Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Weekend excursion: four countries in three days


I always thought baguettes were essentially the world’s most delicious white bread, empty calories of crunchy goodness. I couldn’t have been more wrong, according to this document: the baguette wrapper from yesterday’s "pique-nique":

Rough translation: basically, a child of 2 to 6 years should get about half a baguette per day, increasing the dosage to a full baguette for adolescents.

I’m just back from a three-day weekend in and around northeastern France, where my best shot at internet access was when the proprietress at my hotel offered to let me use her computer at the front desk. A kind offer, to be sure, but can you imagine blogging with an impatient French lady standing over your shoulder?

After three weeks of playing the dopey, monoglot American in Poland and Germany, I was delighted by the profusion of serviceable tourist French spoken by my own lips. Okay, perhaps not so impressive to you educated multilingual types, but I’m a guy who would normally spend weeks brushing up my high school French before traveling to France, and even then be hesitant to use it.

This trip was totally spur of the moment – one of the joys of living in EC/EU Europe where crossing national borders has become less of a formality than crossing from Arizona into California. You just see signs welcoming you. And because we were searching for World War II sights in and around the Ardennes Forest, we were actually in four countries – France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany – this weekend.

Anyway, I guess I’d been unconsciously practicing my French in the back of my mind, because I’ve never felt so comfortable getting around in France as now – even though my French kind of sucks.

More on this delightful weekend shortly.


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