We’re going to Barcelona for six days on a home exchange in February. I can’t wait. Apart from our trip to Australia in September, we haven’t been out of the country for a whole year. We haven’t even gone anywhere except Paris and Blois during that time which means that I’m travel-starved.
During the same twelve month period in 2011, we went to Seville, to the south-west of France, to Normandy, to Angers and Loche in the Loire Valley, then on a four-week trip to Croatia in the summer that included 9 countries. After that, we went to “Wet” Champagne, then back to the Loire where we found Closerie Falaiseau. And we spent Christmas in Normandy.
So you can see why I’m so excited. One of the reasons I love living in Paris is its proximity to so many other countries. Over the years, we’ve been to Italy several times and have now started visting Spain. Ah yes, I forgot to mention Madrid in my list. We went there last March on our first home exchange. But it feels so long ago.
Now that we’ve booked the airfares (we’re travelling with Easy Jet for the first time), Relationnel has started reading the guide book. He decides on how we fill our days, acts the tour guide and writes up the travel dairy while I organise accommodation, do the talking, find places to eat, take the photos, write blog posts and occasionally contribute to the diary. So I’d better start listening to my Spanish tapes again. I use Harraps’ Michel Thomas method. It’s a very effective, entirely audio method which exists for other languages as well. You can download ten free lessons to test it.
I’ve checked the temperatures which should be 10 or 12°C during the day and it should be sunny which is fine by me. It’s 3°C and overcast in Paris at the moment. I’m not sure our home exchanger is getting the best deal, though she will have an unhindered view of the Palais Royal gardens. So any advice on places to see (particularly off the beaten track), things to do, tips for avoiding queues and things, and, especially, places to eat, are very welcome.
And while we’re on the subject of eating, how’s the diet going? I’ve managed to lose a kilo this week, despite the galette des rois, an apéritif at Le Meurice (where I stuck to the olives and nuts and ignored the cheesy things), dinner at Le Mesturet (without dessert or café gourmand) and lunch at Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie (duck and café gourmand, I have to confess).
The main things that have changed this week are my greater intake of fresh fish from the market and no afternoon tea. I’ve also had fresh citrus fruit for breakfast as opposed to orange juice. I’ve been having a small portion of carbs at lunchtime and just protein and vegetables at night. Maybe a bit less wine as well. We also finished off our Christmas chocolates in Blois. We weren’t eating a lot, but two with coffee at lunch and dinner every day is definitely too much! The foie gras is finished too. There’s still the Christmas cake, but it’ll last a while yet.Le Comptoir de la Gourmandise, restaurant and gourmet food store, 34 rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris, 01 42 33 31 32 http://www.comptoirdelagastronomie.com firstname.lastname@example.org