So, as usual, lots of stuff to talk about! First of all, last weekend.
SO, on Friday night (after my first grueling week of school) Benedicte proposed that maybe I would like to go to La Baule (the seaside, south Bretagne) for the weekend. Because I'm only here for the semester, and because fall is, well, falling on us, it was pretty much the last weekend that it could happen. So she quickly booked two hotel rooms and we left after lunch on Saturday.
La Baule is a town in south Bretagne (north of us) that features the longest beach in France (9 km). According to Benedicte, it is frequented by a combination of very rich people, think French stars, and normal folk like us.
Since it is a 3.5 hour car ride, we didn't arrive until pretty late in the afternoon. We walked up and down the beach, went to dinner at a restaurant on the beach, and retired to the cute little hotel where Alice and I talked to mom and dad of the United States via skype (very enjoyable :) ).
The next morning, my host family took me to Guerande, a pretty little fortified town near La Baule.
We walked around and did some window shopping
and then went to what I was told is "The best creperie in France" where each of us ordered one salty crepe:
and one sugary crepe:
After lunch, they took me to see the salt production setups for which Guerande is known. Actually, I am under orders to tell you: Let it be known that in the family of Benedicte, Stephane, and Alice (and me, I guess) the only salt used is salt from Guerande. They have these shallow patches dug out of the ground, where sea water is allowed to enter. Then over the course of one or two days the water evaporates, leaving behind salt. The salt on top is called the fleur de sel, and it's the fancy kind that you can buy in their gift stores. They scoop out the salt and make piles of it next to each dug-out-part, and then those piles are collected and mounded into big piles. Pretty neat, and totally natural.
We went back to the beach before leaving. Because it wasn't that hot out, only Stephane went swimming. Alice and I hit a ball back and forth with wooden racquet things. We hung out on the beach for about an hour, and then it was back to St-Yrieix for school on Monday.
SO that was last weekend. And to keep from getting too behind, I'll include a resume of this weekend, also.
Friday night I went to dance class with Alice. It...well...sucked. I couldn't even finish, it was so difficult. The combinations were fast, complicated, and required flexibility and acrobacy. Hence meltdown # 2 of my exchange student experience.
Saturday morning I went shopping with Benedicte. The supermarket is very large, and the cheese section is out of control!! This is just a very small part of the cheese counter. There's also an entire aisle (both sides) dedicated to soft cheeses. And that's not counting any sort of yogurt or milk products!
Saturday afternoon I tried another easier dance class, but found it still too acrobatic for my tastes. I guess I'll wait until I get home.
In the evening, because Benedicte and Stephane had an adults-only dinner party, Benedicte made tomato soup and I made calzones for us. We had dinner and watched Les Choristes.
Today, Benedicte, Alice, and I went to the marché to buy various items for the week. For lunch, I made eggplant parmesan, Stephane grilled sausages, and I made apple crisp for dessert. They liked the eggplant a lot.
This afternoon I went swimming with Alice, helped the family with technology troubles, did my homework, and wrote this enormous post! And now, I must sign off. A bien tôt!