Sunday, November 11, 2007

A week in France : Paris and Rochefort

Kisses from 1st aunt!
Last week was one of the first time we took Owen to France. The drive which usually take us 5 hours has taken us 6 hours to arrive in Paris, where my 3rd SIL lives. We've never taken such long drive before with him in tow. He was sleeping almost of the time but was really wide awake and crying for the last hour before we finally arrive. I think its normal that he cries since he's not really used to having such compact space of the baby basket (complete with car safety harness of course) and its not really interesting to look at the grey sky all the way! We tried carrying him out of the car but with the cold wind blowing, it wasn't really a good idea....

I was so glad once we reach 3rd SIL place as he started to cry even louder! Once we got to her apartment, he was pretty distracted with all the attention that his 3rd aunt and 1st uncle showered on him, that he forgotten that its feeding time! hehehehe.... For the first time in months we went out for dinner without Owen! We have a self volunteered baby-sitter; my 3rd SIL.... So much as change within the space of just 1 year. The last time we were there was end of Oct 2006. The tram lines are working wonderfully, traffic is less dense, there's seems to be higher crime rate (day-light muggings!), higher exchange rate (1 Euro = 1.67 CHF, used to be 1 Euro = 1.50 CHF) and the usual restaurant we go to isn't as good as before.

Looks like underwater carpet no?

We actually took off the next day to Rochefort, where 1st and 2nd SILs lives. The car ride was endless. Took us 5 and half hours instead of the usual 4 to get to 1st SIL place. In this town nothing much has change, except that they cleaned up the place a bit. Whenever we stayed over at their place, I would wound up with dust allergy! So this time no watery & itchy eyes. Just sneezing and runny/blocked nose, which is OK since it smelled funny - old houses built with wooden flooring covered up with carpet and not well ventilated. The building has an air well, but its pretty much useless since there's NO AIR coming in!! Yes, you can say I don't really like staying over at their place but we only go there once every 2 years may be? So can not complaint lor!

My St. Jacques crêpe.. YUMMMYYY....

His traditional ham & eggs...

I really like Rochefort, La Rochelle and its surrounding area. La Rochelle started off as a fishing village that turned into an important port centuries ago. Much like Melaka. Rochefort however, is where the French arsenal; ie military harbour is. Both are very touristic town in the summer time with the seaside facing the Atlantic ocean. Now is the low season, so more locals than tourist; which I prefer. Its also THE place to get fresh (AND CHEAP) mussels and oysters! Am not a fan of oysters, but where else can you get big fat & fresh mussels at less than 7 or 8 Euros a kilo? Has something to do with the cultivation of these babies at Île de Ré I think.... Besides these two places, there's also Île de Ré, Royan, Île d'Oléron, Fouras and Brouage & Marennes. All are pretty much will be full of tourists during summer time.

Look! I have an orange star-fish on my arm!

Owen's orange star-fish... Looks more like a pin cushion though.

We stayed for 4 nights at 1st SIL place. Dined with family mostly; more Vietnamese food (which I grew to like)! But still managed to cram in a big bowl of mussels (small in their terms) in a "rustic" restaurant at La Rochelle, and a very (VERY) delicious crêpe on the next street where we stayed, amongst all the Viet food. Besides eating, we managed to visit the La Rochelle Aquarium. It was my 1st time visit AFTER having been there 4 or 5 times!! I guess hubs were to lazy to bring me... :p This aquarium really beats KLCC Aquaria! Reason? They have more interesting fishes (like the pirana!!), several big tanks and good information source about the species, and why people should not put on their FLASH while taking pictures of fishes or any other animals....

Can you find a fish here?

The ride back to Paris was a long one (so was the one back to Swissy land). I didn't have time to go stashing this time round. Partly because we didn't have time, its difficult to shop when you have kid whose still not on the bottle yet, due to the exchange rate and currently I can't find what I like just yet. May be the next time when we spend more time in Paris, then perhaps.

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