22 February 2012

Karnaval and the Klown

Montpellier came out to play for Karnaval 2012 on Tuesday night.

About five years ago the city cancelled the parade of crazies due to rowdiness. Since then, the rebellious hippy youth of Montpellier has organized a colorful counterculture celebration mixed with anarchist sentiments and silly costumes.

We followed a loud drum circle as well as a shredded fabric minstrel through the tiny streets and into the squares around the downtown area.

 Emma with the ever infamous Hugo : ex-anarchist clown

Fierce make-up for a fierce Sarah 

21 February 2012

The Ascent of the Wolf

It's been on my list of things-to-do ever since I knew it existed. Pic St. Loup is the highest point in the south of France and a steep hike to a glorious view.

Kip, Julien and I set out in the morning in search of a lush picnic at the top of this peak. Some winding roads, wrong turns and false trailheads we found our challenge. At 658 meters it's not quite the San Francisco Peaks but nonetheless impressionante throughout the Languedoc and Montpellier region.

Although the car rental was expensive and none-short of hidden fees, the views were priceless. The vista was rich with the Mediterranean coastline and the small vineyards that wind around its base.

There's nothing like a sunny landscape and a day in nature to reheat the winter in preparation for spring.

 Only in France is there a church at the summit...

20 February 2012

How To Burn Fossil Fuels

1. Pick a gorgeous area in which you'd like to be driven around in; such as the South of France.

2. Pack nice weather, necessary supplies, snacks and friends

3. Frolic in the nature

4. Trespass on the private property

5. Stay in a culturally relevant hotel (or just take a picture of one)

6. Buy the local products (boats, mussels, etc.)

7. Take artsy photos to be hopefully used in future independent travel magazines

8. Appreciate what wildlife there might be.

9. Enjoy!

17 February 2012

Annecy, my Valentine

Find yourself single with a bar of chocolate in the most beautiful place in the world this Valentine's Day? Don't fret, the pictures are worth it.

On the good ol' Tuesday I took the train to the breath-taking Annecy. At the base of Mont Blanc and spooning a crystal clear lake, this small town is filled with perfectly cobbled streets and quaint restaurants.

I spent the afternoon walking around with my backpack as a solid companion and a bar of chocolate stuffed in my purse. People gawked at my peculiar appearance as I gawked at the gorgeous landscape. Je ne vais jamais avoir des mots was the only response I had to an old lady nice enough to take my picture and strike up a conversation about this little gem-of-a-place.

16 February 2012

Une journée genevoise

So with two weeks of vacation why not go to Geneva for the day, buy ridiculously expensive artisan chocolates and pretend you can afford Switzerland.
I don't dirty the sidewalks

Red Cross

The streets were a little too "proper".

Score for the world!

Snuck into the library at the Université de Généve just to try it on for size... The tuition was a little too big.

 The United Nations was well, extremely gated. I was really hoping to get in a chat but the water cooler wasn't quite open for business.

But Geneva sure had its beautiful moments...

15 February 2012

Long-weekend Lyon

Perhaps it was my awesome host and her friends; or the icy frozen rivers : Rhône and Saône; or maybe it was the view from Basilique Fourvière or the big city feel of Lyon that charmed me. At the base of the Alps I walked my feet off, found warmth in coffee shops, geeked out at the Musée des Beaux Arts, shopped markets and shoes and partied with the best of them (thanks guys!). Lyon is the third largest city in France but by the end, I felt we were solid acquaintances.

14 February 2012

On the road... to the Ultimate Frisbee Championships of France

We (Team Montpellier III) set out on a three hour road trip to Lyon on Thursday to participate in the Ultimate Frisbee Regional Championships. We’re a motley crew of French guys serious about their frisbee, an anglo-man and two anglo-ladies. Lost in translation, yes. But on the volleyball courts (because we play indoors) most of the terms are English spoken with a French accent. Up becomes more like uap and dive is deyiveh. Starting the stall ‘compte … un … deux … ‘ is just part of the extra challenge.
Our next tournament will be in March in Nantes and I think we’ve got quite the chance for a winning weekend.

08 February 2012

Saag Paneer : The Knock-off

"Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spicesherbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society. Each family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. Indian cuisine also varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically-diverse subcontinent." - Wikipedia

This dish might be desecrating the ancient and sacred food practices of many Indian family recipes. But not all of us have time/ skill/ magic hands and must resort to refrigerator goodies.

1 bag of fresh spinach
1 cup of milk
half of an onion
clove of garlic
curry powder
queso fresco to taste
flour (for thickening)
couscous or white rice

In a large saucepan blanch all the spinach (put spinach in hot salted water and take out once wilted). Take out and set to the side. Once cooled, cut into small slices. In the same saucepan melt a tablespoon of butter and slowly caramelize sliced onions and garlic with salt and pepper. Then add the milk, a ton of curry powder and let boil. Once slightly thickened add the flour little by little to thicken the mixture even more. Then add the spinach and let simmer. Add milk if too thick, if you do make sure to add more spices. Cube up the queso fresco to taste (watch out, it can get pretty salty). Mix and season to taste. Serve over couscous or white rice