Sickening. Horrifying. Humbling. Sobering.
I could go on and on, but those are the adjectives that immediately sprang to mind upon seeing Dachau Concentration Camp. Whether this was a good idea or not, it was the first thing we did once we got to Munich. We knew it was the kind of thing we wouldn't be able to stand for very long, so we thought we'd do it as a half-day trip on Saturday since we had already used the other half of the day traveling.
This place has special meaning for B's family, because his grandfather was part of the liberation army at Dachau on April 29, 1945. Still, despite the fact that good people came to eventually release these prisoners, it was still really, really hard to see. B's mom didn't even go, and I can't blame her. This place displays the essence of human evil, concentrated in one place.
The part that really got me was the crematoriums. I absolutely could not wrap my mind around the fact that humans put other humans in there. These ovens, they are big brick ovens with arched openings. They wouldn't look amiss in a baker's shop or a pizza place. I kept waiting for a big guy in a white apron and a bread paddle to show up. There's no way people were put into those things. But they were.
Another crazy part is the juxtaposition of the crematorium and the gas chambers, and a little stream that runs through the place. There are little paths through the woods. There are plants, bushes, trees. Birds are chirping. It looks like a nature walk. And yet just a few yards away some of the worst crimes against humanity were committed.
But evil doesn't exist in a vacuum. It doesn't come from robots, and that's what we have to remember. I think this post sums it up perfectly, much better than I ever could.
I didn't take any pictures. This is not because it wasn't allowed. It was because I personally could not bring myself to photograph this stuff. I didn't even bring my big camera. It just felt weird. This was not a tourist attraction, in the typical sense of the word.
However, if I had brought my camera, the one picture I would have taken would have been of a wall with a quote written on it in letters that were raised. On top of one of the letters, someone had placed a red enamel poppy pin that said, "Never forget." That little red poppy pin really moved me.
And we should never forget. It's our job to pass down the memory of these atrocities to our children and grandchildren. Only by remembrance of the horror of the Holocaust can we hope to avoid catastrophes like this in the future. You better believe my kids will be reading Number the Stars and Night and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
This was not an easy trip to make. We didn't talk very much at all, because what can you say? It's not something fun to see, but it needs to be seen. If you find yourself anywhere in Germany, take a few hours to visit a concentration camp. And never, ever forget.
In love and peace,
Confession time: I am not an art person.
I wish I was. I wish I could be that kind of cultured person. But I'm not. Standing staring at paintings is painful on the feet - I'd rather just be walking. And if I do try, I stand in front of a painting hoping some kind of great inspiration or moving sentiment will strike me. It never does. It just looks like a painting. Nice, pretty, but nothing earth-shattering. I have been extremely moved by a gorgeous landscape or a good meal, but never a painting or sculpture. I still haven't even been to the Louvre.
So going to the Musee d'Orsay was a bit of a stretch for me. A learning experience, if you will. Nothing really jumped out at me or moved me, but I did like a couple of paintings. This one was my favorite:
Regardless of my newfound appreciation of Paul Signac, I was pretty excited when it was time to meet my in-laws, who had just arrived, and have lunch. We found a nice little restaurant not too far from d'Orsay, and we had to wait about a half-hour for a table to open up. It was also hard on the feet, but beyond worth it. It was called Cafe de l'Empire, and it. was. amazing.
On a whim three of us ordered the duck simply because it smelled so good as we saw waiters carrying it to other tables. I don't even know if I've ever had duck before, but after smelling this business I had to try some.
Now that caused an inspiration. The duck AND potatoes were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This was a phenomenal meal. I cannot adequately explain how good this was - and what a good deal this was. Pretty sure the duck was around 10 euros, give or take. I mean, seriously.
And the cafe gourmand? Don't get me started. That's a common thing here, the cafe gourmand. You get a shot of espresso and several different mini desserts. I liked every single one of these except for the one in the little pot. It was like yogurt with fruit on top, and I do. not. like. yogurt. But the creme brulee and the macaron and the fudge-y chocolate cake thing? Yes, please.
After we were all adequately refueled, I set off with the in-laws for a day of exploring Paris. Have you ever taken a double-decker tour bus? I hadn't. B and I had kind of dismissed that as a "tourist" thing. But after spending the morning on my feet at the Musee d'Orsay, the idea of seeing the city while sitting down sounded like an absolutely delightful thing to do.
And it was. You could hop on and hop off this bus wherever you wanted, but we mostly stayed on. And I got some phenomenal pictures. Being in the open air, high above everyone else, lends itself to pretty good photography. Occasionally I got irritated when I got the heads of the people on the other side of the aisle in my photo, but that's kind of unavoidable.
So I say to you, dear readers, don't knock it 'til you try it. See my pics of Paris from the tour bus below, and enjoy. What a gorgeous day we had. And you do YOU. If you're more inspired by a really good duck than by a painting, well, so be it. And call me, because we could probably be good friends.
More adventures with the in-laws to come...in TWO more countries! Stay tuned...
Aaaaand I'm back.
After a week-long hiatus in Paris and Munich (and beyond) with friends and family, I've got a little catching up to do. The tablet doesn't lend itself to easy blogging, even with the keyboard, so I typically wait until I get back to edit my photos and type up my posts. Due to my OCD and my extreme need to always be early, or at least on time, this is stressful. But here goes.
Last Tuesday night I took the train up to Paris with B's cousin and her friend, and on Wednesday, we went to Versailles. I didn't know much about it, other than it was a big palace and had large gardens.
The first thing we found out about it was that it was CROWDED. Some people might not be bothered by this. I'm not one of those people. I was trying to take a picture and got shoved aside by a little bitty Chinese lady who was shorter than I am (and for those of you who don't know me personally, I'm 5'0"). If you ever feel the urge to visit a very large palace with 300,000 of your closest friends, Versailles is a great place to start.
Aside from the crowds, though, it really is a very lovely palace. We got the free audio guides and they were a great addition to get more information. All the rooms were beautiful, although it's hard to get good pictures indoors. Here are a few of my favorites.
The gardens were the truly spectacular part of this chateau, partly because they were less crowded and partly because they were just so pretty. My favorite part was the Queen's Hamlet. It reminds me for the world of the 16th century farm at Chenonceau. Even the tiny towns and workers' quarters at these huge chateaux are still really nice. I could have wandered around the gardens there forever, if the weather hadn't been quite so schizophrenic.
The bottom line is, we had a great time and Versailles is certainly worth visiting if you find yourself in France, but be prepared for the crowds. And go on a nice day so you can spend more time wandering the gardens and less time elbowing fellow tourists to see the furniture and art displays in the chateau.
After Versailles we made our way back to Paris and climbed up to Montmartre. It's a ton of uphill streets and stairs, but the view is beyond worth it.
After avoiding the sketchy street vendors selling selfie sticks and Heinekens out of a bucket, we made our way to Les Refuges des Fondues for dinner. I think I've sufficiently covered that. All in all, it was a perfect day in Paris. And of course, I had several more days in Paris, so stay tuned...
You know, we DID go to Versailles today.
I had all these classy, fancy pictures, and I practically had the blog post written in my head. And then we went to dinner.
This place was a recommendation from my brother when he went on his Eurotour with Wake Forest. Actually, he didn't remember the place. He asked my mother to ask the professor, and since I live in France, my mother forwarded the email along to me.
The irony is that I went here with B's cousin and her friend who are also two WFU grads. But regardless of collegiate affiliation, this place is amazing. Looks a little sketchy at first, but the food is phenomenal and after a "bottle" of wine, you tend to loosen up.
If you like fondue this is highly recommended. If you don't like fondue, you're wrong. Please enjoy, and heaven forbid if you're in Paris, please make your way here. Just trust us, k?
E (and L and G)
Bergamo (pronounced BARE-ga-mo, not ber-GAM-oh) isn't a city that's on many people's Italian radars. But it's Greenville's sister city. We have a Piazza Bergamo and a Ristorante Bergamo downtown, and since we're over on this side of the pond now, we decided we wanted to see the actual Bergamo.
Now we have, and all I have to say is, Greenville lucked out on the sister city draw. Bergamo definitely got the short end of that stick. This town. Y'all. The old medieval city, Citta Alta, up on the hill. The newer city, Cite Bassa, down at the base. The surrounding mountains. The...just...everything. I am in love.
It started with a wonderful Airbnb stay. I know y'all think they're probably paying me a commission or something, but I promise, I really just am that obsessed. Our very kind host even volunteered to pick us up from the train station and take us to the house. It was even cuter in person than online. Here are a couple of pics (that, much like her own, don't do it justice).
It was a studio, but that was all we needed because we weren't there very much. And our host, Annamaria, even left chocolates on our pillows and a houseplant (I think it's a rose) for us. Which led to another interesting lesson learned: you can fly with houseplants in your carry-on bag within the European Union. We actually got our little rose back to France!
Anyway, the trip started off on a wonderful foot and continued to just get better. And it's going to be a lot easier for me to show you than to tell you. My words can't compare to this place. So without further ado, here you go:
For our last meal, we splurged and ate at Trip Advisor's #1 restaurant in Bergamo, Trattoria Camozzi, which happened to be right behind our apartment. We did the traditional first course, main course, and dessert, with a little free apertivo and tiny glass of Prosecco thrown in. Meal pictured below. It was just unbelievable. We were sickeningly stuffed afterwards. Good thing we walked more than 25,000 steps on Saturday.
Can we be the official ambassadors to Bergamo? Like some kind of exchange program for grown-ups? We promise to represent G-Vegas well and to do our very best to help international relations, aided by much wine and gelato.
We absolutely loved visiting you, and we hope we get to see you again. Thank you for the beautiful views, incredible food, and precious memories.
E & B
Eleven years. It took eleven years to get my bum back to Italy, and not even Florence, at that. Still, Milan is better than nothing. It's a surprisingly cool city. I had never given it too much thought before. Everyone knows about Rome, Florence, Venice, etc., and of course I have my obsession with Siena and San Gimignano, but Milan had never really crossed my radar. Except Milano Pepperidge Farm cookies. The mint ones are awesome.
But tickets from Paris were cheap, and Milan is near Bergamo, which is Greenville's sister city. But to get to Bergamo, we had to fly into Milano. It was an easy flight and a lovely day. Our first stop was to see the cathedral. Unfortunately, we didn't go inside. After eleven years memory tends to fade, and I forgot you need your knees and shoulders covered to enter a cathedral in Italy. And since it was 80+ degrees here today, I was in a sleeveless, above-the-knee dress. Fail.
We didn't stay very long in the piazza in front of the cathedral. It was very, very crowded and didn't feel entirely safe. The sheer amount of people was overwhelming. And apparently there is a very, very large market for selfie sticks in front of the duomo and elsewhere in Milano.
We took some pictures outside. There are a TON of pigeons. Gross. One of those hawker guys came up to me and kept trying to give me corn to feed the pigeons so he could then extort us for money, but he was barking up the wrong tree. A, I do not give money to those sketchy street vendors, and B, birds freak me the heck out. If he thought I was actually interested in attracting those feathery scavengers, he was very, very wrong.
Directly to the left of the cathedral was the famous shopping area, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It was also very ornate, but since its stores ran more toward Prada and Louis Vuitton, and my budget leans more toward H&M and Camaieu, we didn't stay long.
After that, it was time to head to a less touristy location for the traditional Milanese tradition of apertivo. It's basically just a grown-up happy hour. For the price of a beverage, you either receive some nibbles or access to a buffet. It varies depending on restaurant, but it's a very big thing in this part of Italy. So of course we were going to partake.
As we walked, we came across this Wall of Dolls. We don't know enough Italian to understand what it's for, but it seems like it's trying to raise awareness for something. It was very interesting.
We finally chose a bar a little way from the cathedral, Todos a Cuba. Each of our drinks was 7 euros, but we got access to a buffet. The idea is not to approach the buffet like an American and cram as much onto your plate, but instead to only eat a little and savor the flavors of what you're eating. It's supposed to awaken your taste buds for dinner, not comprise dinner. So I only had some marinated carrot and zucchini sticks and a couple of sausage meatballs. It was nice to sit down after all that walking.
Did you know Milano has canals? Venice gets all the attention for its canals, due to the sheer amount and the fact that the entire city is built around them, but Milano does have canals. The Navigli District is the canal area, and we knew that was something we definitely wanted to see. So we hopped on the trolley and took a ride down.
It was also very crowded here. Italy is much warmer than France, so this is prime tourist time in Italy - warm, but not too hot. We had a hard time finding a place to eat dinner.
We finally found a great little place to eat, not quite on the canals but nearby, and I got to introduce Brian to one of the (many) reasons I love Italy: an entire liter of house wine for only 11 euros (that's more than a bottle, FYI). He had some kind of pasta, and I had wonderful spinach and ricotta ravioli with a parmesan butter sauce. It was divine. And of course, we topped it all off with a tiramisu for B and panna cotta in caramel sauce for me.
After dinner, we wandered down to a different section of the canal district and sat on the sidewalk while dangling our feet above the water. And then I hugged a snail.
It was a fast and furious day in Milan, arriving at 4:00ish on Thursday and leaving for Bergamo at 11:30 on Friday. I'm sure if we had more time we could have found more little gems, but this will have to do for now.
Little disclaimer: we have a couple different sets of visitors this week and we'll be traveling, so be patient as you wait for updates! Just sign up for email delivery, and I promise you won't miss a thing.
E & B
My complete and total inability to be a morning person is well-documented, bordering on infamous. I hate spending the night at other people's houses because I feel pressured to wake up early, but frankly I just don't function well before 10:00 a.m.
So when I found myself awake at 5:45 yesterday morning, thanks to the dimwits screaming and making noise out in the street, I assumed I'd go back to bed. I was as surprised as you probably are that I didn't, but it's turned out to be a really nice day.
For instance, I started out by finding out what my street looked like at 5:52 in the morning.
After a cup of hot tea, a little bit of yoga, and a quick shower, I took a walk by the river on my way to the market to pick up supplies for dinner. I learned what the Loire looks like at 8:00 a.m. It's actually very pretty, although much more deserted than during the day.
Disclaimer: This pic got a little help from PicMonkey to looks its best.
After hitting the market, I went to my favorite bar for a little cafe au lait and reading. I feel the need to point out that a "bar" here is any establishment that serves only beverages, but not food. They can serve coffee, tea, soda, etc., as well as alcohol (which Bar Tourangeau does), but just no food, in case any of you were worried I was drinking at 9 a.m. (cough, cough, Mom).
But the caffeine (and ADD) kicked in after about an hour, so I decided to take a walk...which quickly devolved into a shopping trip.
It started innocently enough. I wanted a hat to keep my face (slightly) shaded and to conceal the bad/dirty hair days. I was aiming for H&M, but it's pretty far from our place, almost to the train station. On the way there, I passed Camaieu and saw this lovely orange dress on a rack by the front door. Naturally, I had to stop in.
I should also point out now that a really nice feature of French stores is that they list the prices of whatever is in the window. So if, say, I come across a dress I like but the sign says it's 245 euros, I know definitely not to go in. But when the sign says 19.99 euros, sign me up!
I tried on a lot but came out with only two things, the orange dress and a lovely teal blouse. Well, after that I decided I wanted a teal/blue necklace to go with the orange dress. That led me to I Am, where I didn't find a blue necklace but I did find a hat as well as a gold feather necklace.
I still wasn't satisfied - I wanted a blue necklace, but I started wandering back home because I was getting hungry. Then I ran into Pimkie, because I saw this dress in the window. We may live in Greenville (well, sort of), but I have a deep, deep love for Charleston...and all its pineapples, the symbol of welcome. I had to try on this dress. And in the process of doing so, I found a lovely pair of orange sandals and an orange/coral necklace to boot. #winning
At that point, I really did need to call it a day. I don't go shopping often, but when I do I wind up buying several things at once. Below are my spoils of war:
I learned a valuable lesson today at lunch: leftover baguettes do not make good sandwiches. I'm pretty sure that if I had pulled up the rug and tried to eat it, it would have been less tough and chewy. Buy the baguette fresh at lunch, then eat the rest for dinner, and repeat the following day. Now you know.
Then I - get ready for it! - did three loads of laundry. This is what that looks like, if you were curious:
Exciting, huh? Towels not pictured. Then I vacuumed, because next Monday we get our first visitors! B's cousin and her friend are coming to Tours on Monday. Although technically they had booked a trip to Paris before they knew we were moving to France, they're still the first people who are coming to see us, so I think that counts. And just a few days after that, B's parents will arrive. Needless to say, I'm excited. I'm SO ready to play tour guide.
I'm not sure this post actually has a point, besides me rambling, but if I had to choose I'd say that maybe, if I've got the energy, getting up early has its perks. I've crammed an awful lot into one day. But no promises if I'll do it again tomorrow ;)
We spent this past weekend in Tampa, Fla., celebrating the marriage of two dear friends, Greg and Kristie. The weather was beautiful - they couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous weekend.
The wedding was even more gorgeous, and the bride was radiant. Sadly, we didn't get a picture with her, but just trust us, k?
B and I decided at my brother's wedding last October that it was infinitely more fun to be a guest at a wedding instead of the bride and groom, and this wedding didn't disappoint. It was so nice to catch up with people we hadn't seen in a while - and to talk to them in English.
But at the end of the weekend, France was calling.
Our connection from Orlando to Paris was in Charlotte. On Sunday afternoon, as we sat in the rocking chairs in front of the Pandora store (why is there a Pandora store in an airport?), my mom FaceTimed me. She was with my dad, brother, sister-in-law, grandparents, great-grandmother, aunt, uncle, and my two cousins. Basically, the only members of the extended Edwards/Payne family not in my grandparents' house were the two sitting in the rocking chairs at Charlotte Douglas. It was so wonderful to get to "see" everyone, especially on Mother's Day. Except maybe my little brother who made fun of me the whole time. My foot hurt, okay?! ;)
They passed my mom's phone around the living room so I could say hi to everyone, and one of the last people I spoke to was my grandmother. As she handed the phone back to my mother, she said, "Have a safe trip home." I don't think she'd realized what she'd said. I've been living away from Davidson County, N.C., for so long now that she's used to my "home" being far away. But she hit the nail on the head.
For right now (and probably a little bit for the rest of my life), Tours, France, is home. I love flying into Charles de Gaulle airport and seeing all the exotic airlines going to places like Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi, Moscow and Shanghai. I love the tri-tone "ding" that's played at the train stations whenever they're about to make an announcement. I love the feeling when I can pick out some words or phrases from a babble of French. I love our sunny, airy apartment with its open shelving and cabinet for dishes. I love the markets, the restaurants, all the outdoor tables to sit at, and the many lovely parks. They are all a part of this adventure, and they make it feel like home. Boy, it's nice to be back.
E & B
P.S. - Stay tuned, because we're heading out on our first trip outside of France this weekend - we're so excited! And don't forget to invite friends to sign up for email delivery if you think they'd like a semi-daily dose of French life!
One month is down. One-sixth of our trip is done. And I'm kind of horrified by that.
It went so quickly! I know we're not done yet, but we've now been in France for as long as I studied abroad in Italy. That month seemed like an eternity. This time it's going by way too quickly for my liking.
But that's not to say we haven't learned things in our month here. Here are just a few of them:
1. We do not know as much French as we thought we did. It's one thing to hear it nice and slow with a corresponding picture on Rosetta Stone; it's entirely another to hear it from a rapid-fire native speaker.
2. Shopping and cooking here isn't as fun as I thought it would be...because we don't have an oven (or a grill). That eliminates roasting vegetables, cooking meat, and baking of any and all kinds. On the upside, it means a baguette, cheese, and wine is a perfectly appropriate dinner.
3. Washing machines are not necessarily inanimate objects.
4. Toms are not the best all-weather footwear (but when it's sunny, they're SO comfortable!).
5. The French are people just like us...only with better access to good cheese and wine. They whip out their iPhones at the dinner table and text their friends. They have to walk their dogs in the rain. They have "auto-ecoles," because they have to teach their 16-year-olds to drive, too. There are rude ones, but there have been many more kind ones. In the end, they're just ordinary people, too, trying to live their lives, and we're extremely grateful they've let us plop awkwardly in their country and stay for another five months.
And on that note, we're actually in Tampa for the weekend for a good friend's wedding, so I'll say au revoir for now. See you soon back in France!
E & B
Perhaps the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, but the rain in France seems to be following us around. We had a dreary but fun three days in Reims, in the heart of Champagne region.
Disclaimer: This is a long post. You've been warned. BUT - this one is really awesome. I highly encourage you to make it all the way through...
We got off to a rough start. Note to all you potential visitors: when you purchase your TGV tickets, you have the option to purchase an e-ticket or you can choose to print the ticket at the station. We typically do e-tickets, because B has the SNCF app on his phone, and he also prints out the e-confirmation as backup. But when he booked these tickets, there wasn't an e-ticket option.
So on Friday morning we headed blithely to the train station in Tours and walked right up to one of the machines to print out our tickets. To make a very long and boring story short, it didn't work. The ticket office was closed because it was a bank holiday. And we had a train to catch in 15 minutes. We finally talked to the conductors and they allowed us to board the train, but we had to purchase another ticket from them to do so. Of course, all of this was done in our very bad, broken French with awkward miming: "Yellow machine no work. We already buy tickets. Train leave at 8," etc.
When we got to the Paris station, Gare Montparnasse, we had to go into the ticket office to get our tickets printed. We had to wait in line. Once we got them printed, we had to take the Paris metro to Gare de l'Est. This was not as fast as we'd hoped. By the time we got off at Est, we were panicking. Enter hero, stage right. A man about our age stopped to ask if we needed help (clearly we did). He looked at our tickets, and then he walked (okay, jogged) with us out of the metro and showed us to our TGV track. We would never have made it in time without him. To our nameless savior, thank you dearly. We will pay it forward to someone else in need.
After sustenance, we set about wandering, and wander we did. On Friday, according to Brian's phone's health app, we took more than 23,000 steps - more than 12 miles! And okay, yes, some of those steps were earned doing the hundred-yard dash through Paris's Gare de l'Est while three men in fatigues with semi-automatic rifles stood guard (don't even ask), but the rest were obtained in a more leisurely tourist manner. We checked out Reims Cathedral and generally wandered around the city, and, of course, sampled the "local product." Wink, wink. Check out some pics of the city below:
On Saturday, we had a half-day tour of the Champagne region with Cris-Events. We never really would have pegged ourselves as tour people before. Our travel style is more of "aimlessly wandering and seeing what we can run into." But after these last two weeks, we just might be converts - for wine tours, anyway.
Yet again, the small wine-producing villages have proven more attractive than the major cities in which we've been based. But they're harder to get to, not on main train lines, so going there with a tour is the perfect way to do it. It didn't hurt that our guide, Aina/Ina (sp?) was a super guide. And our fellow tourists were awesome. We were a crazy international bunch. There was us, the Americans living in France. Then there were two Asian-born men who were raised in the Netherlands. There was one Japanese guy who lived in Brussels, and his two friends from Japan. Everyone was friendly and happy and up for a good time.
We first went to the village of Hautvillers to see some of the vineyards. Due to the cold climate, only three grape varietals grow in the Champagne region and subsequently can be put into Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. As per normal, the view was stunning as, frankly, it should be considering how expensive it is. One hectare of vineyard land (100m x 100m) is roughly $1.8 million, and you have to have at least two to produce Champagne. So that's quite a hefty investment. No wonder Champagne is so expensive.
Then we headed to an independent Champagne house, Fernand Lemaire, in the village of Hautvillers. We learned about the Champagne-making process and the many, many rules and regulations surrounding it. The number of grapes you can grow and pick, the length of the first fermentation, the length of the second fermentation...it's crazy. We learned how vintages are chosen and made, and we got a tour of their operation.
Fun Champagne fact: it's totally okay to drink Champagne (or sparkling wine) out of regular wine glasses, so long as they are rounded at the bottom and narrower at the top. Champagne flutes are used when you want to mask the imperfections in a Champagne because it doesn't allow as much scent and flavor to come through. Who knew?
I told you this post was long, but I also told you it was worth it...and here's why. At our second tasting, at Gobillard and Sons, B got to saber a bottle of Champagne. "What's that?" you say? That is exactly what it sounds like. He used a giant-ass sword to slice open a bottle of Champagne. This was the one thing he wanted to do. B is not a pushy person, and he's generally content to let me plan and organize everything, but he desperately wanted to saber a bottle, so he did!
See pics AND a video (via YouTube) below! This was definitely the highlight of our trip!
The rain held of on Saturday but came back to haunt us on Sunday. We had to check out of the hotel at 11:00, but our train wasn't until 6:30 p.m. We had lunch around 11:30, and we walked around a bit, but we were both just cold and wet and had squishy feet. So we bought a bottle of wine at a mini-mart and hung out in the lobby/lounge of our hotel, drinking wine out of coffee mugs and reading for 4 hours. Sunday Funday, Stevenson-style...rain never keeps us down long :)
E & B