Monday, December 27, 2010

Dingle-Blunder

True Story from Today: (I don't know why I feel like it's necessary to disclaim that this is a story that actually happened today, wouldn't that be assumed if I'm blogging about it TODAY? I digress.)

*Ahem* Once again, TRUE STORY FROM TODAY:
Mom and I were about to do something, I don't remember what, and we both decided to we needed to go to the bathroom before we did said mystery activity. So we start walking down the hall towards our respective bathrooms and we come upon a dark, small, poop-looking object on the floor. (It's amazing how often poop seems to come up on this blog) I had seen it there for a while, but I had just disregarded it at a black fluff or a leaf or something. But mom stoops over, looks at it, and this is the conversation that followed:
Mom: "Ugh will you get me some toilet paper to pick this up?"
Katie: "Eeeeew, really? Did she (the dog) really just do that one little poop right in the middle of the floor? Why would she go here? Doesn't she normally find a good hiding spot or something?"
Mom: "Well I think it was one of those clinger types from when she went outside"
Katie: "Like a dinglehopper????"
Mom: "Yeah."

Now this is where the conversation ended on the outside, but on the inside my mind was still thinking about what I had just said. If you're the type that is well versed in colloquialisms then you know that the term that I just used was totally incorrect. Fortunately, I kind of sensed that that wasn't the right word, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what it would be... Now if you're the type that is well versed in useless Disney trivia, like myself for example, then you will also know that a "dinglehopper" is the term that Scuttle from the Little Mermaid used to refer to a fork...

So, as I was pondering what the right word was for the situation that had just ensued, it only took me a minute to remember that what I had actually meant was "dingleBERRY" not "dinglehopper"....but then I remembered what a dinglehopper actually was ("actually" being relative considering this term that is used in the Little Mermaid is still totally fictional) and broke into hysterics. I don't know why, but for some reason the fact that I had used dinglehopper instead of dingleberry really hit my funny bone. I explained my blunder to my mom but she failed to see how funny it was...

Oh well, I guess my only child-ness made an appearance today.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Well that was unexpected...

Well, I said I would let you know how the Mousse Chocolat went didn't I?
Story:

So this morning (WOO CHRISTMAS DAY!), after appropriate Christmas morning festivities, I remembered the mousse and got pumped to try it. I went in the fridge and took a few bites, and it was good!! I little on the pudding-y side, but still tasted good and wasn't nearly as bad as pudding. (I'm not a fan of pudding) So I was like, great! Good job Katie on the awesome mousse! Rock on! But alas, it wasn't to be....

About an hour later, I started to feel a little funny. My head started hurting and I really needed to lay down. Then a few minutes later, I felt REALLY nauseous...and a LOVELY couple hours later, I, uh..how do I say this nicely...lost my cookies you might say. So then of course, a nap was necessary since it had been an exhausting few hours and after wards I felt a lot better. Therefore, while the mousse chocolat tasted delicious, I will be going nowhere near it for a while...or at least until I make a different recipe that the final product doesn't include raw eggs. Although, to be fair we did make soup last night from a mix that was kind of old, so who knows what made me feel so terrible. Either way, I'm not taking my chances...

The first time chocolate mousse has let me down...also the first time that I made it. I guess I'll leave it to the professionals from now on...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mousse Chocolat

So after reading my France posts and then the title of THIS post, you're all probably out there going "ENOUGH WITH THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF PIZZA!!" Well I'm about to write more about Chocolate Mousse. So cry about it!

So SINCE mom and I are now hard core connoisseurs of fine chocolate mousse, I decided I wanted to try and make some for our Christmas dinner tomorrow. I found tons of recipes, but all the reviews for them said that were more like pudding and less like mousse. Pass. What was so awesome about the french chocolate mousse was the texture and how light and fluffy it was. So I was determined to find a recipe that wasn't going to be like pudding.

(This feels so Julie and Julia right now...maybe I should stuff a duck or something tomorrow too)

FINALLY I think I found one. Notice my word choice there... I "think" I found one. I used said verbiage because of the following:

It's Christmas eve (duh), ergo I figured it would be good to make the mousse tonight so it had enough time to set in the fridge. So I started melting the chocolate and whipping the egg whites, but the chocolate never fully melts. There's little lumps in it. The recipe said to add a few tablespoons of water to help the chocolate melt...hmm. So mom and I decide to not worry about it and press on. So I "fold" the egg whites into the chocolate (that is now mixed with egg yolks as well) and what we end up with is a light brown splotchy mess that looks kinda like nasty poop. (sorry for the blunt delivery there, but there's really no other way to explain it without going into full detail. No one wants that.) Nonetheless, in our typical fashion we decide to pour it into glasses and put it in the fridge anyway. We both tried it pre-chill/set and it tasted good, so we'll just have to wait and see.

I'll be sure to update you tomorrow.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HOME.

WE MADE IT HOME!!! HURRAY!!! I am currently laying in MY bed writing this blog entry. It's glorious to the extreme. So. Happy.

So yesterday and today were filled with airports. Well only like 3 or 4, some for much longer than others. So yesterday morning we left our hotel on a shuttle for the airport that we had booked the previous night. After picking up some other people at other hotels, we made our way to the airport where we had been hearing people were stuck for days waiting to get out of Paris. But we were keeping a good thought about the whole thing, however what we arrived to was chaos. There were gillions of people EVERYWHERE. I had to leave mom and the luggage and go find someone to ask where the heck we were supposed to go, since we were in France and there weren't any signs.
French attitude (with heavy accent): SIGNS?! HOHN! (nasally sound) We are too good for signs! You figure it out on your own you stupid Americans! Ohn hohn hohn!!
My response: I kill you!

Anyway, after finding someone we realized we were actually in the wrong terminal, so once we got to the right one things went much smoother. There were fewer people where we were, so we checked in and made it through security without a hitch. Our flight had been delayed by 2 hours right off the bat, which was annoying but not exactly surprising. But our flight had also not yet been assigned a gate, which I found to be rather odd but Mom said that happened to her at Heathrow over the summer, so we just had to wait and watch the TV monitor. So we shopped and ate lunch and watched the screen with no avail. FINALLY after probably 2 hours or so, we decide this is just getting ridiculous and we go up to a worker-man who just finished sending off a flight to Seattle at one of the gates, and he actually said that our flight to Boston was going to be leaving from that very gate! Perfect! Then, not 30 seconds later he looks at his computer screen and goes, "Oh wow, they JUST changed it and now it's in another terminal. You have to go out past security, take the train and go back through security to the other side of this building/terminal/thing." I'm sorry.....WHAT?!? We have to LEAVE security and go through it AGAIN?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?!? IS THIS ANY WAY TO RUN A HUGE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT??!!? I tell ya. If I ran the world, things would run so much smoother...

So basically I was pissed. Mom can vouch for the angry and racist (would we consider France it's own race? I feel like not, but then what would the correct term be for hating only the French? Frenchist? I have no idea) remarks that I was muttering under my breath the entire walk to the other terminal. Short version: France and I were not friends right then.

Anyway, we went through security AGAIN and found our gate and it turns out that a flight to Washington DC had just been canceled so there were a million people all trying to get on our flight to Boston. So it was a little hectic. Then we sat around and waited as our flight was delayed yet ANOTHER hour, so now we were going on 3 hours late. Then the time approached when we were supposed to be boarding, so people just started gathering and getting in lines (more like mobs, the french don't really do lines. I think they might actually not know what a line is because they're always trying to get ahead of each other) but they never even announced over the speaker that they were boarding! They just started taking people and you had better figure it out or you were gonna miss it! It boggled my mind, yet again. Also, I will never understand why people push to get onto a plane. If it's Southwest, I kind of understand since it's open seating. But if not, you're essentially pushing and shoving to sit and wait in a seat that you will be sitting in the for the next 7 hours. Why are you trying to crush everyone in your path to get a jump start on that? Those seats are NOT comfortable...but I digress.

Anyway, we made it onto the plane, took off, and landed in Boston. PRAISE HEAVEN. I watched 3 movies. It was sweet :) Actually, this is was a huge achievement because we had actually made it out of Paris on the day we had planned to leave Paris. There were people that had been trying to get from Europe to the States for DAYS. One woman we talked to had been traveling all over Europe for 4 days just trying to get to Boston, she started in Germany and had been to Zurich, London, and now Paris in 4 days. So we were incredibly grateful to have gotten out on the first try, even if we did miss our connection to Atlanta and then home last night. We just stayed with my aunt and uncle in Boston, no sweat.

So today, we got up and went BACK to the airport. Weeeeeeee......I love airports....not. So we're waiting in the security line and there's a woman in front of us drinking coffee. As we get closer, one of the workers tells her she's going to have to throw away her coffee before she goes through. Now, we've been talking and she says she's flown to Europe and all over the country, but what is her response to this worker? Wait I can't take my coffee through? What about this unopened bottle of water I just bought????

Um, Hello???! Have you ever been to the airport before? What a dope...

So today was chock full of flying and impatience with the general population of this world. Some people just aren't the brightest crayons in the box my friends. Another funny story: We arrived in Atlanta and were waiting in line for the Ladies' room (since there's ALWAYS a line) and this was a hefty line. Quite long, and definitely going out the door. But what happens? A woman just comes walking in and starts passing people in line and then goes, "oh wait, is there a line?" No, didn't you know? Standing in hallways at the airport is the new thing! It's the greatest hobby and you even lose weight too! BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Join now and you'll get a free bathroom break! OF COURSE THIS IS THE LINE YOU MORON!!!! I tell ya....I even had a girl tap me on the shoulder whilst we were in line and ask if this was the line for the bathroom!! No, I'm waiting in line to look in the mirror....WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE WOMAN?!?! Sweet heavenly porkchops...

So anyway, we finally got to St. Louis, got in the car, grabbed some delicious pizza on the way home, and now we're here. Laundry. Shower. Bed. It's so good to be home. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SHOVE IT UP YOUR NOSE!

Today we got up and left Tours (HURRAY! We didn't really like it there..) and got on the road back to Paris. Mom has finally gotten the hang of driving in France, as she now doesn't care if she cuts people off, gets in the way, or basically does whatever she wants. This is how all French drivers drive, so it takes some getting used to. But today, as we were leaving Tours, we realized our turn was on the left and we were on the right side of the road. So we had to make our way across 2 lanes of traffic rather quickly. Fortunately, Mom just went for it and responded to the honks with "EHH we're tourists, leave us alone!!" It was AWESOME. I died laughing naturally...There were also some cuss words strewn in there that I will spare you for the sake of the children. However, we were discussing how we could avoid using cuss words in our email/blog updates, and I told her about how at camp we have a song that goes "Brown squirrel, brown squirrel, shake your bushy tail. Take a peanut in your hands and SHOVE IT UP YOUR NOSE!!" So I told her that some of the counselors at camp would avoid cussing in front of the campers by saying "OH SHOVE IT UP YOUR NOSE!!" So that was the phrase of the day today, and it was HILARious...

Also on the road today we saw SNOW PLOWS. Now if you read my previous post from when we were in Paris last week and my comments on how they don't plow or shovel, this will make more sense. But we saw like 3 or 4 snow plows today plowing the other side of the highway! We both saw them at the same time and were like, "Oh my gosh..PLOWS!!" It was incredible.

So now it's time for some gratitude. The closer we got to Paris today, the more snow we saw. Apparently, the snow up here, and the rest of Northern Europe, as been creating a bit of mayhem for travelers the past couple days. However, we are determined to keep a positive attitude and know that we will have safe and harmonious travels today and tomorrow! So as we got closer to Paris and saw more snow, we started saying out loud that everything was going to work out and that we would be provided with everything we needed. Our plan was to go to our hotel first, check in and drop off our bags, then go fill up the gas tank and take the car back to the rental car place. Now parking in Paris is...interesting. Spots are non-existent and most people just make up their own spot by parking on the sidewalk or just double parking and wreaking havoc. So if necessary, we were prepared to do this just to unload, check in real fast, and then be on our way. So we made our way through the traffic, found our hotel, and there was a parking spot RIGHT IN FRONT of the hotel!! It was PERFECT!! We were super grateful!! So God in action #1. Now to #2. Find a gas station. If you haven't figured out, there is zero extra space in the city, therefore we thought we would have to go out of the city to find a gas station. So we looked on the GPS and there happened to be one less than a Kilometer away! We made it over there, filled up and payed without a hitch! Gratitude moment #2. Then we had to get back to the rental car place, which is in a much more populated part of the city, about 10 minutes from where we were. Also, since there's no space, the rental car office is in a different location than the cars. Now, the GPS knew where the office was, but didn't direct us to the parking garage where the cars were stored, which is where we needed to go. But once we made it to the office, we were able to find the garage without a hitch and returned the car no sweat. Gratitude moment #3. At this point, we were planning to take the metro back to our hotel, and I had been looking ahead of time to find where the closest stops were to where we were, and where out hotel was. But the station we were going to was a big station with lots of different lines all crossing each other, which can be pretty confusing. But in the snowy slush, we made it to the metro and found the right line with ease. We made it back to our hotel without a problem and were dancing in the elevator because we were SO HAPPY about how it all worked out!! It really couldn't have been any more perfect and we are SO GRATEFUL!! What could have been a pretty stressful situation turned out to be such a smooth transition. HURRAY!! So now we are knowing that everything tomorrow with our flight will just be a continuation of the smoothness that we have experienced today! DONE. :)

I also wanted to comment on the car that we rented this past week. It was a Peugeot something-er-other, some kind of station wagon type with a hatch back. Basically it was the smallest thing we could get that had an automatic transmission, and for France it was still a good size car. We definitely wouldn't have wanted anything bigger. But as for this car's transmission, technically mom didn't have to manually shift, but boy oh boy you could feel the car shifting. It was just like mom was actually shifting, the same lull for the clutch and the jolt into the next gear. So when we would be speeding up to merge on the highway, it took WAY longer than a US automatic car because you had to wait for the car to awkwardly shift. Anyway, we started calling it by name saying "C'MON BESSIE!! YOU CAN DO IT!! GO! GO!" Oh man, it was so funny. So the car was officially dubbed "Bessie". We loved that car, but mom was ecstatic to give it back today because that meant no more driving in France! Well, I think she was more grateful to not be driving in Paris more than just France in general.

So anyway, we're off to the airport tomorrow to head back to the States! It's been a fantastic 2 weeks and we have had a blast, but we are definitely ready to be home. But everything will work out tomorrow with the weather and the plane! Keep a good thought for us! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bathroom Nemesis

Bonsoir! Today was our second to last day in France! And what a lovely day it was...

Since we were on a schedule yesterday with the tour, we decided to take our time and do whatever we wanted today with no rules. So we woke up late, ate breakfast late, and got going late. *Sigh*...delightful.

So yesterday on our tour we stopped for lunch in the town of Amboise, naturally where the Amboise castle was...the logic is astounding. Whilst stopped for lunch, we discovered an amazing little creperie/restaurant that not only had fantastic food and was inexpensive, but they spoke ENGLISH!! HUZZAH!! So especially after our little dinner fiasco last night, we decided we would make it easy on ourselves and go back to this cute little town and restaurant. However, we had eaten breakfast right before we left, and the only two things on our agenda for the day were lunch at this place and then there was one other castle I wanted to see, but in the opposite direction. So, to kill time before lunch we just started driving down little winding roads outside of Amboise and it was so pretty! Cute little farm houses, vineyards (brown since it's winter, but still cool), pretty farm fields, and all kinds of pretty stuff. Mom and I found out that we both really love just driving around and seeing what's around, so that's what we did and loved it all. Then we headed back to lunch, which was DELICIOUS, and then made our way back towards Tours and then on to the other castle.

This other castle, Usse as they call it, was the inspiration for the story "Sleeping Beauty," and being the Disney connoisseur that I am, I really wanted to see it. So an hour later, after lots of adorable towns and pretty countryside, we made it to the castle only to find out that it was closed!! BUMMER! I mean, I didn't really need to go inside anyway, after yesterday and all the castles I've realized that most of them look pretty much the same on the inside. So I wasn't all that distraught about not getting inside the place, but I would've liked some access to the grounds to get better pictures! But oh well, we could still see it outside the gated area that was closed, so I still got SOME pictures...just not as many as I would've liked. However, there was another problem with the place being closed...

I REALLY needed to go to the bathroom. Great.

Now, the town that Chateau Usse is in is not a bustling metropolis. There was a public bathroom that is probably used quite often in the summer when there are hordes of tourists. However, today I think we saw a total of 10 or 15 people, so when we found the public bathroom is was padlocked shut. Perfect. Then we saw a super market. But alas, the woman wouldn't let me use it. Mom was annoyed, "SHE has to go to the bathroom somewhere! It's not like she doesn't go all day, why won't she just let us use hers for god's sake!" I would've found this a lot funnier if I wasn't about to burst. Then we came upon a church, I figured that at least the people of God would have mercy on a poor, full-bladdered soul and let me use their facilities. But alas again, the doors were locked and God didn't open a window...curses. I even walked to what looked like a port-a-potty, only to find out is a was a recycling collection bin-thingy. FOILED AGAIN! So, I decided that I thought I could make it to the next town, about 10 minutes away. My soul was dying slowly on the inside, but I didn't really see what choice I had unless I wanted to join someone's cow out in the pasture. Pass. So we started driving and in the next town we saw another public bathroom. PRAISE THE HEAVENS!! We stop and walk over and see an open room with urinals, but the two doors apparently holding the toilets were LOCKED!!! At this point I was about to just "go" all over the locked doors and be like "YOU BROUGHT THIS UPON YOURSELVES!!!!" But then we saw a bar across the street and Mom was like, I will buy some tea or something, and they will HAVE to let us use their bathroom. So we went inside and a lovely French gentleman provided us with a bathroom and tea. And it was blissful....

Apparently France is my arch nemesis when it comes to bathrooms. Now I know.

So after our bathroom debacle, we kept driving and saw some more countryside and some more castles along the side of the road (yes, really. Castles just spring up on the side of the road, pretty awesome) and then decided to head back to Tours. We've been jones-ing for some Italian food so earlier today we made a mental note of where the Italian restaurants were so we could drive there, and then drive back to our hotel to park for the night. However, we needed to stop by the hotel first for some reason that I can't actually remember. But upon our arrival in town, we discovered that the traffic was HORRENDOUS. And traffic in French towns/cities isn't like traffic in the States. It's like cramming an interstate during rush hour into the tiny confines of a back alleyway, and then throwing in every pedestrian in Manhattan with a dash of mystery since we still don't know the town all that well. Basically I think mom would have curled up into the fetal position, started rocking back and forth and muttering to herself had the steering wheel not been in the way. So it was a little stressful. Although her cussing was hilarious. Anyway, so we decided to go straight to the parking garage and not venture forth to the Italian restaurant. Instead we went and got some sandwich stuff from the grocery store and retreated to our hotel room for a movie on my computer. It was kind of like when a woodland animal gets freaked out and retreats into it's cave never to be seen again..only the cave has wifi. Pretty sweet.

So that was our day, we both highly enjoyed it. Tomorrow we head back to Paris for one night and then Monday we head home! So tomorrow will probably be my last France blog post, but don't worry I will keep blogging even AFTER I get back from France! I know, I know, it's almost too much. Don't hyperventilate or anything from the excitement, just STAY CALM!

Ok, now to end on a quick funny story that I forgot to tell about last night's "dinner in english" hunt. So hopefully you read last night's blog post about our meal issues, if not I encourage you to go read it before reading this one. It will make more sense. So anyway, we're tired, hungry, frustrated beyond all reason, and ready to kill some french people if we see one more menu with no english descriptions. Did I mention we're frustrated? Because we were really frustrated. So anyway, as I said last night, there were only two restaurants we found that DID have english "subtitles" if you will, and one just had some really weird food on the menu, and the other was a Lebanese restaurant. Now, I don't really know Lebanese food very well and I've never been to a Lebanese restaurant before, so we kind of ruled that one out at the beginning. Then we found this other place that had the really weird food that didn't sound appetizing at all. So we were stuck between something that just sounded terrible and something that I wasn't all that familiar with. So we were standing outside the Lebanese place re-looking at the menu and the owner opens the door and goes "Bonsoir!" We look at this man, with all of the previously mentioned emotions written all over our faces. I can't manage any response right away, and all Mom can say is "Does anyone speak english in there?????" To which the man replies, "Yes, with pleasure!" then my mom goes "PRAISE GOD!!!!" and we walk right in. I found this HILARious... Because 1. if you don't know my mom, that's a really weird reaction to the answer to that question, plus it's just so American of her. 2. My mom is just weird, so it was funny. Anyway, we had a good laugh about that at dinner, which was DELICIOUS, and carried on our merry way. So that's my funny story du jour, I hope you all enjoyed it. Stay tuned for tomorrow's final France post!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rule #1

CHATEAUX GALORE!!!

Today was the day of our Loire Valley chateaux tour!! It was really fun and all the castles were super cool. It was a long day though (9am-6pm) and we are tired once again. The castles we went to were:
Chenonceau


Amboise


Cheverny


and Chambord


They were pretty incredible. Although after the first couple, the insides of them all start to look pretty similar. Over the top tapestries, furnishings, portraits, and the like. I just loved the diversity of the exteriors. The contrasting architectural styles were amazing and I loved when two or three different styles were used in the same building. I sound like such a nerd, but whatever. I thought it was cool :)

What was really crazy was the size of these places. The first three were all similar in size, big but not insanely huge. Kind of like those HUGE houses you see in really rich areas of the country. Maybe like some of the houses you might see in the Hamptons where you look at them and you're like, "how could those people POSSIBLY use all that space? That house is HUGE!!!" That's kind of house big the smaller castles were. But Chambord, the last one, was just beyond comprehension. It's the largest castle in France next to Versailles. But with Versailles, the style of the building just makes it look big because the whole thing is kind of square and normal looking. Chambord looks just as big, but actually looks like a real castle. This place is just MASSIVE! The grounds of this castle are the size of Paris proper. The grounds are the size of the CITY OF PARIS!!! Ridiculous. It's just so, so big, and guess what it's purpose was? A hunting lodge. It wasn't even a permanent residence!! As we heard today, it's amazing the French Revolution didn't come sooner than it did. The amount of money that was put into this place is just crazy and then the king that built it only spent 29 nights there in his entire life. What a WASTE! I mean it's beautiful, don't get me wrong. But good gravy, just thinking about all the people he could've helped with that money instead! Like I said, the French Revolution could have come much sooner...

Funny story from Castle hopping today:

So I decided before we came on this trip that if anyone ever offered to take mom and my picture together while we were at some tourist attraction, that I would definitely say no. I have heard too many horror stories about theft to let someone else be holding my camera. No one would touch it except mom or myself. End of discussion. This was going to be Rule #1.

So today, at the first castle we visited (Chenonceau) mom and I were walking through the gardens and she went one way and I went the other. I wanted to go to one corner of the garden to get a better pictures of the castle (funny how most of my blog is about going random places so I can pictures...) and this guy has been walking behind us, and was now walking behind me. These are pretty big gardens (I mean it is a castle.) so it feels kinda weird that he's just walking behind me for a really long time. There are a couple other people around, so I'm not completely freaked out, but it just feels weird. So I get to the other corner and get some good pictures, and then I look around a little bit and start to head back. Right as I start walking, this same guy comes up and asks if I would be so kind as to take his picture in front of the castle. This has happened to us a lot over our time here so I oblige without hesitation. I take one shot (it's obviously a good one:)) and then hand his camera back to him, ready to take off. Then he asks, "Would you like me to take your picture? You know, to return the favor?"

MIND STARTS MOVING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT.

"Oh no this is rule number one I am NOT supposed to let anyone touch my camera I decided this before we even got here but he's going to think I'm totally rude if I say no I mean what type of person doesn't want their picture in front of a castle well I did just look around that direction is gated off so he couldn't run that way and this way is a really narrow little bridge and he's wearing a backpack so I could probably grab him if he made a run for it and this third way is back towards everyone else and they would totally notice him sprinting away from a girl screaming and running after him plus I just learned a ton of self defense moves so after I caught him (since he'll be slow from his backpack) I could totally take him down but if I DID take him down what if he fell on my camera and broke it then I'd be PISSED."

"Sure!" I told him. I handed him my camera and explained how to use it (it's amazing how many people have no idea how to use a camera with a view finder these days, it's like cameras have always had LED screens...) and take a few steps back. Then he fumbles with it, takes a picture or two and says something about it not focusing. I'm like, oh I KNOW it's focusing pal. I can hear it and see it rotating around, what are you playing at? So I go over and take a look and the pictures are totally in focus so I tell him it's fine, and I start to take my camera away. Then he asks if I want a picture in front of the garden too "It's so beautiful with all the snow!" Yeah. right. Me: "No thanks! It's fine with just the castle, thanks anyway!" Him: "Ok, well see ya" Me: "BYE!" And I hoof it outta there. Whew...crisis averted. Although he DID have an Australian accent. At least he had THAT going for him..


So anyway, have I mentioned that Tours isn't that great? Because Tours really isn't that great. I like Paris way better than Tours, and I like the country better than Paris, so you can see where that puts Tours. At the bottom of the happy list. The castle tour today was fantastic, but the city pretty much stinks. Although this is only from the perspective of a tourist. If you lived here as a French person it would probably be just fine, but they make ZERO effort to accommodate tourists here. ZERO. Now, you'd think that for a town within the limits of a region that has the most castles concentrated in one area in all of Europe, that you'd be used to, and ready for, a good amount of tourists. Apparently not. Yesterday when we got here we walked around for probably a good 20 minutes trying to find a restaurant with an english menu. (Meaning that there are english descriptions under the french descriptions of each item on the menu) None to be found. But we figured we just didn't know the area well enough yet, and that we were probably looking in the wrong spot. False. Tonight, after getting back from our castle tour, we walked around for 45 MINUTES, in the area of the city that is filled with restaurants, and only found 2 places that had an english menu. Also, it wasn't like we just ran across one restaurant every 4 minutes or something, there were restaurants EVERYWHERE. We probably looked at like 30 restaurants and none of them had english menus. We were about to go insane. We even walked into an Irish pub-looking place just because we saw the word "Irish" in english and hoped for the best. But alas, the bartender spoke great english, but they didn't serve dinner. Foiled. Basically we're just tired of this town and we're ready to head back to Paris where they at least speak a LITTLE english...good gravy.

So anyway, tomorrow we're on our own and were planning on roaming around the countryside as much as possible and staying out of Tours if we can. But it's supposed to snow so we'll see if the roads are passable. Since they don't plow anywhere, things could be messy. We'll see what happens! Btw, is anyone still reading this? I feel like people have gotten bored and stopped reading...if you're still out there gimme a shout! (Pal I know you are, don't worry) :)