Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the rest of your holidays! Andre and I had a very nice Christmas morning with the Lyttle's traditional eggs benedict of breakfast, but we didn't wait until after breakfast to open our gifts! We are so grateful to have such wonderful family and friends; you've all made our Christmas away from home not feel so far away.

Click here for the duck recipe we used on Christmas eve, we roasted it on a spit in the oven it was delicious!

Joyeuses Fêtes

Je vous souhaite de bonnes fêtes 

de fin d'année!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Our Drive into work
Maybe not the best time to go  shopping
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! We’ve been having a very festive December too with all the snow we’ve been getting. Back in early November, as the cold weather approached, we were told that there would be snow in the morning and it would all melt by the afternoon.  But that has not been the case, as you may have heard; “in northern France, the authorities placed a number of areas on the second-highest state of alert.” BBC News

 click here to read the full article

There has been a full blanket of snow out in the countryside for at least the past two weeks. Out at the Vimy Memorial it’s been a winter wonderland with all the trees completely covered in ice and snow.

In Arras, the Christmas Market has kept the town centre festive, Andre and I have been a number of times to get Christmas items and sample the vin chaud and marrons (roasted chestnuts).

Now it’s almost Christmas, we have our Christmas tree set up and the duck is in the icebox ready for our little feast for two tomorrow night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


This past week Andre and I went to Venice! We flew out from Charles de Gaulle and arrived early in the afternoon. We had an idea of where our hotel was, and headed towards the Rialto bridge; which Andre had picked out as a landmark before we left. Maps seem pretty much useless, a good thing to have for the occasional reference but to actually use it for navigation would require constant review, which would be far too distracting… The buildings pile up on top of one another, as if they were organically coming up from the lagoon itself. 

We wandered through the narrow alley streets crossing over little bridges and passing through small squares using the street signs to guide us to the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge bustles with market vendors and store fronts, it being the first dry bridge to cross the grand canal, and one of only four to do so.

After checking in we continued our wanderings to the San Marco Plaza, where we saw the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale. The sun was setting by this time and the view out over the water was spectacular. The Bridge of Sighs turned massive advertisement behind us though, is a subject of debate…

To see what I mean click here

The next day we returned to see the San Marco Plaza in daylight and watch as the tide bubbled up from the various spouts in the ground.  Platforms are set up, allowing people to still visit the Basilica and cross the plaza with out getting their feet wet. We walked all morning stopping to warm up for a café et cioccolata; a hot chocolate so thick you eat with a spoon!
San Marco Plaza by day
San Marco Plaza at night

We took a waterbus back to the Rialto Bridge; Gondolas prices are very high. Most of the Gondolas are immaculate with seating that looks like a small throne. Although the waterbus route doesn’t go through the small canals, it was still nice to see the city from the water.

We ended our afternoon on the rooftop terrace of our hotel with a beautiful sunset

The next day we flew home; it was a short visit, but we still had the morning to wander and grab one more cioccolata….