A Travellerspoint blog

french farm

wwoof!

semi-overcast 11 °C

bonjour!
what a week! sorry i havent written in a while, but eh! what can u do when ur having an adventure!!!

so i think i went over the basics before, and there are actually about 35 les vaches- cows, and i officially know how to milk them all!!!! you start with telling the dog (la loup- the wolf) to tu vas les vaches! and she pretty much rounds them up! o! i forgot the outfit- a sweet jumpsuit w some lovely merdekickers!! ok, so you get all the cows in this small area and they magically line up to be milked. After wiping down the udders, you have to pre milk them. This is when i really feel like a farmer because i actually milk them! After milk starts coming out i plug them into this vacuum thing and away they go! Pretty cool!

So the first couple days i got here were pretty interesting- im happy i can speak the amount that i can, but i am really lost most of the time, thankfully another wwoofer came (isa- ironic, no?) from boston who speaks fluently and has really helped me out! Im going to be really sad when she leaves because she has been really fun to work with.

I think one of the first days manon asked if i wanted to go to the circus… of course i couldn’t say no, so we rode our bikes about 10 mins to a very small tent in a parking lot. It was frickin adorable. It was a family- the mom sold tickets and ballons, the dad was the clown; and their 2 daughters did all the acts- juggling, balancing, rodeo roping hula hooping, pretty much everything! All throught the show they kept on teasing the audience ( of about 20 people) that there was going to be an elephant! So at the end they took to small boys, had them croach down and put an elephant costume over them- it was very adorable!!! Then the clown held the trunk and pulled them around until they fell over!! Everyone was laughing it was really amazing! I loved it when the girls came out and struck a pose, mostly because of the hairy armpits! It made me giggle!!!

The next morning i got up and started making bread! They have a very cool bakery and with another guy neiull (a neighbor) we kneaded bread for about 2 hours. When all the petit loaves were good (including plain; chocolat, poppy, sesame, walnut, gluten free, and bacon) neuil started the fire in the stone oven. He starts by throwing a ton of wook in until its mostly embers, then he opens a hole the size of a pie plate and with a special tool scrapes all of the super hot embers into the lower oven. After; he takes a rag on a pole and swings it around to clean off the oven. And finally we put the bread in!

And the chocolate bread is heaven sent.

So other things ive been up to… moving hay for the cows ( i get to use a sweet pitch fork and everything!) giving the baby cows milk, petting kittens, having siestas, its all pretty sweet!

Weve been to a couple town the last couple days, laval and another one, very fun to walk around, have a coffee and a crepe, munch on pasterys from the patisserie- life is good!

So TODAY we went to mont st michel. It is gorgeous- very breath taking! Its this huge island with a church/ monastary at the top and a village circling it below- very cute! The parking was pretty funny! Since its an island on the ocean there is a crazy tide. There was a sign that said: at 19:00, all cars here will be covered by the sea. Oh.

So i have pictures but this computer is as slow as a stubborn cow- so it might be a while on those…

After that we went to st. Malo. I think it was even prettier than mont st michel. There was this HUGE beach with jagged rocks, parasailors, chateauxs, and on the other side there was a walled midevil city zith twisting streets and cobblestones through little alleys- truly a fairy tale! So of course me and isa #2 had coffee and crepes! Food time!!

The crepe was perfection: carmelized peaches cut into thin slices with a sweet cherry jam, some type of liquor, folded and on top was real whipped cream and a small scoop of heavenly ice cream. Mmm my mouth is watering!!

So i just remembered another food thing- nieull invited isa and i to his house the other night to roast chestnuts! Of course we said yes!

We started the night with a glass of (homemade) walnut wine while we nibbled on organic carrots with homemade blue cheese dressing, onion and ham on a thing pastry, and little bits of quiche. Then (litterally over an open fire) we took the chestnuts sliced them with a knife so they wouldnt explode and roasted them- they were delicious!! Almost salty on the outside and sweet right in the center. After more wine came the desserts. Let me just start by saying this: god bless the french- all of them.

These wonderful people had not one but 4 desserts: the first was a sort of sweet milk rice which taks about 8 hours to cook and had a flavor indescribable, the first bite actually took my breath away- i am serious. After was a carmelized apple tart. Beautiful to look at and eat! And after that was little pears that had been marinating in some sort of liquor and berry sauce, amazing. And last but not least was really something that ive never seen before. It was long strips of sugary wet candy with some natural fruit essence. Again took my breath away.

Hmm other food! Oh gallett! We make them on Friday after the big bread day ( pretty much the bread thing i said before except times 3). They are like crepes with a less sweet flour. Once made u put them on a frying pan and crack an egg over it and add a ton of cheese mushrooms and leeks- yummm!!!

So i might have said before everything is organic here, which is really healthy! Speaking of health, ive been sick ever since i got here- it started with stuffy nose (since then iùve learned a new vocab word from manon- ronfler or to snore) then went right dozn my throat. Since my host mom is into homeopathic stuff ive been drinking a lot of pretty crappy tasting mystery drinks with tastes mixed like- bad milk, citrus, and pure salt. Not so good, but i can only hope it will make me better!!

The kids are pretty funny, natan is adorable, and his smile will light up a room. Manon is a wild child zith a head full of mischief. Ill be looking for my dictionary and shell magically find it under her dresser.. merci manon…. Or onetime she just decided to take my pillow for the night. I got it back eventually, but still a bit frusterating. But she hasnt found my hidden stash of chocolate yet! Muah ha ha!!!

Ok! Tomorrows a bread day! Much love to all of you!
Pics will be up eventually, but dont hold your breath!
Maryme

Posted by MaryP 13:38 Archived in France Comments (0)

2 blogs in one day!

im in france!

overcast 4 °C

bonjour!
so if u thought my spelling was bad before its about to get worse! the french key board is a mess! the a is a q and the m is a ,! so i spell my name as ,qry! yikes!

so sad to say goodbye to betty! but arriving in france was pretty sweet! (sry for all the !, i have yet to find the period key!) even on the metro in paris i had to giggle outloud! IM IN PARIS!!! ahhh! i had a short time before my next train left and i had a mission- to find a winter coat! i found one, its not that cute, but it will do the job! i also had time to eat a french crepe, why? because i can!

i arrived at the farm near brittany yesterday, and i surprised myself how much french i know, i cant understqnd a lot of the things people say around ,e but i hear words, and can get my point across! the first day i met the family, phillipe and marie-laure, and the kids- natan and manou, they hqve 70 cows, a pig, random cats, maybe a horse, but my favorite- a border collie!!! a lot smarter than cassie, but its nice to have something fa,iliar around! so everything is organic here (even the toilet) they make their own bread out of their own flour, ect! the first thing i did was feed the baby cows milk, and yes- it is adorable! today i even milked the cows! (w/ a machine!) i also kneaded a ton of dough 4 bread that they cook in a brick oven!

this is such a community place! everyone comes and helps out here! i love it!

ok! the keyboard wins!
till next time!
,qry

Posted by MaryP 12:37 Archived in France Comments (0)

FINALLY

and the adventures continue!

snow

wow- its been non stop and i haven't really had a chance to get to a computer for a while, so, where am i right now? more on that later!

So i left off midway through Berlin, history, yadada... don't get me wrong, i loved Berlin- its one of my favorite cities, but i need to catch u up on everything!

WE went to Potsdam which is about 20 mins from Berlin to see the beautiful castles/palaces, these were amazing! there was a whole room with walls covered in sea shells, and another with a gold spider web. it was kind of ridiculous what extravagance were in these places. They used to be the vacation home of king Louis the #? he was really, really rich. I sent a link with pictures and its all fountains, and just really cool houses in general. It was Isa and i plus a girl we met from Quebec- Lisa Marie. awesome girl i really hope our path crosses again!

after Potsdam we came back to the Berlin hostel and grabbed our stuff and had yet another night train to cologne. we got there, dead tired took a lovely nap! when we woke up we were talking about what to do. Then i remember passing a sign for the musical "we will rock you". I've been wanting to see that SO BAD! its with all queen songs! So we went hoping for REALLY cheap ticket because is was REALLY last minute and luckily we found them! Some guy sold it to us, (might have been illegal?) for 2 for 70! we later checked and the real price was 60 each! ya for saving money!! The whole theater was made for that particular musical and it was: AMAZING!! it was all in German, so isa had to explain some parts but the music was incredible- it sounded like the real thing! it was kind of a bad story line, i'll give a run through:

So- its set in the future where everyone is basically clones and robots, but a few people like classic rock which isn't really allowed. but what is REALLY illegal is instruments. so after some adventures they somehow realize that queen has hidden the instruments in a rock.

ok... so that’s pretty much the story. i little umm, simple but the music! so great! and the main character guy, i did not mind looking at...mmmm....

WE came back, dead tired, slept.....

the next day we went to the place that actually brought us to cologne: THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM!!! mmm!! It was really cool to see how they did everything, but my favorite part was the chocolate fountain! I really thought i heard angel music when i first set eyes on it! it was a large coco bean tree! the beans were in gold and chocolate was pouring out of the base, i was a bit disappointed that i couldn't eat the chocolate directly out of the fountain, but the wafers were a good substitute! There were a lot of cool things there, like the milka cow and just a lot of things to make funny pictures with!

that reminds me- sorry the pictures are so out of order, but i really don't have the time to sort through them all, maybe i will at some point, but not any time soon!

anyway, so then we went to the huge cathedral in cologne. its really huge. i mean- extremely big! i think it might be the 3rd or something biggest in the world!

I'm not much of a churchy person, but it was kind of nice inside, it took 700 years to build because they keep running out of money. that means theres a ton of different architecture styles going on. some parts were kind of creepy though. they had a lot of dead people in there. which i don't mind so much but instead of making sculptures of the deceased doing something, they actually made them dead and sitting on top of the casket. other than one guy who looked totally lounged out on top of the casket. he had an expression of complete boredom. definitely the coolest.

after that we walked around a bit. o! food description time:

So previous to coming to Europe i really didn't eat any meat. i started to have some before i came but not much.
... and then there was Germany.

amazing beautiful juicy sausages. holy crap. they are about a foot and a half long with a little bun you can use at a handle. they are delicious! but my favorite was in a potato soup. the sausage soaked up all the creaminess and shared its meat throughout the flavor of the soup. it was heaven.

yogurt is also really good here. who knew!

so that night we were hoping to just stay at the hostel like before, but there was a huge convention in town and the hostel was booked. we asked the guy at the desk if we could leave our luggage in the luggage room, and he was fine with it.
so that night we went out with this guy we met from the previous night. He was one of our roommates, very nice British boy! We walked through some sketchy parts of cologne where i had this guy come out of nowhere and sprint past me. I was so scared! but thankfully i survived! we finally found a Mexican bar after a long walk! We had some of the best nachos in the world. Ever since then I’ve been craving a dos amigos burrito from Dover!!! mm! December 6th i'm going to pig out!!!
It was a really nice bar, there was even a dog chilling out. He kind of scared me when he started licking my foot, but again, i survived.

We came back and were exhausted! we didn't really have anyplace to go, so we snuck down to the luggage room and slept there for about 3 hours. we also went into the lockers, so thats what those pictures are about! Then REALLY early we got up and Isa went back to her home and i went to AMSTERDAM!!!

i love Amsterdam. i want to live in Amsterdam. i almost wish i could speak dutch, so i could be an amsterdamian.

ok, so I’ve fallen in love with this city. I mean i liked Berlin for visiting, but Amsterdam i could see myself living there! but one of my favorite things about visiting there was that DAD was there!! YA!!! it was so nice to see some family because I’ve missed everyone!!! So i got back and i took a nice nap! (side note- i really think naps should be enforced everyday. i think in Spain they actually do it. for this reason and only this reason, i want to go to Spain).
So i think this might be a little out of sequence, but with dad after i woke up in the lovely hotel we went out and went to the van gough museum! it was nice, i'm not really an art person, BUT i was really excited about seeing this sweet picture:
http://www3.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/mmbase/images/7698
why, you may ask... because for odyssey of the mind one year we remade this same portrait completely out of llama wool!
so i saw the painting, got chills, but then everything else was eh. i think i was more impressed with the quantity rather than the quality.

after that dad and i stood in line for the the Heineken experience, but they closed right before. but thankfully in line there was a guy passing out newspaper books on Amsterdam and told us about boom Chicago.
boom Chicago is like mad tv, but it was an improv comedy called me, myspace and ipod. it was cute for the most part, the end got a bit creepy, but it was nice all the same!
the next day i got really sick and spent half the day in bed, i really needed some sleep! i woke up and then spent the second half of the day trying to find the Laundromat. after about 2 hours of carrying dirty clothes around to inexistent Laundromats, i gave up and asked one of those bike taxi people to take me there. we found it right away and had a nice chat on the way! when i came home dad and i went out for a canal cruise! it was so nice seeing all the lights!

i love Amsterdam so much! i love all the canals!
I feel like i'm forgetting something we did, but it was amazing!!

so before dad left we went to check out the hostel i was staying in the next night. its called the flying pig downtown. i walked in and it was a mess. pillows everywhere, a sign actually saying "no sleeping please" and about 15 people at their highest, sleeping.

i was a bit nervous, but thought- hey! its part of the adventure! so the next day after saying goodbye to dad (which sucked.) i got all my stuff and went to the hostel. THANKFULLY i had actually reserved my stay at flying pig UPTOWN not downtown. so i hopped on my bike and rode to the hostel which was right next to a lovely park with singing birds and not prostitutes (unlike the last one).

i didn't do that much that night, i went on the randy roy tour of the red light district. it was ok, lots of history, but it was mostly walking down sketchy alleys and the tour guide telling us what ethnicity of ladies we'd be walking by. i don't think i'd go again, but it was ok.

the next day i slept in and got up and bought my eurorail ticket!! finally! now for the next 2 months i can travel 5 days in France, Benelux, and Switzerland!!! so! i started the train ride of hell!

So France train workers decided to go on strike which left me stranded in a small town in Belgium. This was really crappy. I had no other train until later the next day and there wasn’t a cheap hotel anywhere. So.. I went to Luxembourg! I knew it was a bigger city, and we found a connection there (somewhat). So off to Luxembourg I went, planning on a 5 hour layover. So for the first 2 hours I slept in the arctic train station, but then at about 1am, the policeman kicked everyone out. So what do u do in Luxembourg when there is really no where to go? You go to a Portuguese bar! So I did that, stayed warm, got no sleep- but it kept me entertained!

Finally, my train left and I was on my way to Switzerland!! In total when I got there I hadn’t slept in about 40 hours, and I am sick of trains. But I’m here, so I’m happy!

I’ve also gotten to see one of the craziest people in the world: Betty! For those who don’t know she was an exchange student at my school, and like isa, we got pretty close. So she’s going to school here in winterthur!

She’s in a lovely apartment with 2 other international people, one from Bulgaria and another from Columbia. They are all so nice (as everyone in Europe is!) Her town in really cool because everything really old. It makes sense because nothing got destroyed in the war, so the old buildings stay old and gorgeous!

Hmmm, so my favorite food here is definitely the birchermuesli! Its pretty much amazing! Its almost like a parfait, except without the layers. It has yogurt, banana, apple, random berries, oats, and pretty much heaven. The oats make it really thick so its perfect even as a meal!

Betty’s been really busy with school, but she’s doing really well! She’s studying international management.

So I really wanted to cook her a meal, but I’m really clueless in the kitchen. But I still decided I’d at least try. So- I wanted to make bbq chicken. So we went to the store and barely found bbq sauce (it was bright orange, a little scary right?) and the chicken (I got 4 legs) and brought it home. So we let it marinate for a bit and then it was time to cook it. The only problem was that we had no clue how to use the oven. (something about matches next to gas?) but after a lot of tries, we gave up with the oven. SO! We tried it on the stove. Note to self- never cook a chicken leg on the stove- it doesn’t really work.
After about 30 mins, we decided it might be cooked, since the meat had turned a bit whiter than before.

We were wrong. It was extremely underdone, but we ate it anyway. Later that night we went to a party from her school (700 people there! Nuts!) but I got sick. So I chilled on the couch and talked to the people around. Thankfully, Betty was fine- and she even found a really nice boy! Ya!!

Yesterday, we walked around the city a bit, even had roasted chestnuts! Mmm! I can’t really buy a lot in Switzerland because its extremely expensive.

There is one thing I think I am going to have to purchase while I’m in Europe, and that is a winter coat. I was stupid enough and gave my old one to dad to bring back home, and after Amsterdam- its been freezing ever since. And today- ITS SNOWING!! Ahhh! I’m going to dress in a lot of layers, but I’m not sure if its going to be enough.

Tomorrow I’m heading for France! Yikes! I’m going to a farm near Laval? They don’t speak English, so the next 3 weeks should be interesting… who knows! But I get to take the really fast train there! I hope they don’t go on strike!

Ok~ until next time! I miss you all!
~Mary

Posted by MaryP 12:36 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

still so short

ok, another short one but heres pictures-
from germany and amsterdam
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v474/tofu4ui8/germany/

i'll write more later!
maryme

(and betty says hi!)

Posted by MaryP 05:51 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Oktoberfest and Berlin

Its been quite a while since i've written! sorry about that!

Sooo- i think i left of at just arriving at isa's house,

i went to school with her the next day, some parts were a little bad, but i had mzy book with me so all was fine. I thought english class was really funny, i had helped isa with most of her homework, and got a couple wrong. How does that work? I geuss shes learning British english, even her teacher had a british accent!

We then watched a german film that had supposedly won an oscar. It was about 2 hours, and there was no action. so it was pretty much people talking back an forth resulting in me have NO idea what was going on. But right at the end of the movie the last words were 'this is for me.' I looked at isa and said 'finally!' i understand!!! even though i didnt. She explained it to me, for the most part.

Its crazy, even though i'm not in school, i feel like i'm learning so much about german history after ww2. more on that later in this entry....

So next day, we got up at 3am and got on a train to munich for oktoberfest!. most slept part of the way. there were a lot of people dressed in the bavarian costume, pretty cool. i love leiderhosen. thats probably not even close to how you spell it, but sound it out. youll get it eventually. ok. so oktoberfest-

wow.

it was hard in the beginging because there were 5 of us, and it was EXTREMELY crowded, wall to wall people. I was in constant counting mode, but we didnt get too seperated.

After walking around a bit we decided to go on the huge ferris wheel. Each room fit about 10 people and you could see the whole fairground. Iäll definitly put up pictures of that (but not for a while).

so food, mmm.... i had a pretzel (or bretzel) first cause i had heard they were REALLY good, but i wasn't that impressed. But the crepe makes up for it- so much. it was a beautiful crepe with sliced bananas and nutella, i think it might be sent from heaven. it was right of the grill and at some points were so hot you just wanted to stuff it all in your mouth (and believe me, your mouth won't complain)

so 2 of the 5 had to leave at 5pm, so we sent them off, and the crowds were getting to be a little too much, so we walked around munich awhile, beautiful city with gorgeous fountain- just lovely!

then one more girl had to leave so it was me and isa. thats when the REAL oktoberfest began. It was so funny to see the progression of people from the begining to the end of the day. Mostly guys doing everything- peeing, streaking, dancing where there is no music, sleeping in random places, pretty hilarious! So my first beer was on this really cool mary-go-round, but instead of horses, it was a spinning bar. me and isa hopped on (it was REALLY crowded) and before we knew it some random guy bought us a drink! sweet! so we drank that then took the glasses (because we're that cool),

Later on we really wanted to go in a beer tent. this, we learned is impossible unless-
1- the table in the tent was passed on in your family for the last 3000 years,
2- you were suave enough to hand the guard a 50
3- i wish there was a 3rd, but theres not.

so, it was impossible.

we could see in though through the windows- it was complete chaos, everyone was going nuts.

soo, plan b, we went to a biergarden! probably a bit less chaotic then the tents, but barely so.

there was loud drinking music and everyone was singing and dancing and well, dancing on the tables. there was quite a lot of that. The good thing about drunk people is they come out of there shyzone. you can talk to people about ridiculous things, and nobody thinks any different of it. so at some point during the night i was surrounded by 5 guys who barely spoke a english having the time of my life. there was definitly a sweet 5 to 1 ratio of guys to girls and i didn't mind one bit. dancing, singing and a lot of laughing, it was so fun!

i didn't really drink that much, just a pint from the bar go round and i shared a mug with isa, (mostly for picture sake) even though we were at oktoberfest, i think it was good i knew what was going on, because it made it that much funnier to laugh at the drunks trying to remember how to say i love you in english, with no avail.

so at midnight me and isa hopped on a train (we actually had to switch 6 times) for 12 hours with very little sleep. we made it to berlin completely wiped out, and found the hostel with no problem (ya! small victory!) we crashed in the beds for a 3 hour nap, then we did the pub crawl. its this thing that goes to 5 bars, with a ton of people.

to summarize that experience- i'm fine with not even looking at a bar for a long, long time.

so today, after sleeping in, a lot, we had to switch rooms for booking reasons, so after that- we went to one of the only mueseums that were open, and it was, to be nice, stupid. i'm usually all into creative expression but it only had one 'piece of art' which was a grass thing. it was pretty much a box that grew grass squares on a conveyer belt. stupid, very stupid.

after we went to checkpoint charlie. Its a 'point'between east and west berlin durring the communist actions. i learned so much, it went into a lot of how people escaped the berlin wall.

crazy history, learned a lot, wicked tired, peace out!
°MARYme

Posted by MaryP 10:26 Comments (3)

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