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With our vacation over it’s time for some reminiscing. Over the past week we had our good moments and our bad. We learnt some things, too: how to party; what not to eat; the relative size of it all; and that sometimes strange things happen.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

We finished our wonderful ski spectacular in the mountains after our week of adventure. At the end of the week we  travelled to Saint Jean-de-Luz again to spend Christmas with some of Michel’s Family.

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Wednesday:
The temperature had finally risen and it had stopped raining so we went outside. I found myself reading this plaque in the village centre “Le 6 Mai 1808 Napoléon a peut-étre pissé ici” which literally means “May 6th, Napoléon may have pissed here.” Knowing my chances I was standing in someone’s piss. Napolén pisséThat on my mind I went home and blogged.

It was a special dinner that night, much like the Repas de Noël I had on my last day of lycée but much more grown-up. I learnt some more valuable lessons.

My family taught me how to drink wine:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Then later, how to boogie:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

And they also taught me that sauce which looks like créme anglais (English Cream) and placed with the desserts could just as easily be vinaigrette.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Thursday:
I took this panoramic, originally about 15000×7300 pixels – 5.29×2.58m at full resolution – which took 3 hours to stitch. It wouldn’t open on my laptop although I now realise why not.SANY0144 Stitch (10000x4885) (1280x672)

Friday:
Before coming to Gourette, my family had promised me we would have a traditional mountain raclet – a huge half wheel of cheese placed on a hot rock causing the cheese to melt onto your plate over types of meat and potatoes. A dish traditionally from the alps.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis wasn’t quite what we expected.

Later that day there was a midday sunsetSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

and a PARACHOOTING FRENCH SANTA! Because being Santa just isn’t cool enough for the kids anymore…SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASaturday:
I skyped everyone, 2011-12-24 11154 skype with the family, christmas dinner  (640x375)and after we left. Our descent down the mountains was beautiful and because we had arrived during the night and a snow storm, it was completely new to me. – click for better quality…

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That evening yet another Santavlcsnap-2011-12-29-00h56m37s96

Around midnight we drove across the bay into Église St Jean Baptiste, made famous by the marriage of Louis XIV (Roi soleil – sun king) and the Infanta of Spain. After the wedding, the king ordered the door way to be bricked up so that no-one would ever be married via that that door again. Inside the hallowed walls we listened to the story of Christmas. If you haven’t heard it before, it’s quite a kicker…

 

Sunday the 25th:
We were treated by some more of Michel’s family for lunch. We arrived at 14:00 and didn’t leave the table until 17:00IMG_0151 (640x480)

Needless to say it was de la bonne bouffe (good grub) and they made me feel like one of the family.

I sampled this particular cheese. I didn’t really want to, but it’s difficult to say no the relentless insistence of your French hosts up to 4 times your age. Honestly, I was grateful to sample something new and that I have that opportunity. But I was mostly grateful of the fact that the cheese platter had some other VERY powerful cheeses. In particular that one Roquefort which was somehow able to overpower the taste of used urinal cakes the innocently named Mont d’or  (Golden Summit) left me with.vlcsnap-2011-12-29-01h02m51s67

Monday:
Even though the world had already finished celebrating, we made it home on time for Christmas. IMG_0172 Stitch (3264x2476) (640x480)vlcsnap-2011-12-29-01h21m21s130

Love you all. Hope everything was well over this special time of year.

I tried a new style of blog this week – picture blog – mainly because I had alot of photos, and because I assumed it wouldn’t take as long. It did take as long, but it’s nice not to hear me ranting for once right?
Let me know what you think. [no-one sees your email in comments, it’s aim is to stop spammers]

Also, how did you spend your Christmas?

 

P.S.

Finding inspiration can be difficult. I have to try every trick I can. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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