Guillaume’s cousins came and met us at the show in the evening. They were very nice and their 11 year old daughter has just begun learning english and had a great time trying to talk to me and teach me French. She is really quite bright. I like her. After the air show the three of us headed back to the house and piled into the car with Cathy (said Kat-tie, the french language doesn’t have the “th” sound) and Lulu (aunt and daughter) and headed to Disneyland village for dinner. Lulu’s favorite place is Planet Hollywood and that is where we ate. It was about the same as in the US, but the waiter called me Darling every single time he spoke to me, drove me a little crazy, but I think he was trying to be nice. After that we came home and went to bed, very sunburned!
Sunday we spent the day at the cousins' house that met us at the air show. They cooked us a big lunch and had a nice warm pool for all of us to swim in. Guillaume and I had a great time playing with their kids and trying to keep the two dogs (one was Cathy’s and one was theirs) from running each other into the ground. Overall it was a really nice day and we had a good time just hanging out with them and eating way too much.
Monday Guillaume got up very early and worked on his thesis so it was ready for his meeting in the afternoon with his advisor
. After spending so much time in the sun the two days before and drinking some while we were at it, getting up so early was a little difficult, but he did it. He had a good meeting with his advisor that said his thesis was good enough for it to go to the commission. This was very exciting news, because the commission met on Friday of this week. While Guillaume was with his advisor I was at his uncle's place. We did some grocery shopping and generally just hung out. In the evening when Cathy got home, us girls went out and went shopping. I got a new bathing suit and a pair of sandals that I could walk in. I brought a pair of flip flops with me, but with the amount of walking I do here they just give me blisters.
Tuesday Guillaume and I picked up the car we decided to rent. We were very lucky because it turned out one of Guillaume’s other aunts works at a car rental place and she was able to give us a very good deal on a car for two weeks. It was amazing to us to have a car that was nice and worked! After we picked up the car we went to his Dad’s house and got all of the rest of our stuff and brought it to his uncle's place.
Wednesday we decided since we had a car and things were moving with Guillaume’s thesis we would take a road trip from June 30 to July 10 and visit many of the places we didn’t get to because we had no car
. So we spent a lot of time planning our route. Also after about a week of contemplation and looking over the details we realized that Guillaume would not defend his thesis until September which meant my visa would expire long before then. Also realizing that Ramadan falls in August this year, meaning Morocco would be mostly closed for the month I would be there we made the decision I would fly back to the US to get my long stay visa at the end of July. Because we came to this decision we were also busy buying and changing plane tickets. Guillaume will be staying in France while I am in the US waiting on my visa. After dealing with all that we ran out to run some errands. We stopped at a book store and I bought the first Sookie Stackhouse novel for Lulu along with finally buying more minutes for the cell phone we are using here.
Thursday we got up early, but didn’t leave early to head out on our road trip. Our first stop was going to be Colmar to stay with friends that we haven’t seen for 6 months or so. We were lucky enough that Pascal lent us an extra GPS that he had. So we had a good time driving through the country and just taking in the scenery. We first stopped in Vitry-le-François for lunch. We ate in a very nice square by the City church. The weather was wonderful and everything was very pleasant. We stopped next in Nancy. It's known for its Macarons and Madeleines
. Unfortunately, because it's not the tourist season right now (August is) their boulangeries weren’t making anything from scratch so we didn’t get to try any. The city is also known for its center square. It's quite ornate so we took a few pictures. We visited a park that was just pass the square and stopped to share a crêpe. After that we got back on the road and headed towards Strasbourg. Guillaume wanted me to see his Engineering school that was in the nearby town of Illkirch-Graffenstaden (the names are long in the region). After that we headed to Colmar. Colmar is a smaller nice town. Our friends just moved into their apartment (like four days ago). The building is nice and they are very centrally located.
Friday we got up early and headed straight to the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. It's a castle that lays between Colmar and Strasbourg. I had been there once before but about 10 years ago. A lot of work has been done on it since. It was originally built in the 12th century and then destroyed in the 14th and rebuilt in the 17th and then left to ruins shortly thereafter. In the 19th century the rebuilding of the castle began and has been continuing since. It's interesting because within the region red sandstone is used to build buildings like this instead of a more traditional granite gray stone. We spent a few hours reading about the history and walking the grounds
. Then we got back in the car and headed to Strasbourg. I am a fan of Strasbourg. It's still a large city but still small enough that you feel like you can get to where you need to without needing a car or being overwhelmed by people. Also the style of the city is something I like more than that of Paris. We first got lunch when we arrived and then headed to Guillaume’s university to pick up his diploma. Unfortunately the office he needed was closed so we headed back to the downtown and walked to a section called Petite France. It's the older part of the city surrounded by the river. It was very nice and pretty. Then we walked back to the downtown to see the Cathedral. It's made completely out of Sandstone and very ornate and large. The stain glass within is extremely detailed and the organ ridiculous. The Cathedral is quite high, it actually used to be the world's tallest building from the mid-17th to the mid-19th century. After spending the afternoon in Strasbourg we came back to Colmar for one more night. We had a nice dinner with our friends and slept well. For the map of our road trip click here
Saturday morning we got up early and got ready to go to Bourget which is one of the largest Air shows in the world. Nicolas came to where we were staying and we got a ride from Pascal (Guillaume’s uncle) to the train station. It was just a short ride to the city of Bourget and then a short walk to the Airport and Museum were the show was being held. We spent all day at the air show. We walked through all the halls which had exhibits from Countries and Companies. Most of them held no interest for me, but there was a few engines on display and some landing gear. Outside there were planes of all shapes and sizes. They had two Airbus 380’s and a few fighter jets that were cool. Beyond the walking around there was the actual flying demonstrations. I think the most impressive was the Airbus 380 just because it was so big and looked like it shouldn’t be able to fly let alone do a tight turn. The other fun part was the fighter jets, simply because of the acrobatics that they were capable of doing.