Sunday, July 23, 2017

Bea Visits Beardy's Homeland (France Vol.1)

So last March I wrote this kind of weird post without really touching upon what it was even about. Then I left the blog for almost five months, (which is typical!!) but now that I have some time during which I am intentionally avoiding doing any work/thinking about work to refresh my brain cells, I decided to finally write a bit about MY VACATION IN FRANCE!!!

Now this is just going to be a summary, but I already know it might be a little long. I'll try not to ramble too much and let the pictures do most of the talking, but knowing myself, this might still end up being very wordy, (I mean just this bit explaining is already unnecessarily wordy) so strap yourself in, get an iced coffee, maybe put some music in the background, I don't know man it's your life!!! 

There's already like an 80% chance that you know why I went there. I assume you come from Facebook, which would mean you might know me personally, and might know that that's where Em -I mean Beardy (he's called Beardy here you guys! Shh!)- is from. But here are some things you might not know about this trip:

  1. It's actually only my FIRST time going there. Beardy so far had been the sole crosser of seas in our relationship until then. FOR FIVE HUNDRED YEARRRRS!!!
  2. I've tried and failed before to go, and that's what that last weird post was about! I was then awaiting my Visa application results! Haha.
  3. The first time I attempted to go was in 2014, when the macaron fad had just reached the Ph. And to make things fun, I decided to do a Macaron Strike! Where I managed to refrain from ever trying one before I could go to France and eat one there.

And no, I did not go to Ladurée in Paris to make that happen; we have a branch of that here in Makati. My first macaron (my first six if we're being honest) was procured from a Carrefour, which we don't have in the Philippines. I wasn't really expecting to like them, it was more for the principle of it. The symbolism of it. But hey they were good! Much more interesting that what I had imagined (glorified meringue sandwiches with filling).. They were chewy on the inside and the fillings were really nice. They're not just pretty to look at! Sorry I misjudged you, macarons.

Much of our 7-week vacation was spent just chilling at their home in Brittany, like we used to do the first years that he visited me here. We played lots of board games, played music together with his sister, cooked and ate a lot of nice food, taking scenic walks, and whatever else.

A lot of the time, I was sick while I was there. I unfortunately got a bad case of the coughies shortly before leaving, and the cold/dry environment wasn't too kind to that. It lasted for weeks! And so I wasn't very energetic and needed a lot of rest. But it was still really lovely to be with his family in a mostly relaxed environment! Eating breakfast together while watching birds outside, making LOTS of tea, drinking beer and eating various numnums by a fire (it was still cold enough to merit that in a Breton spring apparently!)... like the sweetest cherry tomatoes I've ever had in my life!

The difference in the general climate is pretty striking:

  • You can have a sunroof in your car or room and NOT turn your room or car into a deadly oven
  • Room temperature water is cold. You don't need to refrigerate water.
  • I can wear makeup without feeling disgusting after a couple hours
  • I can put oil in my hair without it turning into a swampy mess
  • Everything keeps a lot better without so much humidity. Not just food - buildings, towels, dishes, very old books, everything looked newer than they actually were. So it's not just that we're lazy in taking care of our buildings and artefacts here I guess. Climate plays a very important role in preserving culture. Welp. Wind it back a bit there Bea.
  • The sun sets around 9pm. This made such a huge difference for me. I often feel like the day is over when the sun is down, and would feel sad during evenings here because everything just feels more dangerous in the dark, and if you weren't done it's like everything you're going to do after the sun sets is already LATE. But when the sun sets at 9pm, it's like just in time for bed, and it felt like I could live the waking hours to the fullest. I wasn't chasing the sun.
  • I wore the same clothes over and over because I didn't really sweat in them much.
  • People are always feeling the weather out, and if it got warm or sunny, people make a point to go outside. To walk instead of driving everywhere. To eat in the patio instead of inside. Here it's as if because there's always a high probability of it being too hot or wet to be outside, even when it's nice and cloudy/cool/dry, we are not programmed to take advantage of that anymore. We stay inside anyway. We wait to be picked up at the entrance of stores even when it's cloudy enough to walk the grocery cart to our cars. I really learned to appreciate good weather now when I experience it. And I love it that I'm not always cold here in the Philippines. I understand Beardy a lot better now when it comes to that.
One of the first days in Brittany. It was warm enough to eat outside so we did, but you bet I braved the cold in the shade just so the sun won't burn my retinas!
A couple of people enjoying the sun in Pont-Aven
  • It can be very cold but also blindingly bright at the same time!!!
*ngiting nakakasilaw nasisilaw*

Really all of this I could have guessed myself but it was still quite an experience actually living it. Like being in Paris. It's such a tourist trap, such a filmic destination, so well-covered in books, films, pictures... It was the France I "knew" before I ever went. But it's SO different from the rest of the country! I never imagined that the feeling I'd have upon arriving in Paris was... STRESS! Because I've been spoiled for weeks in the countryside where there's nature, cute animals, and few cars before I went to the bustling city. It was really fun though! And quite the funny feeling seeing the sights with my own two eyes.

Here we see some youths having a classic Parisian picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. Imagine being a teenage tourist on a trip with your friends doing this with no shame and maybe even a bit of pride! Youth is a wonderful thing.

The Louvre pyramids... FROM INSIDE THE MUSEUM! Before taking an exhausted nap. A guard totally let us. It was right front of him.

Taking a picture in front of the Centre Pompidou for my best friend ♥
MONT MARTRE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING! Look at that golden morning glow.♥

THE SMELL OF OIL PAINTS IN THE MORNING IS ALMOST BETTER THAN THE SMELL OF FRESH BAGUETTES TO ME please don't tell Beardy I said that. It's blasphemous to the French. 

Shakespeare and Co, with some English(?) buskers on the side

So that's me meeting the side of France that I was expecting to meet. In the next post I'll be covering the summary of the unexpected side of France I saw, and in the future, more detailed stuff about all of the small trips that we took. Hope to see you here again! Thanks for your time! Hope you enjoyed your coffee!