Tuesday, March 3, 2015

La reine des neiges

(La reine des neiges= title of the movie Frozen in French)

It's so hard to know where to start! I just spent the last 10 days having an incredibly busy and incredibly amazing vacation. In the last week and a half, I made it to Geneva and Lausanne in Switzerland, and Annecy, Gap, Nancy, Strasbourg, Paris, and more in France.

I flew into Geneva the day after my intensive Hebrew class ended, with my fingers crossed that I would remember French after studying Hebrew for five hours a day ;)

The reason I came to France (not that I ever need a reason...) was to visit the one and only David Rubino. His aunt and uncle live very close to Geneva, but on the French side of the border. Along with David's parents, we stayed at their house for two days. They live in a little village in the Alps called La Motte. You can see Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, from their backyard.

The day I arrived, it was a beautiful sunny day. The next morning, when we wanted to do some tourism, we woke up to grey skies. And it didn't take long for the rain to turn into beautiful fluffy snow! I was in heaven, since my winter has been completely deprived of snow. Yes, even in Wisconsin over Christmas. I'm still bitter about that.

I wanted to see a new city in Switzerland, so my French hosts offered to take me to Lausanne. David's uncle Xavier is originally French, but spent most of his life in Switzerland (and he LOVES Switzerland!). So Xavier was our official tour guide. We rode in the car with him and he taught me things about Switzerland on the way there. I also got to experience a Swiss accent in French for the first time :)

By the time we got to Lausanne, the snow was really coming down. I took lots of lovely pictures of Lausanne in the snow, but unfortunately the whole time my memory card wasn’t in all the way and so those pictures are trapped on my camera. I don’t have the cable to get them off. Here’s the few pictures I do have that I took after fixing my camera.

Basically we walked around the city center, stopped in the cathedral, and then ate a quick lunch before starting the snowy drive home. It was fun to watch the blizzard all the way back, although I’m definitely glad that I wasn’t the one driving on those mountain roads.

Here’s the aftermath of the snowfall in Marcelle and Xavier’s backyard. I love winter.

Later that night more of their family came over for dinner. It was a little overwhelming to try to speak French to all of those people, but I gave it a shot.

The next day, Sunday, we said goodbye to Marcelle and Xavier and started the drive back to David’s home town. We stopped in Annecy on the way there. Annecy is a very pretty town in France, close to Switzerland, that’s surrounded by the Alps. I actually went there almost 10 years ago (!!!) in November of 2005, on my first trip to France with the Porchers.

We went to sacrament meeting in Annecy, and then walked around the town. It reminded me of Strasbourg a little bit because of the river running through town.

For nostalgia’s sake, here’s a picture of me, Jenna, and Claire and François Porcher in Annecy in 2005. I think we’ve all changed just a little bit since then. :)

We also walked around Lake Annecy.

I have to mention the lunch I ate in Annecy because it was delicious. The region we were in was Savoie, which happens to be the region of fondue. I shared cheese fondue with David’s mom and I loved it! Bread and cheese: no better meal for Marissa.

After Annecy we continued our drive down south to Gap, France and made one more stop to visit another aunt and uncle in another town that was way up in the mountains near Grenoble. We arrived chez les Rubinos a few hours later.

On Monday, David gave me a little tour of his home town. It was fun, since I got to show David around my home town of Germantown last summer! I liked the mountains and the colorful buildings. The south of France is a lot more colorful than the north. 

We also drove around outside of town a little bit to see the mountains. 

Town of Embrun:

Town of Savines: (taken on my phone from the window of a moving car- not bad!)

And speaking of mountains, here’s the mountain view from David’s house.

For lunch, we got to eat authentic Italian food at David’s uncle’s restaurant. His dad is from Sicily, and his dad’s brother has an Italian restaurant in Gap.

That night for family home evening/soirée familiale, I was privileged to see some home videos. I quite enjoyed hearing a certain little 4 year old French boy chatter away. For example, “Tu sais ce que c'est??”  :)

We got to have a lazy morning the next day before starting our journey to northern France. David’s parents drove us to the train station in Grenoble, and then we spent the whole afternoon on the train traveling to Nancy.

That concludes my time in the Alps! It was a very fun, picturesque few days. 

Je veux remercier la famille de David pour leur hospitalité- merci pour tout!

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