Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Citadel at Besancon

On the way back to Metz, we went to Besancon to see the Citadel, a fortress above the city built by Vauban, Louis XIV's military engineer. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Citadel houses a number of museums and a zoo, making good use of a large expanse of land overlooking the River Doubs. We spent time in the Museum of the Resistance and the Deportation, which detailed activities in the region during World War II.

Breakfast al fresco

Each morning in Dijon, we had breakfast at a cafe near the hotel and watched children ride on a carousel. I could have stayed there all day collecting data on which carousel animal or seat was chosen and if there were gender differences, etc. Fortunately for all of us, I didn't.

Room with a View

This was the view from our hotel room in Dijon, looking into the courtyard of the building across the street.

Visit to Dijon

After spending a day in Metz earlier this week, we left on Tuesday for a two-day visit to Dijon for our eighth anniversary. We drove in the rain on the freeway and arrived about three hours later in Dijon, the capital of the duchy of Burgundy. We had booked a hotel right in the center of town, so we parked the car in the garage and set off on foot to get a feel for the city.

We visited the old district of the city around the palace of the dukes of Burgundy, walking by stone mansions and half-timbered 15th and 16th houses. That night, we took a bus to an alternative art space in the suburbs north of the city center to hear the "Big Band of Students" of the Conservatoire de Dijon play the music of Pink Floyd arranged for big band. Watching the students enjoy themselves as they played was quite wonderful.

The following day, we visited the Musee des Beaux-Arts in the ducal palace, walked down to the Dijon synagogue and had lunch nearby, then relaxed before enjoying a fabulous 6-course dinner at Stephane Derbord on the Place Wilson.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Metz Redux

We are back in Metz - at last. I left here on January 30 and visited friends in London and Paris before flying to El Paso on February 6. My two weeks home were full of sun and family. We enjoyed a quick trip to Houston for our visa appointments at the French consulate, returning to El Paso with the promise of visas before February 20...which was fulfilled (with two days to spare).

We ran errands today in the sun - quite a difference from the weather of early January. Since it is winter break, we're heading south to Dijon in the morning for a two-day trip to celebrate our 8th anniversary on the 24th! And our friend John Campbell, who lives in Amsterdam, is coming for the weekend.

Our adventures continue!