Vive la Piscine!

I made it to France.

Ballet Boy and I had our trip shortened by a massive snow/ice storm in Iowa. It sounds petulant to say we were not disappointed, because who wouldn’t like a trip to France paid for by their ex? But a few days at home with my new love and to get organized didn’t go unappreciated. To make my end of semester drama even more complicated, a few days before Christmas my mother slipped and broke both bones in her left arm, resulting in a complicated surgery to put her back together again.

Veal sausage with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

We flew out on Christmas Day and spent most of the day in the Frankfurt airport. We both had never been to Germany and I tried to draw on two years of private German lessons from seventh grade. Needless to say, I was limited to “Danke” and “Guten Tag.” We had fun, though. I had a sausage, because when in Frankfort, eat a Frankfurter, right?

View from my friend Annemarie’s wonderfully situated apartment

Marseille was sunny and beautiful on Day One, in spite of some high winds at landing that were causing 4 meter high waves in the Mediterranean Sea that made our landing kind of pukey. DayTwo has been rainy and cold. I hibernated…basically I slept 7 hours, tried to drag myself out of bed to run in the 40+ weather, and promptly fell back asleep until noon. Annemarie (an American friend I grew up with who has now been an ex-patriot most of her life) suggested a trip to the beautiful new pool in Cassis.

I dug out my goggles and swim cap, and then realized I’d forgotten my swim suit. Ugh! This was okay as I really wanted to go to Decathlon, a huge sporting goods store. I got a suit for 24 euros as well as some nice sportswear. I love massive sporting goods stores that are cheap!

Shoe area at Cassis pool

We hit the pool, which includes a huge fun pool for kids and lap swimming. To get in, you leave your shoes after going through a turn style. Annemarie could see me turning green at the idea of leaving my $140 Saucony’s there, so I picked them up and carried them into the locker room.

The white clasp at the bottom that I totally missed.

The locker room was coed, with separate changing stalls. You go in one side of the stall and come out the other. I could not for the life of me figure out how to lock it, so 60+ Frenchman walked in on me with bare boobs. He swore at me, of course, because I was too stupid to lock the door. When I came out Annemarie’s 10 year old patiently showed me that there was a lock system at the bottom of the door.

When I got to the lap swimming area I stood and tried to see a method to the madness. Some people appeared to be swimming in circles, some didn’t. I got into a lane next to someone who looked like he swam quite a bit and we circled. I was coughing up a lung since it has been a while and my left arm felt tight, but eventually I found a rhythm and started getting my flip turns. Around then he left and two French ladies jumped in. One was swimming on her back in front of the other, kind of helping her swim. They were all over the place, but didn’t appear to be circling so I finally decided they were splitting the lane. Bam…I ran smack into the back paddler. I apologized profusely and then asked if she wanted to split or circle. She said split, her companion circle, but we finally decided splitting would work better. I was coming back down my lane when I saw an itty bitty French girl breast stroking towards me. That did it; I had done 17 x 50 meter at that point and decided to go join Annemarie and Niels in the super warm kiddy pool.

Although I love the way there are no street shoes in the locker room and didn’t mind the coed showers (everyone stayed dressed, folks, don’t get too excited), I do constantly wonder how the French do well on any team sport as they are extremely bordelique (all for themselves/disorganized). I was super happy to get a swim in and feel totally relaxed.

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almost all goat cheese, a lactose intolerant heaven!
three varieties of artichokes
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Deer, lamb, pheasant and other rare game at the butcher…

So far I have bought French undies (conveniently didn’t pack enough and now can throw away some of my granny undies at home), French face cream and shampoo, two sport tops, running socks, and am eyeing the chocolate aisle at the supermarket and waiting for it to go on sale Jan.2. I had a great day helping Annemarie shop for goodies at the local butcher and green grocer. Enjoy the food porn!1545844_10151883948821025_2058263770_n


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