Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Two Days in Tours

{This group of posts pertains to my Christmas vacation in which my family came to visit me. The posts are based on notes I took during the trip and then wrote up after returning. They are post-dated to reflect the proper sequence of events. This is Part 6. Hang in there.}

On the 24th we left Caen and took the train to Tours. I had formerly spent 5 weeks in Tours doing a language intensive study abroad the summer after my first year of college, so it was interesting to come back to my old stomping grounds. We settled into the hotel, a quick two blocks from the train station. Knowing that our dining options were diminishing by the minute, we decided to have a nice big late lunch and then stock up on provisions for Christmas. Lunch was awesome: moules frites (mussels with french fries) for me, fish for the parents, and steak hache (basically a hamburger without the bun or topings) for the sister. Poor Mere had a bit of a tough time during the trip because more often than not the menu was full of seafood options, and she is not a seafood person. She got through it though, mostly by eating croque monsieurs. What's a croque monsieur? It's a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and a standard menu item across France.  Say it with me: {Croc miss-yer}. If you pronounce that n, I will hunt you down and beat you with a stale baguette. (Only sort of kidding).

Croque monsieur

We grabbed sodas and snacks from a near by supermarket and some bread, pastries, and a sandwich from a bakery. After dropping them at the hotel, we started walking around a bit. They had a Christmas market up, a larger one than Caen's. We wandered over to where I used to go to school, and then one of the prominent squares. I could've walked much more, but my family does not have their Europe-legs yet so we went back to the hotel, where we hung out in the lobby and enjoyed a glass of wine.

Then we went back upstairs for some cards, accompanied by the usual amount of smack talk and complaining about bad hands. Our favorite games? Oh Hell (earn points by correctly guessing the amount of tricks you can take), Eucher (teams of 2 race to get 10 points), and Hearts (if we're bored with the first two). We've also been known to play some very intense games of Crazy Eights. We also ended up watching the French version of American Idol, Nouvelle Star. Interesting to say the least.

Then we settled into our super duper comfy beds for the night. Sigh, I miss that bed already. The hotel served a continental breakfast the next morning, and then we set out for more walking. We saw the old cathedral, which was undergoing renovations the last time I was here. They've finished the front and moved the scaffolding to one of the sides. We also walked over to the fine arts museum. The museum of course was closed, but the courtyard/park was open allowing us to take a look at the 200 year old Lebanon cedar and Fritz the elephant. Fritz died in 1903 as the Barnum circus was passing through town. They gave him to the town as a "gift". The town had him stuffed in Nantes, and then he was part of the Natural History museum until it burned down in the last war. He now lives in the former carriage house of the now fine art museum.

The old cathedral

Buildings in the old part of Tours

Town hall

We did some more walking but it was clear they were really pretty much done. I would've liked to go and see the park again but they were way too tired. So back to the hotel. We played a couple games of cards and then Mere and I ended up watching Gone with the Wind in French. It was one of those times when you're just flipping through the channels and you think, "Oh I'll just watch this for a few minutes", and then you watch the whole thing. In French as in English, Rhett deserves soooo much better. After munching on some of our provisions the parents settled into their books while Mere and I flipped through the TV. We got to see an episode of La Juste Prix (The Price is Right), a documentary on the making of Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza", and a Christmas concert TV special, which included an appearance by Garou. Garou played Quasimodo in the French musical "Notre Dame de Paris", which Mere and I both watched in high school for our French classes. Mere and I also played a couple hands of war in which we deemed tens to be "plucky". Quote of the day, Mere: "I feel sorry for tens because they're so close to being face cards but they're not."


  1. I'm so far behind on your blog =( but I WILL catch up! ...one day

    1. You're getting there! You've only got like 8 more to go to catch up. Plus I write oodles and oodles for each post so it's not like it's a quick read.