Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bienvenue a Bretagne

 This first line is for Bob: boy, do we have a lot to talk about...first working on a vineyard and now working with pigs. You trained me right with the sheep, I fit right in!

Brittany (Bretagne) is really beautiful. After a 14-hour travel day, it didn't really matter what it looked like, but it is absolutely beautiful and GREEN. After leaving a dried up South of France, it is nice to be surrounded by green lawns and beautiful flowers of all types. Plus, lucky for is SUNNY out today, I hear its rare so I'm trying to soak it all up.
 This morning I went to the market, where the people I am staying with sell their pork products. It happened to be in a town called Gourin where they have a small replica of the 'Statue of Liberty'. I still can't completely decipher why, but I think it is symbolic of an amicable relationship between this area and New York. Thousands of people in Bretagne emigrated to New York in the think they would be a tad upset about losing a bunch of people though?

The market was really great and small- maybe about ten vendors. I got the official induction into the vendor world of Brittany when they toasted my visit with some hard cider at the end of the market and shared lots of food for our communal, snack lunch. People here are much more welcoming and interested in my presence than before. Maybe it helps that my French is improving (or so they all say!)
 I had the afternoon off so I rode a bike around the countryside for a couple of hours. It is truly beautiful here and no photo can capture that. There are these wonderful hills with NO cars so you can just zoom down roads on your bike... not so wonderful on the way back though! The countryside is filled with dense forests where the air is cool and "fresh". A lot of English-speaking French people use the word "fresh" to describe that cool, damp, early morning air or under a shady tree air type-of-feel. I'm starting to love the word and I think it describes the feeling and the moment perfectly. 

 This is right near where I am staying. Notice the great blue shutters and hydrangeas- they're pretty much everywhere!!

 On my bike ride I happened upon a bike path- what are the chances?! Really, I just aimlessly rode and decided to turn and BOOM- Bike Path! There was this great tall bridge on the bike path so I hid my bike and ventured down to a small but charming creek. Another "fresh" moment.

On the way back up to my bike, which seemed harder to find than the way down, I encountered this fallen log with moss and three-leaf clovers. Sorry folks, I couldn't find any four-leaf clovers, but it feels a little bit like Ireland here!

To end my evening, I helped out my host's parents with their cow farm and milking (on the same premises). I enjoyed my first glass of fresh milk this entire trip- and when I say fresh, I literally mean it just came out of the cow and was heated up to kill some bacteria. Yum, I miss fresh milk. All French people drink this strange boxed milk that never expires even though they're all surrounded by lots and lots of milk, cows, and cheese- oh the French! To top it off, I helped feed a newborn (born this morning) cow milk out of a bottle. I wish I had a picture of it.

Well, I'm out for now! I'd call it a good day. Look out for more updates!


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