So, what else has been happening since Germany? Of course, the usual madness. Here is a smattering of things…
Every year they have Luna Park at the Micropolis here in Besancon. It is kind of like a carnival but all the rides only cost 1 Euro. I took the kids on the day before we left for Germany. Of course the kids had a great time. Callie loved the trampoline and Zander loved the Bumper cars – he got to be quite a good driver…
Towards the end of February the weather got warmer and we went for a walk in the forest of Chailluz and also for a bike ride and picnic – our first family picnic of 2010. I still hate biking. I go far too fast. I mean, we were out there to see the first signs of spring – who can see that when whizzing along on a bike? Plus, biking hurts my butt. However, I am getting a bit less terrified, so I’d term that progress. Kudos to Zander on the deer photo!
After our ‘frozen brake’ incident in Dresden, Mr. Liberty had been acting kind of funny so we took him in for repairs (The first time in almost a year since we bought him and he is 17 – man I love that car). This meant that we had a weekend with no car. We took the bus (remember those days?) downtown to go to a flea market and ended up in a corner of Besancon we haven’t yet explored. It always amazes me how much we miss that is right at our fingertips.
First there was the Ancient Abbey of St. Vincent. It was founded in the 11th century and its bell tower used to be the highest point of Besancon. It was in use for at least 600 years as an abbey and now is used for university offices etc….
The next thing we discovered was the Theatre of Besancon. Zander promptly informed us that he’d been inside the building for a school field trip and that it was ‘very fancy and new’ inside. The building was finished in 1784 and featured ‘the first orchestra pit in the world’. Wow – that little factoid amazed me. I mean, where did the orchestra go before there was a pit??? Who knew Besancon had this claim to fame? Unfortunately the interior was destroyed by a terrible fire in the late 1950’s and was only renewed in 1994.
The weather lately has been worth mentioning. We had a pretty hard winter with several heavy snow falls and then, at then end of February, it suddenly became warm. Spring, without a jacket, warm. This made all the snow melt really really fast and the Doubs got very high. You can see that cars parked near the edge of the river were in serious danger of being washed away.
On the other hand, Zander is not being washed away. Here is a shot of him and his classmates at the pool. I have gone along to chaperone several times since the first. He doesn’t seem to be learning all that much but he enjoys time in the water. He is still not doing as well as I’d like in school but I am going to have a meeting with all the pertinent players on Thursday morning (finally!) so maybe something positive will come out of that. We have also started with a new tutor, Kelly, who is working out well so far. We’ll see what happens when the honeymoon ends!
I shall close with these shots of signs on the doors leading into and out of André’s office building.
For those of you who don’t speak French, ‘Poussez’ means push and ‘Tirez’ means pull. For some reason, I always have a mental block on tirez. I literally say to myself, every single time I see a tirez: “Oh I am so tired, I wish I didn’t have to pull on this door.” You see, the word tirez reminds me of tired, and when I’m tired I don’t want to pull. I realize, of course, that this makes sense in absolutely no one’s brain but my own, but it works for me so I stick with it.
But that fascinating little tidbit is not why I took this photo. I took it because, in both cases above, the art work, of an open hand, is the same. OK, I could put my hand on that spot and push, so I think it is just fine for the ‘poussez’ side of things. But have you ever tried to pull with a flat open hand? Can’t be done. This is just plain misleading and, despite my usually dependable (though overly complicated) mind trick, it made me stupidly lean into the door for several confused moments. Language barrier or icon injustice? You be the judge.