A Travellerspoint blog

Sluder Girls in Ancy Le Franc

September 13 - 17

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We were all reunited in our small village of Ancy Le Franc this afternoon. The housekeeper of our house gave us the grand tour and house instructions through hand gestures as she spoke almost no English. After settling in briefly, we soon realized that the local grocery was already closed and between us we had a banana, nabs, peanuts, and cheese for supper. We set out once again toward the small town of Chablis in hopes of finding a restaurant. The brief ride soon became comical when we once again were separated and not once but twice passed each other on hilltops when we would both turn around and try to catch up with each other. A word to the wise, at least two phones to communicate between two cars would be helpful. We enjoyed a great french meal where our waiter, Michele was very sweet and patient with our attempts at french and french cousine and was eager to learn english so we exchanged some entertaining tidbits of information. This was particulary evident when Carlette asked him about one of our menu items which we were pretty sure was pork but were not entirely sure what part of the pig it came from. She would say the french word for pork or pig and then point at her feet and other parts of the body until we were fairly certain it was actually part of the loin. We then asked Michele to choose our desserts and we were not disappointed. The french definitely know how to do desserts right. He ended up giving us a complimentary bottle of chablis which made our nerve wrecking drive a distant memory.

Taking a slower pace, the next morning we walked around the local small villages and towns. In Chablis, we had our first tasting of the local wines and learned about the harvest season which was in full swing at this time. In Noyers, we met a local potter and walked around the quiet, quaint medievil village before buying supplies from the local grocerer (complete with her cat on the counter) for supper.

On Thursday, our village had its market day. Here the townspeople meet and talk while purchasing their meat, cheese (fromage), bread, vegetables as well as other goods. We were able to purchase everything needed to prepare our evening meal including potatoes, which thrilled us. We also toured the Chateau Ancy Le Franc which was located just around the corner from our home. While we were unable to take photos of the interior I can tell you that the inside is as incredible as the outside. After lunch, we went our separate ways for a while. Carlette, who had come down with a bad cold and had visited the local doctor this morning ($23 euros for doctor visit and 3 prescriptions, I'm just saying) went home to take a nap. Mama, Susie and I spent the afternoon walking around our village and visiting the local cemetary located at the top of the hill while Lorie and Georgianna went out in search of some local wineries and tastings. In France, we have learned that the tastings are done either at storefronts or in the proprietor's home. Lorie and Georgianna's first request for a tasting was refused when the french countess who answered looked at them and said "No, not today" with no other reason given. Their next attempt was rewarded when they met an elderly gentleman who invited them to his cellar where they sampled his wine, which we enjoyed with our dinner.

On Friday, we set out for the Champagne region. We enjoyed our drive through the french countryside. Our first tasting was again at the proprietor's home. The gentleman spoke almost no English, but Carlette, who spoke the best french, was thankfully able to ask a few questions in between the awkward silences. We quickly purchased a couple of bottles and left in search of another tasting. We soon found one close by at the home of

Posted by sludergirl 09:08 Archived in France Comments (0)

Sluder Girls in Paris

September 11 - 13

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Bonjour!! We enjoyed an amazing 3 days in Paris. Our first day in Paris began with an early arrival at 6:40 am with very little sleep. Our original plan of catching the train to the city was changed when we realized that the train we needed did not run on Saturday and the billet (ticket) machines needed to purchase metro tickets would not accept our credit cards because they did not have the European security chips in them which made us a little nervous over the next few days as we had brought few euros and had planned to use our cards for the majority of our meals and purchases. After summoning two taxis sufficient to handle our luggage requirements which was huge despite our best efforts (6 suitcases @40 lbs plus 6 carryon bags), we arrived at our hotel and dropped off our bags. We then walked just a few blocks to Rue Cler an open air market street where we enjoyed quiche lorraines from a street vendor for breakfast. After walking and taking in our first views of Paris, we hopped a bus for a rest and a relaxing tour of the city. We got off at the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa and many other famous statues and paintings before returning to the hotel for a quick rest. In the afternoon, we took the bus through Moulan Rouge to the Mont Martre district where we climbed to the top of the hill to the Sacre Coeur Church for an amazing view well worth the effort (which some of us doubted about halfway up). Walking along the streets of Mont Martre we watched artists at work and had our first taste of gellato before enjoying our first french meal under the stars.

Our next morning began with a parisien breakfast at a cafe not far from our hotel. There are no "cafes to go" so you must sit to enjoy a cup of cafe which was a nice change of pace for us. There was a women's marathon starting closeby, so we were treated to some unusually dressed teams of women while sipping our cafes. After Carlette lost and found her museum pass (which became a theme for the day), we took the metro, where lets just say that BO can be an issue so take a deep breath before jumping onto to a crowded one. We took in the flower market which strangley had more birds than flowers before touring Notre Dam which was breathtaking. When we entered a service was in process so we were able to experience that as well. We took a stroll along the Seine River which was beautiful but the cobblestones will kill your feet. Just take a look at the picture of mama who had to briefly remove her shoes while waiting for our boat. After our boat tour, we took in the Orsay Museum where we saw many Monets and Van Gohs and yes more naked statues. We tried our best to act cultured when viewing the artwork but despite our best efforts, some paintings were just too much for us and that's as much as I'll say about that.
In the afternoon, we took the train to Versailles, the French Palace, located about 45 minutes out of the city. After scrambling for euro coins to purchase tickets again (most machines require coins, including the pay toilets which led Georgianna to inform us that we would be "camelbacking" which amounts to limiting our liquid intake so that the pay toilets would not be an issue). The train ride was a comedy in itself when we got off too soon and a little frenchman was waving for us to get back on. All six of us had to make a run for it to get back on before the doors closed. The palace was beautiful but we were only able to view it quickly due to a special event there that evening that caused it to close early. Not to be twarted, we decided to make the most of our trip by walking to a restaurant located at the edge of the palace grounds which we were informed would remain open. The brief walk turned out to be 45 minutes, a good part again on the killer cobblestones but the promise of supper and vin as well as some raisinets found in Lorie's jacket pocket kept us going. We passed Gordon Ramsey's restaurant along the way but even if we could afford it, I don't think they would let us in the gate (we were a pretty bedraggled looking group by this point). Our perseverence finally paid off and we enjoyed a lovely dinner by the lake of pizza and vin (wine), which is cheaper than water and soda here. After the long return walk, we took the last train back to Paris where we went up on the Eiffel Tower for an incredible night view of the city. We ended our day with a final glass of wine (vin) before returning to our hotel.

We enjoyed a champagne breakfast by the Eiffel Tower for our final morning in Paris. We gathered fruit, a baguette, cheese and pastries for our picnic. After breakfast, we gathered our bags and took taxis to pick up our two rental cars which were supposed to be outside of the city; however, we soon discovered that this was not the case. After separated, both cars experienced harrowing drives through the crazy streets of Paris but we finally made it to the A6 which led us out of the city and to our next destination in the Burgandy area of France.

Posted by sludergirl 14:11 Archived in France Comments (0)

24 hour countdown

sunny 87 °F

Less than 24 hour left before lift off and we have prepared ourselves as much as possible for our "adventure". By the way Susie is the winner of the lightest packer contest (small bag @ 25 lbs);while I solved my packing dilemna by buying a larger suitcase, oh well.

When next you hear from us we will be in Paris! Bonjour!!

Posted by sludergirl 06:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Paris via Junk Mountain

Spring "travel fund raising" yardsale

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Over the last couple of years, we have had numerous yardsales to help raise funds for our trip. I don't know where it all came from, but we always seemed to have a mountain of stuff to sale. Georgianna is in charge of pricing and most of the sales, the rest of us unload, organize and reload the leftovers for Good Will. It is hot and sweaty work but the money we earn for our trip makes it all worth it. The best part of the day; however, is lunch, with tall margaritas, of course.

One of our last yardsales began on a chilly spring morning at Pauls Place. We sold alot of junk. . . .ugh, I mean treasures (and a good part of Carlette's childhood) to all who happened by. The sun soon warmed the day to a balmy 70 degrees, ergo the necessity of the umbrella. These southern belles did not want to freckle.

Posted by sludergirl 16:11 Tagged events Comments (1)

21 days left. . .

Preparing for adventure!

It is a little hard to believe that we have less than a month before our trip to Europe. Excitement with a dash of panic is the prevailing emotion at the moment. Last minute lists, shopping and preparation errand-running are all happening as we speak. A popular topic of conversation is the art of packing. What size suitcase should I use? What items should be in my carryon or my checked bag? How does a woman pack for 15 days of European travel in a bag light enough to lug around and small enough to fit in those tiny cars. Another dilema is shoes. How much valuable packing space am I willing to surrender to shoes and what should their primary purpose be fashion or comfort. This subject is particularly troublesome for mama. Apparently, unlike we Americans, Europeans are not having a love affair with sneakers and mama is worried about whether she should opt for european fashion or give in to the comfort her feet will need and wear her beloved sneaks. I say wear what will feel best to you 'cause lets face it, everybody over there will know that we are from "out of town" and they won't need to look at our feet to figure that out.

Posted by sludergirl 19:22 Comments (0)

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