Monday, June 23, 2008
Summertime, and the living's easy
What? This thing again?
A point-form summation of a near-perfect weekend:
- Friday afternoon, biking through the Illkirch forest, then into Germany and up the Rhine to Kehl.
- Being hailed, in Kehl, by a street-side flower seller desperate to unload the last of his merchandise so that he could catch the Turkey-Croat match in the Euro Cup. We walked away with five bouquets for 11 Euros.
- Watching a three-person German bar band do a Robbie Williams cover in the pre-match party by the giant outdoor screen. Star of the show: the bongo-playing Jessica Simpson look-alike, complete with cowboy boots and Stetson.
- The band was followed by a pair of 12-year old bellydancers, who took it well in stride with the beatnik-cowgirl tried to steal their moment in the sun by returning to the stage with a live boa constrictor draped over her shoulders. All class, that one.
- Saturday we hit the local farmer’s market, then hopped on our bikes to hit an even larger farmer’s market not far from the university.
- Spent the afternoon napping and reading Le Monde which came with a supplement from the New York Times. The latter came with an index explaining such mysteries of the English language like “to hit the wall.”
- In the evening, we wandered the town, taking in the sights and sounds of the Fêtes de musique, in which every village in France is turned into a stage for every semi-talented bar band that ever plugged in a Stratocaster. We saw bands that sounded like The Cure, The Talking Heads, Thomas Dolby, The Pointer Sisters, Steppenwolf, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols and Hole. We did not manage to hear anything that sounded like it had been recorded in this century* (or, for that matter, anything French) but the aural walk through my youth was refreshing nonetheless. Or at least it was, until about midnight, at which point I could have done with some sleep. It was not to be, as two of the main stages were set up in front of the Cathedral and on Place Gutenberg, thus ensuring that we got to hear U2 battling it out with Aretha Franklin all night long.
- Bleary eyed and ill-rested, we hopped on our bikes first thing Sunday morning, in order to rendez-vous with Amynah’s boss Brigitte and her husband for a hike. We ended up doing the same route as I had with Tasha and Travis a few weeks before, largely because Brigitte was tickled by the name my guidebook had breathlessly given it: “Witches and Bloody Sacrifices.” The hike was a delight (I will never tire of being able to picnic in the ruins of a 13th century castle) but the return home was even better. The temperatures reached 33 degrees Celsius yesterday, and so we were all quite happy to don our fancy Euro-Speedos (or their gender appropriate equivalents) and splash around in Brigitte’s pool for the remains of the afternoon. This was followed by a dinner of loup marin and rosé taken poolside.
* We did hear a cover of the White Strips' “Seven Nation Army,” but it sounded like something Bruce Springsteen would have done with the E-Street Band, complete with saxophone solo. This group also won the fun French-ism of the night award: “…I’m going to Wee-shee-taw.”