Saturday, April 01, 2006

Nantes Day 2

Dr. B and I woke up on Friday morning, and had breakfast (croissants, bread, butter and jam, coffee and juice) at the hotel. We went out, walked around, took photos, and basically just enjoyed having some time off. We stumbled upon the Jardin des Plantes, and walked through the beautiful park, full of spring flowers, green grass, ducks and white pigeons or doves (???), and a gently babbling brook. It felt so peaceful to be amongst living things again--don't get me wrong, I love Paris, but there's nothing quite like this available. This garden is also used for plant breeding experiments, and hosts hundreds of Camellia bushes, including a variety created in honor of Jules Verne, who was a Nantes native. I took lots of pictures in the gardens, and realized that Grandma Sylvia's genes did not skip a generation. (My Grandma keeps Kodak in business!)

We then headed back to the area I had found the day before, and stopped into a quaint little crêperie for lunch. It was located inside a medieval building behind a church, on the Rue de la Sainte Croix. I asked if Lucy could come in, and the host said, "Bien sûr!" (Of course!) and prepared a table in the non-smoking area that would have a little extra floor space for her to lay down. Our waitress arrived, and after giving us the menus, she headed to the kitchen, coming back with a big bowl of cold water for Lucy. Dog-face was in heaven, and drank half of it before lying down on the cool tile floor and going to sleep.

Our lunch was delicious. We both ordered traditional galettes, mine with Canadian bacon, onions and mushrooms, and Dr. B's with potatoes, egg and cheese, accompanied by more Brut cidre. For dessert, I went for a chestnut crêpe, while Dr. B had chocolate. The chestnut cream (crème de marron) was so delicious, I scraped my plate. I let Lucy lick a bit off the tip of my finger, and she licked her chops for a good minute after that--heavenly!

We then did some souvenir shopping before heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage for our 5 PM train. I got some caramels (with salted butter, natch), a little Fleur de Sel pot with scooper and some Fleur de sel (a regional salt that is hand harvested from the ocean, and really is very good), a tin of Breton butter cookies for Dr. B to take to the lab (I get the tin after!), some caramels for my girls, 2 cookbooks (Breton specialties and recipes from the chateaux of the Loire--found at a used bookstore), and an "antique" (well, it's from the 70's) bowl from Quimper, hand painted. Like my sis, I like souvenirs, and prefer something either a little special (not your cookie-cutter brand new thing made in China), something I can eat, or something I can cook later (cookbooks are my favorite souvenirs.)

We headed to the train station, and since we had an hour, stopped in another café for a glass of Muscadet, a local wine. We saw a large group of protesters headed for the station with daffodils in their hands, and were told by the waitress that the trains had been blocked the day before, and she hoped ours would take off on time. I planned in my head what we could do if this happened (thankfully our bank was nearby, and I had brought an extra pair of undies), but we were pleased to see that the local police stopped the protesters, and our train took off on time.

Well, we thought it was our train.

Arriving at the second stop, we found out that our seats were also held by another woman. We were sure we were right, but upon examining the tickets, I noticed that they were for "16 heures"--or 4 o'clock. Dr. B is known for his free-flowing relationship with time. One year he got for Christmas a watch with Einstein in the middle, "Relative Time" as a title, and all the numbers were written "one-ish, two-ish, three-ish, etc." He still hasn't quite adjusted to the military time that France uses, and mistaked the 16 for 5 instead of 4. Woops.

I paid the extra 20 euros for the mistake, vowed that I would hold all tickets from now on, and extra seats were found. We were allowed to stay where we were (more work to move 2 + a big dog than one individual) but Dr. B felt bad, so he sat alone between the cars, leaving me and Lucy in our 2 seats. She got nervous about us being apart, and went on high alert for the Mom-protecting, snapping at a guy who was passing. Luckily, she was still wearing her obligatory muzzle (which she hates) and he was fine (and was very nice about it, actually.) We were all ready to be home, and glad when the ears again started popping as we entered the tunnels that led us to Montparnasse station. Lucy was tired, stressed out, and hated the muzzle, which she would try to remove while we were walking by jumping up and using both front paws to attempt to wrench it from her face (landing on her elbows, with me dragging her along and yelling "Stop it right now!") Both she and we were relieved to finally exit the Metro, so I could take off her muzzle and we walked around the Place d'Italie, headed for our apartment, at last.

When we arrived home, Lucy spent the first few minutes nuzzling and snuggling and snorting in her bed, and Dr. B headed to the supermarket, while I heated up some soup, got out some cheese, and warmed the baguette with lardons (bacony hammy things) we had grabbed in Nantes, in case the train was blocked. (BTW, if anyone knows how to make these, please send the recipe or link!) The baguette was delish, with a crisp crust and tender interior, studded with lardons. The crumb was more like a quick-bread than a yeast bread, but was somehow hand shaped. I would love to figure out how they did it!

Anyway, Dr. B returned home with some wine, eggs, galettes, and caramel mousse, as an apology for the train fiasco. We slept hard and sound, and today have spent the day lazing around, blogging, and eating the yummy galettes that Dr. B makes so well.

Mmmm...ham, cheese, egg, mushrooms and shallots, in a galette cooked in butter...he is definitely forgiven.



At 5:20 PM, April 01, 2006, Blogger Chelee said...

Poor miss Lucy. That muzzel thing has got to be a drag.


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