September 26. FRANCE
We made it across the English Channel. Saw the white cliffs of Dover. That was awesome. Stayed in a great place with very cool hosts.. Saw the Dover Castle,which is incredible. Learned a lot of history, went through tunnels, both medieval and stuff used in WWII. Very cool.
And now we are in France. And here are some things about France.
And I felt compelled to write a list of things I noticed immediately…
You know you’re in France when:
- EVERYTHING is in French.
- Getting off the ferry across the English Channel you realize that you maybe should have thought ahead and tried to learn a few helpful phrases such as “Where is the ___?” and “Help, I’m lost!”
- You begin every sentence with “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” and hope that if you smile pathetically they might take pity on you when you follow it with “Parles’vous Anglais o Espanol?”
- After realizing that there is definitely going to be a huge language barrier, you spend a good half hour in your hotel room watching ‘Survival French’ YouTube videos. [which aren’t half bad, except for the one that -among the more than dozen phrases presented- included the proper verb tense when asking your mother for coffee. Really? If my mom and I both spoke French there’s no way we would have been watching this video, but apparently that’s besides the point.]
- Your pathetic attempt at French with the 5 phrases you can remember fails with the first server who tried to help you, and you get the waiter from the UK, who, thank goodness, is very friendly and helpful. And,it seems, isn’t interested in letting you try your few learned French phrases. After all, he did not get your table to listen to your horrible French, but to assist you as efficiently as possible in English.
- You almost give said waiter a heart attack by drinking the “still water” out of the bottle instead of waiting for a wine glass he was bringing you.
- There are crepes on the “sweets” menu. And they’re amazing.
- Everything is in French.
- You can get espresso at the bar until 2 am. !!
- Even at the rest-stop on the highway you can get a real espresso in the cafeteria. And there is a choice of small glass espresso cups, or to go ones. Totally cool. Tres bon!
- Even at the rest-stop on the highway you can get fresh-made crepes.
- At the rest stop!
- All the road signs are in French.
- You gratefully realize that there are quite a few cognates between French, Spanish, and English.
- Going grocery shopping is exhausting, because you have to read and understand French. You hope for the best when unsure of what product is packaged in what you are buying.
- Everything is in French. It seems.
Stay tuned to hear more on this… Next up? Our trip to Normandy~