Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sweden in France? Yes!

För Sverige – I tiden ( For Sweden- With the Times)

I had my father's second cousin, E, so my second cousin once removed (got that right!), from Sweden come to visit this weekend. So cool! What a fantastic time we had together!

Cousin shot. See any family resemblance in the blue eyes?
This was the fourth time I've met her in my life and the first time for Mr. K. We decided to meet in Paris at the St. Michel fountain in the Latin Quarter, like so many people do. Very easy to spot her: blond hair, tan, and just an air about her that said "this is someone from my family".

After introductions we went off in search of lunch and had crêpes in a crêperie by the Pantheon and Jardin du Luxembourg. She had never had crêpes before and they had a nice menu (galette complète, crêpe au beurre et sucre, and a café).  She loved it!

After lunch we went back and walked by the Seine, saw the Notre Dame (which she had not seen the inside before), visited the Bird and Flower Market (minus the birds- they only make appearances on Sundays) on the Ile de la Cite and witnessed the most stunning orchids possible, bought dessert at Bertie's Cupcakery (she hadn't had cupcakes before) and then made our trip via RER back to Gif-sur-Yvette for a "true French experience" as she put it. That train was quite possibly the hottest train we have taken to date. We wilted if not melted into seats. Luckily we were able to have seats.

The weather held up beautifully during the day and we managed to even have dinner out on our balcony!
Enjoying the cooler weather off the train
Yummy! Fresh summer melon, taboule, North African spiced chicken and rosé wine.
I managed to even get a photo with Mr. K in it too!
We had a blast and ended up chatting well into the evening outside laughing and sharing many many stories (thank you weather!). We retired inside to rest up for the next day where we were to go hiking to the Château de la Madeleine. 

However, sleep was not to be had after 5am. We all woke up to the WORST orage d’Été (summer storm) Mr. K and I had ever witnessed since coming to Gif. The lightning lit up the rooms so that it was almost as bright as day.  Galen! (Crazy!)

Thankfully, it was over around 6:30am and we could sleep another hour or so until we wanted to get up. Needless to say, after rescuing my poor basil plants from their fall, it was the main subject of talk over our "healthy" breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolat with tea and coffee.

Refreshed, we headed out to Chevreuse for that hike! The morning air was perfect, if just a bit hot. We had a nice breeze too so that helped. The hike up to the Chateau took us less time than we thought (apparently the last time Mr. K and I did it we were sorely out of shape...I say it was the difference between a morning hike versus an afternoon full sun hike). The Château was closed though; summer hours are very hard in the valley here. You never know when they start. 

So, after enjoying the view and a few pictures, we hiked back down through the forest and got a chance to walk along the "petits ponts" (little bridges) of the village of Chevreuse.

It's called "Little Venice" because of the bridges. You can even see the Château in the distance there!
We finished the hike with a stop at "La Ferme de Coubertin" where we got to see some chickens and rabbits and a calf. The cows had already been pastured. All in all a wonderful 10km hike to start your day off right!

Shortly after our return home, Cousin E had to leave to get to her hotel up in Beauvais Tille (an hour and a half north of Paris), but not before she shared with us some wonderful trinkets from Sweden!

So fun! We have a Dala horse in the family!

A close up of some Swedish gummies, "Sweden's most bought car" in licorice (left) and original (right)

Clockwise from top right: Dala horse, raspberry cookies, raspberry and multifruit gummies,
Swedish long matches, Swedish vodka with St. John's Wort, Swedish cocktail napkins, a
bracelet to remember Bible verses with a book in Swedish, and the delicious flatbread

Close up of a cheese "straightener" and pencil with collapsible ruler

She was so generous and sweet. We hope she enjoyed the French treats we gave her too. :-)

She gave us an open invitation to come and visit her in Sweden anytime, and we are happily planning on it for possibly next late spring, early summer. The snow should be melted by then, right?

Anyway, as a parting thought, enjoy the lovely tunes of the Swedish National Anthem: 
Dum gala, du fria
(if you click the above link, you'll hear the tune)

Du gamla, Du fria, Du fjällhöga nord
Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna!
Jag hälsar Dig, vänaste land uppå jord, 
/: Din sol, Din himmel, Dina ängder gröna.:/

Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar,
då ärat Ditt namn flög över jorden.
Jag vet att Du är och Du blir vad Du var. 
/:Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden.:/

Thou ancient, thou free, thou mountainous North
Thou quiet, thou joyful [and] fair!
I greet thee, most beautiful land upon earth,
/:Thy sun, Thy sky, Thy meadows green.:/

Thou art enthroned upon memories of great olden days,
When honored thy name flew across the earth,
I know that thou art and wilt remain what thou wast,
/:Yes, I want to live I want to die in the North:/

Tills nästa gång, (pronounced: Tilz Nest-a Gong)
(Until next time,)

Många kramar! (pronounced: Mong-eh Crow-Mar)
(Many hugs!) 

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