During my visit to Caen, I didn’t really have a lot of time (or energy) to play tourist. I lived in Caen for a semester three years ago, and although I really hope to get back to Etretat and Honfleur as well as the D-Day Beaches/American cemetery, I’ll have to save that for another visit (perhaps this spring!?) This visit was more about just hanging out with my host family and integrate back into everyday life and speaking French on a consistent basis.
During my first few days I ate moules in the garden, went to the beach, and went out with old friends. On Friday I recovered from my night out and spent the morning with my host brother Jean-Baptiste, who was home for the weekend. We ran errands all morning; he helped me a bit with my SIM card at SFR (the phone company I am using in France) and then we wandered around ikea looking for furniture. Coincidentally, JB is also a big fan of The Walking Dead, so we watched a couple of episodes (in French) during the afternoon and then met my host mom Catherine, her brother Jean Lou, and his two friends Guy and Danielle, out in centre ville (city center) for dinner. Afterwards we all walked along the port talking and people watching.
On Saturday before the wedding I went on a long run, and then after the wedding on Sunday JB and I met Catherine, JL, Guy, and Danielle at an observatory in Caen. It was actually a large hiking area with woods, trails and wide paths, and a golf course. In Caen today there was a large contest for talented artists in the area; artists (including JL and Guy) were set up with their canvases and paint sets along the rivers and in the trees, painting most of the day. We went to check out the competition and did some hiking.
Here is the sign for the exhibition:
Jean Lou’s friend Guy ended up winning first prize! I won’t post pictures of his paintings online but it was much deserved– both Jean-Lou and Guy sell their paintings for money and are very talented.
We spent Saturday night in eating an exquisite French dinner and sitting by the fireside, as within 4 days it dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit (brrr!)
Originally I was planning to leave on Monday but I ended up staying until Tuesday simply because my train ticket did not have a specific return day or time. I’m glad I stayed because on Monday after my run the six of us drove to Ouistreham (on the coast) to eat moules aux frites (Mussels and French fries) and then afterwards JB and I went fishing for les cravates (minnows) to cook with oysters on the ports! We didn’t catch but seven cravates but it was fun all the same.
Stay tuned for my adventures in Paris and Lille! As for Normandy, I’m going back for Christmas!