It's weird for an Australian in Europe at Christmas. When we're usually at the beach or picnicing, we're now rugging up and staying indoors. It's just not right. But it sure is fun. Yes, it did actually feel like something big was happening this year. There's a buzz in the air. People look happier. We're all wishing each other 'merry this' and 'happy that' at the end of every sentence. It's infectious.
We spent Christmas in France. Because Kevin's sister's partner ,Simon, is French. His parents live in a rural town in the Burgundy region (somewhere in the middle, a few hours south of Paris). So that's where we spent Christmas, in a large barn converted house doing fun family things like playing fuse ball and water volleyball in their heated indoor pool. They also have a timeshare in the French alps a few hours away so we did a bit of skiing after Christmas as well. Throw in a few days in Lyon, the second largest city in France and a 6 hour stopover in Paris and that's pretty much a recipe for a Christmas like no other.
Here are some things I learnt over my 10 days in France:
- There are at least 5 courses in most French meals - entree, main, dessert, cheese, fruit. Pace yourself.
- French people drink A LOT of wine.
- On Christmas day you go down to your cellar with family for a customary drink and snack.
- If you get bedbugs in a hotel, tell them the second you see it rather than staying up the whole night getting bitten.
- Though I have enthusiasm I am not a good skiier.
- Only eat Bouchon food (in Lyon) in a good restaurant otherwise the food will be terrible. It will also contain things like brains, tripe and liver. Be prepared.
- Do not wear your slippery sneakers you got from Peru to the snow, you will slip in a snowball fight and hurt yourself.
- Do not go on a blue run if this is your second time skiing, you will have a death defying time trying to get down.
- Walk around the French countryside, it's beautiful.
- The macaroons in France really are the best.
So many thanks to the Maniora's for taking us under their wing this Christmas and teaching us the true spirit of Christmas.