Saturday, April 26, 2008

Patriots' Day in Boston

Patriots' Day is the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. The town of Lexington has a reenactment on the battlegreen. Andrew and Angela's parents used to take them to the reenactment every year when they were little. Their mom made them little revolutionary outfits, complete with hats, that they would wear to the parades. The town of Lexington used to host a pancake breakfast after the reenactment, in the basement of a church in Lexington Center.

Last summer, Cyrielle, Guillaume and Angela visited the battle green, and ate sandwiches on the grass on a beautiful sunny day. Do you remember, Cyrielle?

The Boston Marathon also takes place on Patriots' Day. Angela's doctor, Dave Harmon, has run the marathon for the last 4 years, and he was going to run it again this year, to raise money for cancer research.

This year, there was also a Red Sox game on Patriots' Day. Andrew got tickets to the game, and asked Guillaume if he wanted to go. On the morning of the game, Angela also decided to go, since it was not going to rain. (She did not want to sit in the rain.)

The game was early in the day (11:05 a.m.!) because of the Marathon, so they got to Fenway Park a little early. They wandered around the park a little bit, and made their way to their seats.

The first seats were in the shade, and it was very very cold. So Angela decided to talk to the ticket people to see if they could get seats in the sun. And they did! Hooray for the nice Fenway Park people!
Not only were the seats in the sun, but they were in the very first row in the bleachers!

Guillaume looks very proud of his new Boston Red Sox hat, doesn't he? Andrew and Guillaume are especially happy because they are in the sun.

Angela was looking forward to a Fenway Frank. But the hot dog vendors weren't coming to their seats! She waited, and waited. Finally! She got her Fenway Frank. Of course Guillaume and Andrew got Fenway Franks too.

Red Sox win!

After the game, they walked to the corner of Boylston Street and Hereford Street to watch the Marathon runners. Of course, the winners and Lance Armstrong had already passed by, by that time. But there were thousands of runners still running by.
This picture is looking down Hereford Street, as the runners have to make the last push uphill.

And this is the final stretch. At the very end you can see a Boston Marathon sign stretched across Boylston Street. That is the finish line!

They had been watching for about 15 minutes, and they saw a man dressed as a plastic beer cup running by. (In the Boston Marathon, some people dress strangely.) Just after the beer cup ran by, Angela saw her doctor running! She shouted, "Go Dr. Harmon go!!" Of course he didn't hear her, but she was so happy that she saw him. There were over 30,000 runners in the Marathon this year, and Guillaume and Dr. Harmon think it is a good sign that we saw him! Dr. Harmon raised over $4,500 for cancer research this year. Thank you Dr. Harmon!

Sunday is Greek Easter, and everyone is going to Vas & Sal's for Easter Dinner. And after a small battle at work, Guillaume can go to Easter Dinner too. Hooray!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The REAL GP Experience

So finally there is time to blog again... finally, the end of their vacation in France!

On Monday morning, Angela and Guillaume awoke very early. They had to arrive at the airport a few hours before their flight because they weren't sure if there would be any seats for them on the flight.

When they checked in, the ticket agent told them that the flight was over-booked. Oh no! Their luggage was tagged "stand-by". Angela didn't think that was a good sign, but she is a believer, so she had hope. One of their suitcases was overweight, so they had to open up their suitcases to transfer things from one suitcase to another.

They took a little train from the main terminal to another terminal where they went through security. Then they went duty-free shopping and did not buy anything at all. They figured their suitcases weighed enough without adding to what they had to carry home.

After they waited for an hour at the gate, Guillaume checked in with the gate agent, who told him that it was unlikely that they would get on the plane, since it was oversold by 17 seats. So, again they waited. Finally, their names were called, and they received their boarding passes. Seat: JPS. That means jump seat. At least they were on the plane!

The passengers began to board the plane, and Angela and Guillaume waited until the very end. Finally, they got on the plane. Guillaume talked to one of the flight attendants, and he apologized that he could not seat us in Business Class, but it was full. At this point, they were just happy to be on the plane, since Angela had to be at work for an important meeting the next morning. (But they were a little disappointed that they would not be relaxing in Business Class!)

The flight attendant brought them upstairs to the jump seat in the bubble of the 747. They were sharing one jump seat.

Then, a flight attendant came over and asked us, "Which one of you would like to go into the cockpit for takeoff?" Angela pointed to Guillaume and said, "Of course, he will." Guillaume said, "No, I've been in the cockpit, you go."

Shortly before the plane was leaving the gate, the flight attendant brought Angela up to the cockpit. He introduced her to the pilot and co-pilot, who is a friend of Guillaume's father. Angela was buckled into her seat, and the pilot and co-pilot were doing their pre-flight checks while she watched. Finally, they were ready to take off. The plane started moving slowly down the runway, and suddenly, they were in the air! Angela didn't think they were going fast enough; it feels very different in the cockpit than it does in the back of the plane. About 15 minutes later, the pilot showed Angela the "mascot" and said, "Now she flies the plane!"

Then, Angela and the other flight attendant unbuckled themselves and left the cockpit, and Angela thanked them for letting her have that amazing experience.

Angela went back to the jumpseat where Guillaume was sitting. It was then that he told her he had never been in the cockpit for take-off. She asked why he told her that he did. He said that she wouldn't have gone otherwise. So, of course Angela told him he would go in the cockpit for landing.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, except for the rude woman sitting across from Angela's other jump seat. The woman put her bag on the floor in front of Angela, and put her feet up on the bag. One of her feet kept ending up on Angela's bag, right next to her water. Gross! Angela finally asked her to move her feet away from her water.

Angela went upstairs to visit Guillaume in the bubble, and he had just come out of a visit into the cockpit. The pilot told him that the U.S. doesn't allow anyone but crew into the cockpit during the landing. Guillaume was disappointed, and Angela was very disappointed for him.

They landed at Logan Airport, and Guillaume went through Customs in the US citizens and residents line with Angela! They didn't have any problems until after they got their luggage. The customs people told them to go over to the place where they screen the suitcases. They were a little nervous because they had 7 bottles of wine (which they told them about), and a lot of foie gras, tins of duck, rillettes, and a LOT of mini-saucissons!

After the suitcases went through the x-ray, the man asked them to open the suitcases because he saw some kind of can. Angela had packed the food inside clothes to protect it, and she found one jar of foie gras and gave it to the man. He looked at it, then told them it was fine. They closed their suitcases and went out to the taxi stand.

Finally, they arrived at home, unpacked, and collapsed on the couch.

Angela had a REAL GP experience!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ahhh, Paris!

Angela & Guillaume arrived in Paris late on Friday afternoon. With a quick phone call to Martine, they were inside the front door and in the elevator with their three HUGE suitcases. Angela doesn't know how all 5 of them fit in the elevator (Angela, Guillaume and suitcase 1, 2, and 3!).

They met Martine and went to the 14th floor, to their beautiful new apartment. Can you see what's in the background? This view is from their living room!

After bringing the suitcases in, the dining table came from their old apartment into the new. (It's VERY new, they had not moved all the way in yet - in fact, Angela & Guillaume were the first to spend the night there.)

Vincent and Martine came up to 14 for an aperetif before dinner at the brasserie at La Closerie des Lilas. The Eiffel Tower lit in the background was an amazing backdrop for the beginning of their evening, with a delightful champagne.

They arrived at La Closerie des Lilas, and waited at the bar for a table. More champagne? Bien sur! They finally were seated, 2 more glasses of champagne later. The olives were delicious, too.

This is the inside of the brasserie. There is also another restaurant at La Closerie des Lilas. Hemingway enjoyed this place, as well. He said: "The only decent cafe in our neighborhood was Closerie des Lilas, and it was one of the best cafes in Paris..."

Everyone had a delicious dinner, and very nice wine. Lots of wine. Angela didn't feel very well the next day, and it took her a long time to get moving. First, they went to the Crillon Bar for lunch! Angela had just a little club sandwich, and she wished she felt better to enjoy it.
Then, she saw the Velib' and had to take a picture. She loves the Velib'.

After lunch, they went shopping for a bag for Angela. She got a beautiful black bag, and a beautiful red wallet. Then, they went to Galeries Lafayette, and shopped a little bit more. Guillaume and Angela both bought very cute Lacoste watches.
Finally, they left shopping and tried to get a taxi home. But they ended up in the middle of a manifestation (protest) for the handicapped. They weren't sure what the protest was about, but there were lots and lots of people, and it took them a long time to get to a taxi. But, it did allow them to have a nice walk down rue de la Paix and through Place Vendome, past the Dubail store, where they bought their wedding rings!
Saturday night was the Big Birthday Dinner! Vincent had made reservations at Le Pre Catelan, a 3-star restaurant. They took a taxi to the restaurant, which is in the Bois de Boulogne, a beautiful wooded area in Paris. Roland Garros is also on the edge of Bois de Boulogne. At night, however, the Bois de Boulogne takes on a different tone... it's kind of like the "red light" district of Paris. At 9:00 p.m., there wasn't too much action in the woods, but they saw a few "workers"!
They turned into the drive of Le Pre Catelan, and saw the beautiful building which houses the restaurant. Guillaume thought it looked like the White House. The man who greeted us told us it is fashioned after a casino!
They were led to a beautiful table in a corner of the dining room, and they felt they had the best seats in the room. They could see everything, and no one was close to them. Of course, the table was set beautifully.

The first course was a mushroom soup with onion foam ... (if Angela had the menu, she could say exactly what it was, but she can't find it)...

After that, they were given urchin, as a gelee, as a creamy mousse, and as something else that can't really be described. It was amazing.

This is the gelee. Angela thought it was so pretty.

Then the scallops...

This one was seared on this hot stone, and the waiter said to turn the scallop over to sear the other side. Guillaume and Vincent were very happy with their wine choices.

The next course was langoustines - in a ravioli, with some kind of delightful sauce that both Angela and Martine drank after the langoustine, and with some kind of green foam. Not only delicious and pretty, but fun, too!

Then, Angela's first sweetbreads. And she's glad she chose this place for her first time.


Dessert! This is actually a glass made out of sugar. Angela tried to pick it up and it broke in her hand (she didn't know it was sugar).

This was a banana/peanut butter dessert (yes, two desserts... plus chocolates).
By the time they finished eating, they were the only ones left in the dining room.

They had such a lovely, delicious evening, they didn't want it to end.

But, they had a lovely apartment to go home to, with Paris and the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background.

On Sunday, Guillaume went with Vincent on the scooter to buy some books for his friend, and to buy Angela a sandwich that she has been craving since she had it the last time she was in Paris... a year ago! The four of them had a lovely lunch, and then Angela and Guillaume took the train to Pigalle to see Bruno, Virginie, Milo and Lola, and Claudia and Guy would be there too!

Angela and Guillaume forgot the camera, so there are no pictures, but it was a very nice time, and it was so, so so nice to see them again, and they hope it won't be so long until the next time. And Angela is looking forward to a couple of tours with Virginie!

Claudia and Guy drove them to the Rosebud Bar, and they said their goodbyes on a rainy streetcorner in Paris. After The Rousseaus drove away, the other Rousseaus dashed down the street to the bar, and met Vincent and Martine, and Guillaume's old bar manager, Phillipe. After a few glasses of champagne for Angela and Martine, and a few bourbons for the boys, they left.

Angela got a ride on the back of Vincent's scooter, and Guillaume and Martine walked home. Angela's first scooter ride was pretty fun! As they rounded the final corner, the Eiffel Tower came into view, and was sparkling for the last time that night, and the last time Angela would see her for a while, so she was grateful for the show.

They sadly said goodbye to Vincent and Martine, and went to bed to prepare for the early day, and long flight home on Monday.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Back in Boston

But there is still so much to tell about Angela & Guillaume's vacation in France!

On Wednesday evening, after spending their afternoon shopping for food and wine to bring back home, Guy made blanquette de veau for dinner. It was delicious. Angela even had it for lunch, too!

Cyril came over for dinner, too, and Angela and Guillaume were very happy to see him!

After dinner, they all watched the home movie of Claudia's 40th birthday party. Angela loved it! She loved seeing Guillaume, Cyrielle and Cyril when they were little too. It was a lot of fun!

The next day was the long travel day! The Four Rousseaus headed out on a castle tour: Chambord, Cheverny, and Chenonceau... the Three Ch's!

This is a map to show the locations of the castles:

The first castle they went to was Chambord. They didn't get lost (yet)!

Angela had to be very quick with the camera to get the pictures as they whizzed by! Sometimes Guy could back up and stop, like here. But she still had to be fast.

The first sight of the castle is very impressive.

They didn't give out free samples of the Chambord. Quel dommage!

They visited the outside of the castle, but did not pay for the inside tour. The outside grounds were beautiful, and the weather cooperated for a little while. It was rainy part of the day, but not this hour!

After visiting the castle a little, they made their way to the restaurant just outside for lunch. And imagine this: no pictures of food! Impossible!But this was their view from their dining table. Pas mal, non?

They piled back into the car:

Next stop, Cheverny!
At Cheverny, there are hunting dogs that go out two times a week. There are 100 of them! They arrived at the castle shortly before feeding time, and it looked like it would be very interesting.

And here is a movie to show that it was VERY interesting! They released the dogs, and then the dogs did not eat until the handlers told them it was okay to eat. Then they went crazy! They jumped all over each other to get the food. The food smelled terrible, and Angela and Claudia had to leave shortly after the dogs started to eat.

They toured the castle, and then headed out for the 3rd Ch.. Chenonceau! (Angela had to be very, very quick with the camera to take this picture - no backing up on the roads!)

Chenonceau is a castle that is build primarily over the water, and is beautiful! To get to the castle, there is a long promenade through trees. Guillaume, Claudia and Guy were very happy they didn't have to use their umbrellas!

Finally, they headed home. But they weren't quite sure how to get there.

But, they made it home with help from GPS, and with a little traffic. It was a long, but very very nice day.

On Friday, it was time for Angela and Guillaume to go to Paris, and their stay in Ste Genevieve des Bois was over. They were very sad to leave, but were very happy that they had this time together.

Guy drove Angela and Guillaume to Vincent & Martine's apartment in Paris. As they rounded the final corner to get to their home, they saw the Eiffel Tower, and they were all amazed at the beautiful view.

The story continues...