Monday, June 2, 2014

France and Germany… a send off from the Army-- Part 3

On our second day in the Champagne region, we enjoyed a typical French continental breakfast, then walked around Reims some more.  The Ibis had a pretty good spread for five euros…


I already miss the croissants...

We were marveling about how we could end up in France so suddenly.  Most people, when they plan a trip abroad, plan for months in advance.  We just picked up our stuff and headed for the most convenient Space A Pax terminal, which in our case was BWI.  Honestly, I would have liked to have gone to McGuire, which has recently been offering flights to Shannon, Ireland.  But we had set days we needed to make this trip happen and we didn't want to waste any time.  So we went to Germany and then France…  I have to say, we had a great time!


The city hall in Reims… on the way to the beautiful cathedral.


Reims Cathedral...













I am a sucker for stained glass.  This cathedral also had some music softly playing.  I could tell Bill was starting to get really touched by it.


The outside… lots of scaffolding on the front because like many other cathedrals in Europe, Reims Cathedral is being restored.


Cool house!


I know what merde means.



Bill and I sat in this peaceful park for awhile, resting and catching our bearings after our walk around town.

We decided to take a day trip to Epernay, which is where a lot of the champagne caves and vineyards are.  We had a nice lunch at a brasserie.




Lasagne and some kind of carbonara were on the menu…  quite satisfactory!




We decided to have mid afternoon drinks at a bar that served French beers on tap as well as the Belgian styled Afflingen…  




The proprietor kept the door to the bathrooms locked, so every time I had to pee (frequently), I had to go get the key which had a champagne cork as a keychain.  It was kind of a lively little bar, though.  Lots of locals were in there enjoying themselves.


As Bill gazed at this intersection, he saw a young woman having a rather animated conversation with herself.  She finally stalked off in a rage at one point...

When it was time for dinner, we were back in Reims.  We found ourselves at a restaurant I had noticed around lunchtime by the enchanting aroma of something tasty.  We went inside and asked for a table and were fortunate to be able to get one… because this place was basically in a bomb shelter!

A young man of about twelve or thirteen who didn't speak any English was trying to wait on us.  Soon, a young woman, rumored on Trip Advisor to be Belgian, came out and translated the menu for us.  I got the sense that it was her place.  She took a keen interest in making sure we enjoyed our meal.




Smoked salmon with a horseradish cream...


A delightfully creamy asparagus soup...


I had duck with vegetables and potatoes au gratin...


Bill had a lovely beef dish...


This was the special dessert of the day.  It was some kind of yogurt with cherry liqueur.  I don't like yogurt much, so I passed it to Bill...


Bill gave me his warm strawberry rhubarb crumble, which was delicious.

As we were finishing our meals, a mixed French and American couple came in.  The man seemed nervous.  He was American and spoke what sounded like excellent French.  But he was ill at ease about the dining partners who would join them, an American couple whom they had obviously never met in person before.  The French lady was trying to reassure the guy, who didn't seem to know where he should sit or what they should order in advance of the couple's arrival.  When they did show up, I kind of wondered what was going on.  I have to admit, the thought that they were swingers crossed my mind.  Maybe I should write a short story about that scenario.  I'm sure the reality was far less salacious.  They were probably just trying to strike a business deal.

Anyway, that was one of the best meals of our trip.  We thoroughly enjoyed L'Alambic and would recommend it to others!






Cool little fountain in Reims...


Grape vines in Epernay...

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