July 27, 2011
The countdown begins.

As my time here in Europe draws to an end, I’ve been thinking a bit about what I will miss when I go back to Tech, as well as what I want to do as soon as I get back. Following Kasandra’s example, I’ll make a list.

Things I will miss about Europe/France:

  • Coffee - the cups here may be smaller, but the coffee is delicious and strong. Even the coffee from the machines kicks ass.
  • Yogurt selection
  • The million offbrands of nutella
  • My lab group here, who has taken very good care of me. <3 
  • The ease of travel
  • Pain au chocolat!
  • Being able to get goat cheese on my sub
  • Joan’s dancing
  • Belgian waffles
  • Amazing chocolate
  • Beautiful cathedrals and historic sites everywhere you go
  • Cheap, CHEAP student food
  • Playing the “dumb American” card
  • Having native speakers to practice French with
  • Wine so cheap it’s practically free
  • Those little Dany desserts that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else but in the Resto U’s
  • Delicious, delicious German sausages and schnitzel
  • Not being judged for mixing mayo and ketchup. Kasandra and Tim revoked my American card for this.

Things that I want when I get back home:

  • Being spoiled by my family, at least for the first week
  • Go to a restaurant and get free refill after free refill, just because I can
  • My mom’s cooking. Caldo gizado, tacos de cabeza, caldo de pollo. I want it all.
  • A huge, huge hug from my Psi U’s <3 
  • A PB&J sandwich
  • A real hot dog. Hot dogs do not come in baguettes, I’m sorry France.
  • An internet connection that doesn’t fail horribly
  • A big, fluffy pillow. Make that two or three.
  • A proper shower that I can stay in for as long as I please without having to worry about water
  • To cuddle my dog. ;_;
  • Potato chips of a flavor appealing to my American palette. I’m sorry France, but I don’t want roasted chicken or Bolognaise potato chips. ಠ_ಠ
  • A huge bucket of salty, buttery popcorn

One more week until I’m back home. :) I cleaned my fume hood, but I made sure to take a picture of the most important things.

    My homage to Joan and his girlfriend.

    The most deperssing TLC. I take no blame for this, that’s Joan’s handwriting.

    July 17, 2011
    My French/German/American weekend

    Bastille Day in Strasbourg was the most amazing fireworks show I’ve ever seen. It even trumped the 4th of July show in L.A., and there were multiple ones going on at the same time! I think I enjoyed this particular show so much because of how close we were to the action.

    I also learned not to try and find any restaurants near the fireworks site that will serve you without a reservation. I watched the show with Levin and Ashley, who drove all the way from their home in Germany to spend time with me this weekend! Later that evening, we munched on doners and headed to Selestat for a Cradle of Filth concert.

    I’m no stranger to concerts, but I’m particularly proud of having survived this one because I was wearing sandals. A poor choice of shoes, of course, because I’m stupid and somehow completely forgot to wear concert-appropriate shoes. In addition, the standing crowd area was completely MUD. The type of mud that sinks down on your weight and then cakes on your feet/shoes. I’m not a fan of their music, but the energy was really contagious, and the banter between the band and the audience was entertaining.

    Before we went back to Strasbourg, two really drunk French guys started to make conversation with us. He picked up on my American accent right away and wanted to know what we were doing in Selestat. He just couldn’t comprehend that we were here for the music festival! He referred to Selestat as “the asshole of France”. Poor Selestat.

    The next day, I showed Levin and Ashley a little bit around Strasbourg. The most touristy parts, of course. They really enjoyed the cathedral and Petite France. I can now say that I’ve finally had Alsatian choucroute, but I was disappointed that it is exactly like sauerkraut. Not that sauerkraut isn’t delicious. For dinner, I was kidnapped back to Germany, where I got to eat delicious Jägerschnitzel in a castle. I liked it. A lot.

    Levin and Ashley also gave me a little taste of America by taking me on base. I was so happy to eat buffalo wings in a restaurant that gave free refills and cokes with ice. It’s the little things that make me happy. I also had a cinnabon and a bag of cheetos. Tim said I should have held out until I go back home, but flamin’ hot cheetos!

    Flamin’ hot cheetos.

    I partook in some antics at their house, the evidence of which can be found on my facebook. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

    Thanks for the awesome weekend, Touchstons!

    July 2, 2011
    Capsaicin? Where are you, my friend?

    I’m lying in bed, currently fantasizing about a huge, greasy pizza. The kind that seems like a good idea when you’re ordering (I’m looking at you, Domino’s), less so when you’re plowing through it, and not at all after it’s all down the hatch.

    But why, Alma? Aren’t you in France, the gastronomical capital of the world? Well yes, but sometimes, only the bad, cheap food can satisfy a certain craving. Don’t even get me started on Wingnuts and Chik fil A.

    Being a student with a limited budget, I don’t exactly eat at the fanciest of places here. Every now and then we’ll allow ourselves to eat at a sit down restaurant when we’re visiting a city such as Paris or Brussels, but for the most part, it’s cheap street food, student restaurants, or the grocery store.

    However, grocery stores are a new world to explore all by themselves. Most of my shopping is done at E. Leclerc, which is a huge hypermarket fairly similar to Walmart. Even in this large, “cheap”, highly industrialized store, the food is much higher quality than in the US. Oh yeah, I went there.

    The variety and quantity of yogurt available is kind of ridiculous. My first time, I spent at least 30 minutes trying to decide on which kind to buy. I’ve tried several brands, including the “Alsace Lait”, which I assume is based in Alsace, and haven’t been disappointed by any of them. I’ve also tried fromage blanc, but kept myself from buying it every week. I don’t want to go back HEAVIER than when I arrived. We also get yogurt with every meal at the student restaurants. The situation is similar with cheese, but I don’t need to go into the overwhelming amount of cheese here.

    Don’t worry mom, I’m getting my calcium.

    Living in a land of wonderful dairy products, pastries, and interesting delicacies should give me no room to complain, correct? Sort of. I miss this thing called “spicy”.

    Those of you who know me very well know that pretty much every meal I eat back home is spicy. When I have no other options, I reach for the bottle of crushed red pepper and go to town. I use Sriracha sauce so liberally, my food ends up looking like a bloodbath. I would kill a man for good, homemade salsa verde.

    As delicious as their food may be, the French aren’t very fond of spicy.

    As soon as I get home, I’m seeking out the spiciest Menudo I can find in Atlanta. Oh, and an order of Wingnuts.

    July 1, 2011
    Backtracking all the way to the Grand Duchy

    … Of Luxembourg!

    It was really bothering me that I never wrote about our trip to Luxembourg. Backtracking seemed a little strange, but the longer I wait, the more awkward it will be!

    Our visit was a day trip to Luxembourg City, and the voyage took about two hours. I had no idea what to expect, as Luxembourg isn’t exactly a hot tourist destination, but went with an open mind. Looking back, I’m very glad we made the journey. Luxembourg City is absolutely gorgeous. The city is elegant, clean, and full of history. Luxembourgers are incredibly friendly, and often juggle more than three languages! They are also very patriotic. Their city has the highest number of flags out of any other place I’ve been.

    The main tourist attraction within the city are the Casemates, which are a network of underground fortifications built in the 18th century for protection. Much of our day consisted of getting lost in this huge maze and accidentally bumping into other tourists in the dark.

    Getting around the city by foot is definitely a nice workout. The city is organized in layers, and very steep inclines make biking around nearly impossible. There is even a lift that will take you from the lowest level to the highest, leading me to conclude that Americans aren’t the only lazy people.

    After my calves had gotten a good workout, we headed back to the center of the city and watched a bit of their “American music concert”. Luxembourg was big on gospel that day! Good times.

    I took a picture of this lovely lady before we left for Strasbourg. She is known as the Gelle Fra, and she holds a golden wreath over Luxembourg City as a symbol of victory. It was taken down during Nazi occupation, but stands today as a memorial to those who gave their lives during WWII.

    Until next time! So.. probably until tomorrow, since I have no travel plans this weekend and will be lounging around Strasbourg. :)

    June 29, 2011
    A rollercoaster kind of day

    Today was filled with ups and downs and nothing in between. I’m exhausted.

    I went to the football tournament today, which was held in Campus Illkirch, where Kasandra works. I was told that something like 21 teams participated, and last I checked, my lab was doing pretty well in the rankings! I cheered on my lab members for the first two games before playing one. Mathieu treated me to a beer before the game (which I was unable to finish and I felt bad), so I was nice and… full when it started.

    The actual games didn’t last very long at all, 20 minutes at the most. It was going pretty well until I got a face full of ball towards the end.  Fabien didn’t mean to kick the ball into my face, of course, but I keep teasing him about his “hate” towards me. The impact gave me a pretty bad headache, so I headed home early to buy some ibuprofen and get ready for dinner at Catherine’s house.

    Except, I never did get to buy my ibuprofen, as I noticed that my debit card was missing when I got back to my apartment.

    That’s right, folks. I lost my debit card today. Not a traveler’s worst nightmare (which is loss of a passport), but pretty high up there. After lots of panic and anger, I finally got the guts to call up my dad. We were at a loss as to what to do, since I had no cash whatsoever on me and he couldn’t get a new debit card for me. Thankfully, I remembered that the bank sent an extra replacement (to replace my replacement? I’m not really sure why they sent me two debit cards…) from the first time I lost my card. It’s difficult to explain, I know.

    Anyways, I asked him to try activating that card, and it worked. The card in question should be on its way to me right now. Here’s to hoping Global Express shipping doesn’t fail me! Activating this new card means my “lost” card doesn’t work anymore.

    To tide me over until my new debit card arrives, dad wired me some money, which I need to pick up tomorrow. He’s seriously a lifesaver. I don’t know how I’d cope without him.

    After getting that fiasco taken care of, I finally relaxed and took a nice nap before heading over to Catherine’s lab for our ride to her house.

    Dinner was quite fun. Catherine filled us up with booze and plenty of food. There was lots of laughing and jokes to be had, especially with one guy in particular. I believe Tim said his name was Claymont? He was incredibly funny, and I now have to make the phrase “Eat my fuck” part of my everyday parlance.

    So much food and drink!

    The barbeque reminded me of something I wanted to mention before I forget. French hotdogs. I’m a huge fan of merguez sausage, as it’s spicy and full of flavor. No complaints there. I’m also becoming a huge fan of true Dijon mustard, the kind that feels like you’re getting a swift kick to the mouth and nose. Awesome.

    But really, a hollowed out baguette as a bun? Not a fan!

    I was first exposed to this at the Basel train station, where I walked up to a take-away stand and asked for a hot dog. The lady then proceeded to take a baguette, stick a piece of metal through it to make it hollow, and squeeze the sausage in.

    My American eyes were shocked.

    I miss you, hot dog buns.

    It just doesn’t feel right.

    June 28, 2011
    A weekend in Switzerland

    If I had to describe Switzerland in one word after our weekend trip, it’d have to be “expensive”. One would think that switching over to a more forgiving currency (the Swiss franc and the US dollar are almost one to one) is better, but the Swiss take prices to a whole new level. Shortly after arriving in Basel, we decided to forgo local cuisine and just get some McDonalds nearby.

    However, even McDonalds gave us some culture shock. The standard meal, a medium Big Mac with fries and a coke, costs a whopping 12 FRANCS. This is approximately 14 dollars. In addition, McDonalds in Switzerland are serious business. They’re incredibly clean and dare I say… elegant? The McDonalds in Zurich had three floors to explore, all of them very chic and comfortable. The third floor had a Playstation 3 for your entertainment. The restrooms are secured by a number code, which you have to get from the employees.

    I guess all of that money has to go somewhere.

    Basel is a very charming city, and the first thing that caught my attention was their bright red town hall. It’s so iconic it’s often the subject of their postcards, and who can blame them? The building is actually a lovely Renaissance palace, and while one can take a tour of the courtyard, it is still in use today. We saw a couple of people swimming (or rather, being taken by the current) in the Rhine, which runs right through the middle of the city. I may come back before the summer is over and take a dip, but it wasn’t nearly hot enough to do so when we went.

    A day and too many francs later, we checked out of our hostel and took a morning train to Zurich. If in Zurich, a boat trip along Lake Zurich is an absolute must. The lake and its shores are absolutely beautiful, and one can see the Alps far off in the horizon.

    After a day of sightseeing (and a disappointing amount of confectionaries), we headed back to the train station. We tend to have incredibly good luck, and were pulled into some sort of football (yes, I call it football, get over it) celebration. We were handed a free T-shirt, flag, and baseball cap, and gathered around the crowd to cheer.

    To cheer for what, you may ask?

    We weren’t really sure. But hey, free swag and cute football players!

    It wasn’t until I got home that I did a little bit of research to see what exactly we had gotten into. Switzerland had just finished playing Spain in the Under 21 European Championship. They lost, apparently, but that didn’t stop the people in Zurich from cheering for their team.

    Speaking of soccer, tomorrow I will apparently play with my lab group against other teams in the chemistry department. Then, Dr. Grosdemange invited us to have dinner at her house. Tomorrow should be fun!

    June 19, 2011

    If I were married to Spain, Belgium would be my mistress on the side. We began our journey early in the morning on Saturday, catching a 7am train from Strasbourg to Metz. Being the cheapskates that we are, we went for the cheapest train possible. This means the early as hell train with a lot of connections. From Metz we transferred to a train headed to Luxembourg, and then finally to a train headed to Namur. In total, it was about a 5 hour train ride, but time flew by because I spent most of it asleep. My ability to fall asleep on trains and airplanes has improved A LOT.

    We got to Namur right around noon. Namur is the capital city of Wallonia, which is the southern region of Belgium. It’s located along the Meuse river,  and it’s a charming little city. We were lucky enough to catch a few jet skiers racing in the river AND this weekend happened to be Namur’s fete de la musique. The first order of business was lunch, as we were starving by that point, and we asked for a good restaurant to feast on tasty Belgian waffles. I ordered a Brussels waffle, which is fluffier and less dense than a Liege waffle. It was completely indulgent, covered in lots of cream and sugar. This was actually my first time having a Belgian waffle, period. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it again.

    After lunch, we climbed up a mountain (no, I’m serious) in order to get to the citadel in Namur. As you all know, I’m incredibly lazy, so climbing a mountain took a lot of effort on my part. Once we got up there, however, the view was incredible. I must have snapped at least ten pictures of the city. We took a little tour of the citadel and then went to go check out the music festival.

    It rained pretty much all day on Saturday, so we spent some of the time huddled under buildings or our umbrellas. That was the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of in Belgium. It rains even more than Strasbourg?! Once the rain finally stopped, we went to have a drink at one of the local bars. That was pretty exciting, because Belgium apparently knows how to party! We heard a lot of bottles crashing, and even got to sort-of witness a bar fight. I say sort-of because we only heard it and the ruckus, but didn’t actually see it. That was when we decided we should probably head back to our hostel.

    The next morning (aka this morning!), we caught a 10am train to Brussels! The weather was still icky, but it rained much less than it did on Saturday. This city was a blast. We spent some time around the medieval square just marveling at how beautiful the buildings were, and of course, went to go see the Manneken Pis. The Manneken Pis is the famous statue of a little boy peeing. He gets dressed up in different costumes during holidays, but unfortunately he was naked for us.

    Since we had a Brussels-style waffle yesterday, clearly we had to have a Liege waffle today. These are the street vendor kind (hooray for 1euro waffles!), and my favorite if I had to pick between the two different styles. These things are DENSE and deliciously sticky and sweet. I had one early in the day and then got TWO to-go on our way back to the train station. What? Don’t judge.

    For lunch, I had the famous Belgium meal of a bucket of mussels, frites, and a beer. The mussels were another thing that sold me to this country. I almost cried of happiness at getting a bucket full of mussels. Tasty tasty.

    After lunch, we wandered into the museum of chocolate. It took a lot of willpower to not stay in there for hours and eat all of their chocolate. Oh, and there’s a chocolate statue of the Manneken Pis. Awesome.

    Before we ended our day, we bought some Belgian chocolate to bring back home. I’m currently eating my way through some of mine. I bought a bar to share with my lineage at Psi U (and Jairo), but I can’t promise that I won’t give in and just eat it myself before the end of the summer. Hopefully I can resist. I would have gotten a lot more, but that stuff is pretty pricey…

    Belgian people are also incredibly friendly. Not to say that the French are mean or anything, but a lot of people were so happy to have conversation with us. We got a free round of amaretto after dinner on Saturday, because our waiter was awesome. Even the lady who gave us our cappuccino in Namur and spoke absolutely no English (Gosh I hope my French isn’t painful to their ears) wanted to know more about why we were in Europe.

    3.5 more hours until we get to Strasbourg. Let’s see if I can sleep the time away.

    Oh, I never made a post about Luxembourg last week. Dammit.

    June 10, 2011
    2nd day in Barcelona!

    Today, I fell even more in love with Barcelona. Not even the pouring rain could keep me from enjoying the city, although it did its best to try.

    We started out with a little bit of Gaudi and toured the Sagrada Familia. This basilica has been under construction since 1882, and is expected to be finished by 2026. I know little to nothing about architecture and was blown away, so I’m sure that anyone who knows even just a little can appreciate this monument. Just when I thought that I had had enough of European cathedrals and couldn’t be impressed anymore, Sagrada Familia comes along and impresses me even with the cranes and ongoing construction. I’ll need to make a post with the pictures I’ve taken, but I haven’t imported any of them yet.

    Afterwards, we went to La Boqueria and wandered around, getting lost in a sea of fruits, vegetables, candies, nuts, gelato, and every tasty thing you could think of. It was barely a walk to Las Ramblas from there, and we finally walked those famous streets. As my terribly shitty luck would have it, it started to rain. No, rain isn’t the right word. It POURED. It was quite miserable, and we had to wait something like two hours before it stopped raining. That was not fun. Still, we managed to buy what we came for: jerseys. Yep, I bought two, so now Jairo and I will match. I know, I know, it’s sickening.

    We spent a good part of the evening relaxing by the port, watching ships go by and messing with the seagulls. When it was finally time for dinner, I let Tim pick, so of course he led us to an Irish Pub. Okay, so not Spanish food, but I was starving and pretty agreeable to anything.

    All was okay, though! Because after dinner, we met up with some of Tim’s friends (who are studying abroad in Barcelona) and went out for tapas! The fact that I was pretty full from dinner meant that I couldn’t eat too much, but it was still very nice. Coupled with a bottle of Cava, it was a nice way to end the day.

    We were going to stay out longer and enjoy the Barcelona nightlife, but the metro stops running at 2am, so Tim and I had to catch our train back to the hostel. Thankfully the metro runs nonstop tomorrow night, so hopefully we’ll have a better chance tomorrow.

    Tomorrow: the beach!

    June 9, 2011
    First day in Barcelona!

    … And I must say that in my mind, Barcelona kicks Paris’ ass. Tim can go to Strasbourg without me and I will be perfectly fine. Then again, I do have work to do… this fact is the only thing that will make me go back to France, haha.

    I’m pretty tired, so there won’t be too many details. Tim and I left the Strasbourg Gare Central at 6:30am this morning and caught a shuttle to the Karlsruhe Airpark. Woo woo, RyanAir. We then flew to Girona, and from there it was a 1hr bus ride to the North Station of Barcelona, and a metro ride to our hostel. it was about 2pm before we actually got here.

    We took a free walking tour provided by our hostel around the center of the city, which took up a good few hours. I HAVE to post some of the highlights later, the history behind some of the seemingly insignificant pictures I took is incredible. We then headed in search of some dinner, and I insisted that I must have some paella right then and there. I think it was all the paella places we passed. Tim finally relented (after I said again and again that NO, I would NOT be having vegetarian in Barcelona). I think he enjoyed his Bacalao, though.

    Tomorrow we’ll do some wandering around Las Ramblas and hit up some spots for some tapas. Perhaps the beach on Saturday? :)

    Love you guys! Gonna crawl into my bed and hope my roommates are considerate when they come in drunk. XD Fat chance, but I can dream, right?

    June 7, 2011
    A long weekend in Paris

    Whew! it’s been an eventful weekend.

    On Thursday, the three of us (me, Kasandra, and Tim) made a trip to Guebwiller for their their wine festival. Guebwiller is this little commune in Alsace that is (as far as we know) only accessible through bus if you don’t have a car. Which we don’t. The trip there went pretty smoothly, and the return trip was both an adventure and a test of patience.

    It was 7euro for a tiny wine glass. Considering you could try as many wines as you wanted for 7euro, I think that’s a pretty sweet deal. Kasandra and I opted for the bigger glass, one that actually says “Guebwiller foire aux vins”. We told ourselves that it was because we wanted the souvenir, and not because we’re actually alcoholics.

    Trying the wines was really nice, because the people serving you the wine are usually the ones who run the vineyards themselves. Each little booth corresponded to a different commune. I tried different varieties of Crémant d’Alsace, which I found pretty okay. It’s bubbly! Of course, we got a mini-lesson how to properly taste wine, but I don’t think I’m quite sophisticated enough to do it properly. I remember trying different Moscatos. After being all wined out, we grabbed a tarte flambée for lunch and a nutella crepe because we’re fatties. There was an awesome street performer who was basically a one-man band, and he was incredibly entertaining! His songs were so catchy…

    Fast forward to Friday, and Tim and I are on a train to Paris. A very early train. Having stayed up late to watch X-men: Le Commencement at the UGC, it wasn’t too long before I was regretting the decision to hop on the early train because it was cheap. We did a lot of walking the first day in Paris, but I had to apologize to Tim for being very zombie-like for the majority of the day. We got a lot of sightseeing done! We first headed up to the Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take pictures of the inside of the Sacre Coeur. We then went to the Moulin Rouge. The prices to watch a show are outrageous! Someday I’ll be able to afford it. :)

    We then made our way to L’arc de Triomphe. That thing really is something you have to see in person to appreciate. Having seen pictures of it before, it never fully registered how BIG the arc is. A lot of things this weekend made me feel tiny, but L’arc de Triomphe made me feel miniscule. We wandered over to the Louvre and took pictures of the outside, but we knew there was no way we could make it in that day. The lines are unbelievable. We never did make it inside the Louvre, but I doubt this will be my last time in Paris.

    At the end of the day, we finally headed over to the Eiffel Tower! i kept telling Tim throughout the day that I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at night, and I didn’t really care if we went there during the day. Honestly, I saw bits and pieces of the Eiffel Tower throughout the day and wasn’t that impressed. We got in line to ascend the tower at 7:30pm and finally got up there at about 10pm or so? But oh my goodness, was it worth it! The view of Paris was awesome, and the tower was gorgeous when lit up. We got to see two light shows while we were on the tower, which was something I’ll never forget.

    After looking over the city in awe for an hour or so, we ran back to the train station to try and catch the RER train back to our hotel. I think we caught the second to last train? Close call!

    The second day, we made our way directly to Versailles. Problem is, we caught the wrong train at first, so our intended arrival was delayed by at least an hour. We finally get there, and the crowds are horrendous. As Tim put it, the crowds were almost as imposing as the palace itself. When we were buying our tickets, the lady behind the desk told us to go to the gardens first if the line to the chateau was too long. We decided to follow her advice, and it was actually pretty good advice. There weren’t too many people in the gardens, so we could wander around at a leisurely pace. Versailles is another one of those places that just have to be seen in person. My pictures don’t even come close to capturing the sheer opulence and intricate details that make up this place. It’s one of those things that leave you incredulous. How could someone in their right mind build something this extravagant?

    Marie Antoinette’s quarters were also incredibly awesome. It seems like not a lot of people venture out that far (it took us about 40 minutes to get all the way back there), so it was also pretty devoid of crowds.

    Finally, at about 4pm, we worked up the courage to get in line for the chateau. Surprise surprise, the line had died down A LOT. We actually got in within 10 minutes or so. And the line for the gardens was long as hell. So. It’s apparently usually better to hit up the gardens first. The crowd inside the chateau was extremely dense. It’s a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare. Still, the sights are totally worth it. I could go on and on about how beautiful and exquisite each and every room inside the palace is, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

    The daytrip to Versailles was easily my favorite part of our Paris trip. If you have a day, GO THERE.

    The last day, we intended to go to the Catacombs bright and early to avoid the huge lines. Unfortunately, our train line from the hotel to the Gare du Nord wasn’t working. Our train was delayed by 1.5 hours, and by the time we got to the Catacombs, the line was even longer than it was on Friday. Sigh. So no Catacombs for us. Instead, we headed over to the Mus ée de Cluny, because Tim was really excited about an museum dedicated to medieval art. The entry was free for today, which was really nice. The few hours we spent there were pretty awesome! The museum was even bigger than we thought, so we took our time getting familiar with the exhibits.

    Then we wandered over to the Cathedral de Notre Dame, which actually had mass going on while we toured it. Always makes me feel wrong to tour a church while service is going on. Definitely left the flash photography at home. Lastly, we waited for our train time at the Gardens of Luxembourg, which are lovely. It was the perfect way to wind down from our three day trip.

    I’m writing this from our train back to Strasbourg, which should arrive in another hour or so. I probably won’t get to posting this until Monday or Tuesday. I’m exhausted, and still have some things to do before work tomorrow. Hopefully I’m not a zombie all day.

    Barcelona soon!