les aventures continuent

I’m almost half way through the month of February & I haven’t yet had to stop buying meat because I’m running low on money! That’ll probably all change next week, but it’s fairly exciting for me for the moment. I guess going a little further out of my way to the discount grocery store is paying off! haha.

Anyways, enough about me being broke. I think it’s fairly common knowledge by now that I make no money here, but hey, I’m in France & my spoken French is better than it’s been in years, so I’m pretty sure it’s worth it. I’m officially a certified Barista! This kind of seems like old news now seeing as most of you know via Facebook, but it’s exciting none-the-less. I got to take off my En Formation badge 2 sundays ago. I still am working on getting faster since I still don’t get to be on the bar a whole lot, but at least I’m not worrying about the test any longer. The only drink I really had to show them I could make was a cappuccino (which they weighed to make sure it wasn’t too heavy). I also had to prepare a French press & then present a coffee, talk about it’s origins, treatment method, the story behind the stamp (yes, there’s a story behind each stamp), talk about how we do a coffee tasting & talk about the coffee itself. & then they went through a series of questions about all things Starbucks. It was like an interview…which is unfortunate for me. As anyone who’s ever interviewed me knows, I’m awful at them & get so nervous I forget very basic things- like taking off my coat inside). All in all, it went pretty well & I passed so it’s done. Yes!!

That weekend, my friend from Republique Starbucks, Tonia, invited me to a surprise party at her house. It was for one of her roommates & a bunch of ppl from Rep came that I haven’t seen in a while so that was nice. I also met this girl from Toronto that I almost punched after she said (for about the 5th time): “I can’t believe you live in Calgary. I mean, Calgary. I could never live there”. Of course, she’d never been to Calgary before…or anywhere west of Ontario, actually & referred to Ontario (namely, Toronto) as the center of Canada. (Oh, I’ve never been past central Canada). I’m sorry…but last time I looked at a map of Canada, Toronto wasn’t in the centre, but I do love how ppl sometimes refer to it as such. Oh, & thank you for judging my hometown when you’ve never even been there before. Personally, I would never live in Toronto, but I can understand why people would & would never insult YOUR home…but that’s cool. Please don’t tell others you’re Canadian…you’re giving us a bad reputation. Yes, I’m a little bit bitter. Honestly, WHO SAYS THAT?

Anyways, I got paid that weekend which meant I bought a ticket to Geneva for the Tuesday.It was an INCREDIBLE city! I absolutely loved it! It’s so beautiful-alps, lake, lovely streets…& it’s very French, which I appreciated. I take for granted being fluent in French until I head somewhere like Italy, where I can’t speak the language. I guess it gives me a look at what most people experience when they backpack around the world. I’ve never before noticed so many languages all in one place. At one moment, I could hear people speaking French, English, Italian, German…at the very least those 4. Les Genevois didn’t JUST speak English, it was ONE of the languages they spoke. I bought swiss chocolate (of course) & the vendor spoke PERFECT unaccented English…& French also, of course.

after almost missing my train

Pont du Mont Blanc

near Cathédrale St Pierre

After almost missing my train in the first place (I actually had to run to Part Dieu to make it & jumped on the train 30s before the doors closed) & getting on the wrong part of the train & having to switch at the first stop, I made it to Geneva. I spent the morning/early afternoon wandering in the old own, up & down the hilly pedestrian streets, admiring the imposing Cathedrale St Pierre & then wandering down to the waterfront to get a closer look at the famous Jet D’eau. It’s pretty cool, I have to say. There were so many sailboats & it had that waterfront smell I love, even though it’s just a lake (albeit a fairly large one). Then I headed up towards the botanic gardens & the Palais des Nations. I decided to walk instead of take the bus. For one, it’s cheaper, but I also feel like I get to know a city better if I walk. It was quite far & took me about an hour, but I wasn’t really rushed since I knew the Palais des Nations wouldn’t be open until 2pm. I also wanted to see the International Red Cross Museum, but sadly it’s closed on Tuesdays. I did a tour of the United Nations though, which was pretty cool. You have to show your passport to be allowed in & then they make you a visitor badge that you have to wear as you’re walking around. The tour guide was very informative…He knew so much about the buildings, to how the UN operates, to its history, etc etc. It was really interesting. The building itself is beautiful, as are the grounds. I got a few pictures that are pretty good, but I think it’s somewhere you have to visit. I mean, even just the hallways are pretty exquisite. After the tour, I wandered back into the old town & had a hot chocolate outside in this pretty little square. (mmm swiss hot chocolate).

Cathédrale

Jet D’eau

Musée de la Croix Rousse

United Nations

Beautiful Square

Chocolat chaud

The day had started out a bit cloudy, but as it progressed I was able to see more & more of the mountains. They’re still hard to see in the photos, but in person I did get a little bit of a glimpse! An hour or so before my train, I headed back towards the station, grabbed the best chicken schwarma I’ve had in a while from a little hole in the wall recommended by Lonely Planet, bought some Swiss chocolate & caught my train home to Lyon. Great way to spend a day off, if you ask me!!

swiss chocolate

Thursday night, Kate & I were supposed to go out with her friends, Fatah & Steph. We went to hers & predrank a bit (well, we TRIED, but just couldn’t force down the awful rum she’d bought). We were all dressed up & trying to take a velo’v, but after 3 attempts to buy a card on 3 different machines, we gave up. We were both in heels & didn’t want to walk so we decided to have a drink in a little bar. Fatah & Steph texted us that they were going to the boats so we went & met them, but it was pretty lame so we didn’t stay long. I walked up to Cordeliers with Steph & we took the metro together. She’s from Sweden & is the sweetest girl! It’s her birthday this friday, so that should be fun!

les berges du rhône

Saturday night, I went out with a bunch of Starbucks people. We met in town & walked over to les Berges to go to Q boat. Being the jerks they are sometimes at the boats, they wouldn’t let us in. So then we walked all the way back to l’hotel de ville to go to Ayers. We waited in line to get in & it was so packed you couldn’t move. So we waiting in line to get out & headed up the street to Barberousse. I’d never been before but I’ll definitely be going back. It’s this pirate shooter bar. So we all shared lots of rum based drinks & did a cucaracha, which they light on fire & you drink through a straw. Needless to say, it was not an early night & me & my shift supervisor (who also came out) were more than a little bit tired when we opened the next morning.

Johan, Maureen & Dunya 

Barbarousse Pirate Bar

Dunya & I

Monday night, I met Kate, Rachel, Jamie & a few new people at Place des Terreaux & we headed to the Wallace Pub. It’s an English pub that apparently specializes in different kinds of Whiskey. I decided I’d stick with my demi pèche, but the had Québecois beer AND live music…I dunno how Québecois beer ends up in a Pub, but I’m not gonna argue with it. haha.

sasha’s glasses make the rounds

once a lush, always a lush…

music in a pub

I’d read in a blog about this great patisserie in Bellecour called Pignol, so I met Kate & we decided to check it out before doing some shopping. It was AMAZING. Not only were the pastries delicious, but they were also pretty much art. It took us a good 20 minutes to decide because everything looked so amazing. In the end, I chose a Caramel Meringue & Kate chose some kind of delicious tart. We already have plans to go back with our friend, Rachel.

Pignol

Artful pastries

mine & Kate’s dessert

Next week is les vacances scolaires so everyone is taking off to different cities. Kate is off to Copenhagen to visit Steph & Rachel is off to Northern France (Including Rennes-so jealous). So I’m pretty sure it’ll pretty low key in Lyon & I’ll be jealously wishing I was going somewhere exciting. I guess I can’t go somewhere new EVERY week, but perhaps I’ll try to take off somewhere despite my lack of money. There is still so much to see in this beautiful region!!

Anyways, you’re probably sick of me yammering on about my life so I’ll let you go & get on with yours! Enjoy reading week for those of you in school! Keep the emails & messages coming. & for those of you who normally talk to me on Facebook chat, it hasn’t been working very well lately, so you should definitely look into skype! I swear you’ll never go back to msn or any crap programs again!

Love love,
Bisous,
alanna

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