03.11.13 Coiffeurs, cliffs and cuppas

Oopsy! I may have accidentally posted an old draft  that was in note form – here’s a version that actually makes sense when you read it :)

So I’ve done a fair bit since last Thursday – half-term last week meant that I missed my judo lesson, which was a bit of a disappointment. The Thursday before last we’d learnt Osotogari, and the class before that was O-Goshi. Despite being a little sadistic, our sensei makes the lessons very fun. I’m definitely stuck in my Liverpool jujitsu habits although I seem to groundfight okay with a few of the higher belt males who are also heavier than me (which is somewhat reassuring). I went and got my hair dyed as well, which was kind of terrifying seeing as I had to explain what I wanted done in French (éclaircir les pointes pour obtenir un brun cendré) but it all worked out okay… I think…

So off I went on Toussaint Friday! I took a train to Le Havre (after accidentally getting off in Rouen) and stayed there at Gîte de la Porte Océane until Sunday, mainly so I could go up to see les Falaises d’Étretat. Breakfast, which was offert, had been left out by the manager so I ate quite a lot of nutella and then went to explore Le Havre. The place was pretty much dead because of Toussaint… which was perfect :) The whole idea was to go to the countryside and get a break from the métro, boulot, dodo. Most of Friday was spent walking through parks to reach the beach, and finally being forced into L’église Saint-Joseph du Havre by the rain.

On Saturday I was accompanied on the 24 bus from Le Havre station to la mairie d’Étretat by a very nice chap called Samir. After getting off, I discovered it was la Fête du Hareng but by the time I’d finished climbing the cliffs it was too dark and rainy for barbecues! I ended up climbing Falaise Aval first (where I ended up getting lost in some slightly eerie woods and discovering a very big dragonfly) only to come back to the town centre where I met a lovely artist named Isabelle Tambeur (you’ll be able to read more about her soon) who invited me back to her boutique for tea! Also, just to be clear, I’d done absolutely nothing for Hallowe’en as I had to get the métro early the following day to get the train to Le Havre. My little brother and I used to dress up every year, carve pumpkins, trick-or-treat, do the apple-bobbing business, eat chestnuts – the whole shebang! So basically, I felt a bit sad about missing out. While around Rue Monge, I ordered a gaufre nutella to keep me going for the Falaise Amont and ended up with crême de marrons on my waffle instead (it turned out to be nice if a little sickly and the chestnuts reminded me of Hallowe’en back home, which was comforting even if was a day or two late!) So I climbed the second falaise, got some pretty nifty views of the sea, and had a very nice cup of Marco Polo Rouge with Isabelle! Much more importantly – the stolen llama business. It was on getting back to Le Havre that I learnt of the story, through a rather strange French video (it’s a parody song from Racine CarréeStromae). Read more on the stolen llama situation in Bordeaux. Anyway, there are some photos below of Étretat (I’ll be uploading more once my internet’s a bit better!)

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Sunday was nice and quiet too. I pretty much just rested in Le Havre where I met some Erasmus students (Luke from Birmingham and Bernd from Austria – who made me a really nice dinner!) I’m looking forward to doodling and cooking when I’m not doing assessments this week. No updates aside from me hopefully posting my macaron recipe up before Wednesday (and a new one after then!) and the fact that I’ve started really struggling to avoid saying French things when I’m speaking in English now. If you want to have a look at any jujitsu/judo information in French then check out this webpage: http://www.judoclic.com/


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