Monday, May 21, 2007

Almost Done (really)

Don't worry, I'm nearing the end of The Vacation Tales.

Our last night in Italy was spent in Como, which was far nicer than the guidebooks would lead you to believe. Unfortunately, it was raining while it was light out, so we weren't able to get very impressive pictures. Then it was onward and upward through the alps into the heart of Switzerland again.
I can't stress enough how amazing Switzerland is. It has it's fair share of headaches (the parking! the prices!), but it more than makes up for them with its beauty. I've never done so much slack-jawed gaping in my life.
It was raining there on our second pass through, so I'm afraid there are no shots of the alps. Fortunately, Lucerne looks amazing regardless of the weather...

I keep hearing stories about how the Swiss are unfriendly, but that was absolutely not our experience. The people there really went out of their way to be helpful while we struggled with the typical tourist confusions. One woman actually paid our parking fee when the machine in the parking garage wouldn't accept our credit card and we didn't have Swiss Francs!

After Lucern we only had two days left before we needed to reach Paris for our flight home, so we pointed northwest and drove.
We spent the night in an unassuming town called Luneville in the coolest place we stayed in on the whole trip. We were just driving through a residential area en route to the center of town in the hope of finding a hotel, and we stumbled upon a house with one of those "Gites de France" signs on the gate. I had read about gites and have always longed to be the sort of savvy traveler who stays in them, but my sorry grasp of the language had always held me back before. My courage was greatly bolstered by the fact that we had recently had a couple challenging evenings trying to find hotels, so I bit the bullet and rang the bell. I'm really glad I did, because this was our room:

It was huge. The bathroom alone was bigger than most of the rooms we had stayed in on the trip, and the price was incredibly reasonable.

We were the first Americans to stay there, and I'm afraid I did little to improve our reputation as a nation of single-language-speakers. The wonderful woman who owned the place didn't speak English at all, but she was really friendly and communicative. My present-tense, no-irregular-verbs, charades-infused style of French was pretty entertaining to all.

The following day was spent in Nancy, which is known for its art nouveau architecture. We were disappointed to find out that their museum that specializes in art nouveau was closed - they're supposed to have a few fully furnished rooms in the style which are rather hard to come by. If you've never seen a full room of nouveau-ities that were designed as a set, it's pretty darn amazing. The ones I've seen have felt like being in the middle of an enchanted Hobbit forest.

We made do with walking around the the town and seeing some of the many nouveau exteriors scattered around.

I would love to go back and spend a couple days there in the future. It was one of those places that's an adventure to walk around because you never know what cool sight is going to spring up around the next corner.
One happy sight was a patisserie which yielded this bounty:

The deliciousness was indescribable, so I won't even try. I wanted to eat them all myself, but Davis made me share.

The following day it was back to the airport for the long trip home.
Check out the crazy tubes they send you through at Charles de Gaulle:

Here's a view from the plane, I think it's in the general area of Greenland:

Well that pretty much wraps up the trip. I do have a batch of photos of many of the creatures we saw, as well as a lot of pictures of relics and reliquaries (something of a fascination of mine), but this post is plenty long as it is. I'll spare you the eyestrain and save those for another time.


Anonymous Old comments saved from the HaloScan exodus said...

Somehow I can't see the pics! Wah!,I wish to see the gite and theNouvele-ness(and the pantomine!).I wish we had done the European vacation thing before children,we keep saying "maybe next year the littlest will be old enough",but really she needs to be 6 or 7 to manage AND appreciate. I think this summer its Boston and Salem ,and lessons on olde America.
jungle dream pagoda | Homepage | 05.22.07 - 10:04 am | #

So many gorgeous pictures. It must have been breathtaking.
jason evans | Homepage | 05.22.07 - 10:27 am | #

I can't see the pictures either, other than the one Art Nouveau exterior. I tried viewing on FireFox and IE ...
It *sounds* wonderful, though!
Julia Pequlia | Homepage | 05.22.07 - 12:58 pm | #

Wow! Beautiful pictures! Especially of the pastries. I'm going to go upstairs and have a chocolate cookie. And it's your fault that I'm eating it.
What did you do with Morris and Midge while you were gone? I imagine you didn't take them to France since the French looooove things like Lapin de Garenne a la Chipolata. Eh.
Julia Pequlia | Homepage | 05.24.07 - 1:17 am | #

The pictures have returned!
Julia - The bunnies were behaving badly at my dad's while we were away.A few years ago I probably would have even tried the rabbit stew, but this timeI felt bad every time I just saw rabbit on the menu (which was almost daily). My dad, on the other hand, was probably considering Morris-kabobs and a delicious plate of chicken-fried Midge. I'm happy to report that he actually did a great job taking of them, despite their indiscretions.
Petula | 05.24.07 - 9:57 am | #

Wowee! Love the pictures my dear. That Art nouveau exterior! The Pastries & Map! oh just everything. I want to tag along when you go
back...pretty please?
mary jane | Homepage | 05.25.07 - 9:13 pm | #

6:47 PM, August 22, 2007  

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