Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hiking along the Mediterranean

Chris, Jaclyn and I went hiking again on Wed in Luminy Woods. We love the ease of getting out there and how inexpensive it is (just a short bus ride there and back). Plus it's SO beautiful!

On this trip, we decided to hike down to the Mediterranean to be near the water. Most of the hiking path was flat concrete. However once you started going down towards the sea, the path became rockier and a bit more difficult for those not wearing hiking shoes. We also had to do some minor rock climbing at times to get down to the little secluded beach we found.

There were quite a few people out by the sea sunning, eating lunch, and just letting their kids play on the rocks. It was a gorgeous day to be there.

You can see our pics here

Jaclyn, Chris and I are going to look into hiking to Cassis (next town over from Marseille) if it's not too far of a hike. We could take a day and hike over there and take a bus back to Marseille. We will definitely have to do some more mini hikes to prepare ourselves...but it would be quite an adventure if we can do it.

We spent most of the afternoon out at Luminy. Not sure how many miles we actually hiked, but we were exhausted by the end of the day. It had felt like nothing getting down to the sea, but climbing back up-hill to the bus was slow going.

When we got back to our apartment, Chris cooked us walnut encrusted duck breasts with Spanish green beans and Jaclyn brought over dessert...homemade banana bread. We spent the rest of the night with our feet propped up watching episodes of Lost together.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hiking in Luminy Woods

February 18, 2009

Chris, Jaclyn and I took the bus over to Luminy Woods to go hiking. It only took us 30 min on the bus to get out there (Luminy is on the outskirts of Marseille). We had heard from others that the hiking on the Calanques out there was really nice on a warm day, and today was perfect! It was sunny and 50 degrees. Chris & I have been itching to do something in nature lately. We miss having the Zoo and Botanical Gardens down the street from us.

We didn't have a map of the woods, but the trails were easy to find and we weren't the only one's out hiking. I was actually surprised by the number of elderly men and women hiking out there.

The views and scenery were so beautiful!

You can view our pictures here...

We stayed up on top of the Calanques, but next time, we plan on taking the trails that lead down to the water. We found some great places that, when warmer, might be good places to swim. There were trails going higher up that Chris wanted to do, but we stuck with the middle path (guess we were Buddhist for the day).

We didn't see much wildlife out there...only a few little birds. There were quite a few hikers and even some rock climbers.

We only spent a few hours out there, since Jaclyn needed to get back to meet up with a friend. My legs were pretty sore by the end of the hike anyways, and we figured it was so easy to get out there, that we can go every week if we have the time!

Buckeye Party

January 29, 2009

When Jaclyn and I went to Aix, we both bought jars of peanut butter. She bought one extra jar for us to use to make buckeyes. We picked a day and decided to have a buckeye making party!

Jaclyn and I looked through recipes and found one that would work with the amount of ingredients we had on hand. We rolled up our sleeves and started rolling the peanut butter balls. Chris got out the camera and started taking pictures.

Here's the pics

We had so much fun! Chris got into a chocolate craze and started looking for other things to dip. The bananas were a logical choice and were very yummy (although not that great looking!).

Since the girls made the dessert, Chris made the cheese and one veggie.

We had a great time and the buckeyes were very good!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Holidays in Marseille

Holidays here in France are quite different from in the states. They don't celebrate Halloween or Valentine's day, but they do have some great holidays
that involve FOOD!

On February 2nd, we celebrated Chandeleur, or "Crepe Day". All the groceries sell crepe supplies and hard cider for this special occasion. The reason for this holiday? Well, I'm not really sure, so I looked it up. According to it is a Catholic holiday to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of the baby Jesus.

The French also don't celebrate Valentine's day....too commercial as a couple of my friends told me. Chris & I celebrated anyways. :) We had a great day just staying home, eating, relaxing, and watching a movie (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist). For dinner, we had little finger foods, quail stuffed with foie gras with an armangac sauce, sparkling wine, and homemade dark chocolate dipped strawberries and a almond/pistachio cream cake for two.

Here are pics from our Valentine's (all G rated I promise)

Saturday is for eating raw seafood and chatting with bums in the grocery

January 18th, 2009

We decided to meet Jaclyn for lunch at Cafe Messena. Chris & I have been wanting to try the raw seafood there....oysters, mussels, snails and shrimp (which was cooked not raw), and urchin. The urchin turned out to be too expensive, so we just ordered a boat of the other items. We also ordered some supion (fried cuttlefish).

Jaclyn was brave enough to try an oyster, but ordered a separate, cooked meal.

The food was very interesting. I am a huge fan of sushi, but this raw seafood was so bizarre....slimy...and something I probably won't eat again for a while. It was an experience to say the least.

Check out our pictures here

After we had lunch, we stopped by the grocery to pick up some food to cook for dinner. We invited Jaclyn to stay with us for the day and to have dinner later.

While checking out, a very smelly man behind us started talking to Chris. Chris offered (in French) for the man to go ahead of us since he only had a bottle of alcohol, and we had a lot of food to purchase. The man was obviously homeless and reeked of urine and alcohol. He heard the 3 of us speaking English, and in a very proper way, asked if we were from America, in English. We said yes, and he said he was from DC. The man continued talking to Chris in English and he said it was an honor to speak to Americans here. He was very nice, polite, and very interesting. He asked if we were all family (including Jaclyn), and we said no. Then he asked Chris if he had two wives, and I spoke up and said "No, he just has me." The man wished us a good day, and we picked up our groceries and left. It was very interesting speaking with him, and we couldn't help imagining why he was here in Marseille, of all places.

When we got back home, Chris started making a milk pie for dessert later, and I got to work on making some hot chocolate for the three of us. I used dark chocolate bars, one and a half to be exact. I even added a pinch of cinnamon, which was very good. We made some whipped cream to go on top, and I have to say, it was the best hot chocolate I have ever had!

For dinner, Chris made savory crepes of cheese, smoked salmon, ham, onions, and mushrooms. Yummy!

Becks Invade Arles (1/15/09)

I just remembered that I have not posted about our day trip to Arles back in January! Apologies to the readers of this blog. Chris and I have been pretty busy so far this year, and I seem to be on Facebook and Ravelry more than our blog. Will be better about that though.

Arles is about an hour train trip from Marseille, and is a wonderful little town with a rich Roman history.

The highlights of our trip were the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater, Roman theater, the Allycamps, and the Roman baths. I took almost 300 pictures in one day because I loved the town so much!

Here are the links to the photos...

Second set of photos here...

Third set...

Fourth set...

Last set...

(If a link doesn't work, just copy and paste the entire link address into your browser. I know some of the previous posts have had bad links, so you can do the same thing with those.)

Chris & I chose a good time to visit Arles, as it is low tourist season. We were the only one's walking around the sites! We were freezing, but it was well worth it.

The Roman Amphitheater and Roman theater are still being used, and are currently being renovated. Apparently, Wednesday nights in the summer, they have bull fights (some bloodless and some not) at the amphitheater. Not something I care to see. When walking inside the amphitheater, we both noticed how weird the energy there is. Just thinking about animals and humans dying violently there was upsetting.

The town of Arles was very cute. Lots of stores and cafes, none of which were open until after 5pm. I randomly found the yarn store (I have a sense for finding these things), so we stopped in there.

The Allycamps was probably my favorite thing in Arles. It has been painted by Van Gogh and others. When Chris first told me about the place, I thought it would be an old Roman cemetary. I was in for quite a surprise, well, we both were, when we actually got there! It was a large path with empty cement caskets on either side! The path led to an old church, that was even creepier. The place would be great to visit on Halloween (if only the French celebrated Halloween).

We are looking forward to going back to Arles sometime soon. We would like to explore the nature preserve nearby called the Camargue, where you can find wild bulls, white horses, and even flamingos! Definitely something to do once it gets warmer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Waiting for an update?

I've been very bad this year about updating the blog! I apologize for that. I have been meaning to post about a few trips I've done, and some things happening here...but have been so busy with my Hypnosis & Knitting/Crochet study, that I haven't posted!

I will work on getting some stories and pictures posted soon! We are still alive and well here in France! :)