bread and sugar, which if you keep reading you will know why.  I'm going to start popping into church again, and not just at Christmas.  I miss the community of believers.  And, I want to sing again, like with people.  So, I will join a choir again, finally.  

And, along with yoga-ing and a bit of outdoor running, I think I can whip myself into the smart, kind, clever, confident, good-partner, great-friend, interesting, healthy (in body and mind) person I really want to be.  And, the only reason I'm blogging about this is so that I keep myself accountable...cause at least you four now know what my plans are. What are your plans for the new year`?  I'd love to hear them!

Now, here's my newest, new year, travel goody:

Great guy and I spent New Year’s in the French city of Strasbourg.  It’s an incredibly beautiful city, lying on the Rhein, which also serves as the French/German border for a little while.  The city is French, but was German once upon a time, and so (not unlike visiting Montreal) you can try speaking French, but about three words in the other person begins speaking (in this case) German.  The buildings in the inner city are old and wonderful, long intact and left in peace during the one or two past European wars.


We spent the days wandering and gawking and snapping photos, and eating.  Oh, how I love the French culture of eating…and shopping (though I did none of that this trip).



Our first evening, we explored the countless, beautiful Christmas markets and Christmas decorations hanging tastefully from balconies and over the streets; such as chandaliers by Baccarat hanging in intervals over the cobbled pedestrian street.  When we finally felt peckish, we headed along the canal, over two bridges and a cobblestoned road, and found a casual, three-storied restaurant right on the water.  The air smelt of cheese…baked cheese.  Great guy spoke a perfect (to my ears) French sentence and we were led to a wooden table beside rows of windows, on the other side of which the water swirled just below.


I told him that on our trip I wanted him to order everything…just an excuse to hear him speak French.  He ordered Fromage blanc, galette de pomme de terre et munster and L’escalope de porc pane, frites et salade, Côte du Rhône and Coca-Cola.  Doesn’t that just sound lovely?  The great thing is that it also tasted lovely.  The cheese and bread…yum.  It all just tastes French.


The next day, we explored le petite France (an island chaulk full of old, traditional Fachwerk (log?) houses, some perched on bridges with movable drawbridges and still-running mills.  We cruised through the glorious Galerie Lafayette, a high-end, French department store…looking, but not touching.  All of this, after first enjoying café and croissant on a rickety barge tied to the side of the canal serving petite dejeuner (doesn’t that sound a hundred times classier than ‘breakfast’?).


For lunch (as if we needed lunch), we ate at Brasserie Le Grenadier, close to the imposing Cathedrale Notre Dame Strasbourg and ate Tartine epinards with bleu d’Auvergne, chévre, noix noisette topped off with Mousse au chocolat!

After all of that, we needed to rest up at the comfi inn (as great guy called it – actually just the Comfort Inn, nothing spectacular) in time for new years-ing later.  To end the year off (which in my opinion wasn’t my finest year) we chose Les escargots and a bottle of le Bordeaux first off.  Then, great guy ordered Choucroute Strasbourgeoise (which is actually just a helluva lot of sauerkraut-a Strasbourg tradition-with meat) and le Cordon bleu de porc pané àla crème for me.  We were totally stuffed as we stumbled out on to the streets, along with thousands of other revellers to ring in the new year; with shouts and fireworks, banging firecrackers and raketten, böller, und knaller!  Welcome 2013!


"Es ist ein Ros entsprungen au seiner Wurzel zart, wie uns die Alten sungen, von Jesse kam die Art und hat ein Blümlein bracht mitten im kalten Winter, wohl zu der halben Nacht."

It’s a new year, and the flowers are coming up here in Germany, close to the rivers.  Seriously.  My tulips and onions are already four inches high.  I fight the urge to push them back into the damp earth…knowing that it surely must freeze again. Won’t it?  We had winter for about one week and now it’s spring.  Crazy.  Sometimes I do miss Canada.

My new year’s wish for you (stolen from my favourite card):

“If I could, I’d find a fairy godmother with a magical wand and combat boots so that she could grant your wishes and kick the crap outta anything that tried to get in the way of your happiness.”
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