10 years ago – waiting in Zurich for our visas

10 years ago we had surrendered our Swiss visas in order to move to France. We went to the French consulate in Zurich, and, with stunning efficiency decided we needed to wait several days to get our French visas. The kicker…

  1. We had already closed up our apartment so we needed a hotel

  2. We were essentially stuck in Zurich for days without being able to leave*. Sure, we could wander the surrounding area but we had no formal proof we were okay to be in Switzerland as our passports were at the French consulate.

Needless to say when the person behind the glass window said “well it is August, maybe you get them back in two weeks” I considered a repeat of the attack on the Maginot line. Thankfully I realized that unlike the French Army the French Bureaucracy would never surrender and I better back down, make Bambi eyes, maybe get a kid or two crying (they were great), and just beg.

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  • I know, first world problems. I was a refugee of sorts, an illegal alien. But I knew at any moment I could head to the embassy and take my family out of there. While it was a weird feeling and not a lot of fun to be in Zurich when we wanted to move to Paris already… but not all that dramatic.

Cookham To Cannes: The South of France – Lobsters & Lunatics by Brent Tyler | Goodreads

Source: Cookham To Cannes: The South of France – Lobsters & Lunatics by Brent Tyler | Goodreads

This is a light, easy, quick book about failing miserably in England and moving to France. Interestingly enough it seems that most travel/moving/emigration books I pick up start with people being miserable in England and moving somewhere else. I’ve never lived in England; it must be pretty bad given the emigration books per capita.

But I digress. This book is a series of events being “guardians” (which sounds a lot better in French than in American English) on various properties in France. The owners are wacky, mean, and generally speaking insane. Also the owners are British which I guess continues the thread of people from England being miserable in one way or another.

Worth reading? Sure, if you’re looking for a lightweight, easy read between heavier things. I enjoyed it.

No More than a Litre of Wine a Day, recommends a 1950s French Sobriety Poster

via No More than a Litre of Wine a Day, recommends a 1950s French Sobriety Poster

Absolutely lovely post about wine and wine consumption in France. The pictures and artwork alone are worth the price of reading the article. And the article is fascinating:

  1. Wine was not the common French drink until World War I. A cheap *plonk* was supplied in the trenches.
  2. Wine as we know it today is not what wine has always been like. In the Medieval period wine was cheap, thin – fermented grape juice with none of the polish of the 20th century (although how they know this about Medieval wine is not clear)

If your New Year’s resolution was to drink less… perhaps this article will help clear things up. In vino veritas as they say.

Aux Marches du Palais

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Lovely lunch today. I did a bigger review on Yelp. Pictured here is one of my all-time favorite dishes… cornichon! Seriously, in some of the more classic bistros they still set out a little stoneware pot with tiny pickles in them. Usually this has some pate with it which this did but I missed it in the photo, doh!

Anyway, great little spot at 5 rue de la Munutention. If you are touring Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower perhaps, or anywhere in the 16th this is a good little lunch spot. You can get a lot worse food around Trocadero and the ambience here was great. Other than an Italian trio next to us (did they have an etranger ghetto?) everyone else was distinctly French.

Chateau d’Esclimont

For our anniversary this year we cycled 80 km from Paris to this lovely chateau. This is a place I have never heard mentioned before. I think for non-locals it’s just far enough away that a trip to Paris wouldn’t justify the time in a car. For locals perhaps it’s too close, if you have a weekend you can get to the beach or the coast. But for an overnight trip, especially on bikes, this was lovely.

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Off to Normandie

Small delay getting out the door today. We’re off to explore the beaches of Normandy with Bill & Sharon. Should be perfect weather: cold and rainy! Just like a family from Seattle usually holidays:-)