voyage de noces in Budapest

As I’m sure many of you are aware, we went to Budapest for our vacation (with a few days in France-Comté). We had a great time, and we had a nice time discovering the city together. Any other places we’ve spent significant time in, one or the other already knew it, but neither of us had been to Budapest before.

I won’t give you a play-by-play of the entire trip, but I will tell you about some of the highlights.

almostbilingue_budapest view of pest

Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River – Buda and Pest. We spent the majority of our time on the Pest side as that was where we were staying and where many of the attractions we were interested in are located. Continue reading

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a stroll around our new neighborhood

We’ve now been in our new place for over two months. We definitely don’t regret our impulsive decision to move at all. We love our new place and our new neighborhood.

Back when we first moved here, I promised you all pictures of the neighborhood. I took said pictures on a sunny day in December and then promptly forgot about them.

We live in Vieux Lille which usually gets the response of “Oh? Really!”, and then we follow up by saying “No, not where you’re thinking.”

See Vieux Lille is a very touristy (and sometimes ritzy) neighborhood of Lille. It’s where you can find the cathedral and luxury stores like Louis Vuitton. Apartments cost a fortune to rent or buy. That is not where we live. Continue reading

elliot dans la neige

Elliot snow

During our time in Franche-Comté for Christmas, it snowed a bit, leaving a nice white blanket of soft snow.

Since adopting Elliot and learning his weird quirks, we’ve been curious as to how he’d react to snow. In the rain, he plops himself down in the doorway and refuses to go outside. Luckily, he’s small so we can force him outside to do his business. Would snow be the same way?

It didn’t snow at all last winter, so we didn’t get a chance to find out. When we awoke to snow a few days after Christmas, we finally had the opportunity to find out. Continue reading

christmas in franche-comté

Later in this post: A visit to the Christmas markets in Mulhouse and Montbéliard!

For the Christmas holidays, we made our way down to J’s parents’ in Bourguignon, Franche-Comté. As predicted, the week and a half was filled with lots of food, wine, and of course, family. Just to give you an idea, we had a raclette three times in a week’s time. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our fill for this season.

almostbilingue christmas raclette

Raclette

For Christmas Eve, to go along with the massive amounts of food for dinner (though I sit out on a few courses – foie gras and escargots – giving my poor stomach a break. I don’t have the dexterity of the French yet), we picked up two bûches de Noël from our favorite place there Julien Patisserie. He’s the one who made our wedding cake. Continue reading

a visit to ypres

alostbilingue ypres

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday so what better to do during the holiday season than to visit a Christmas market? We decided to take a little drive over the border to visit the market in Ypres (Ieper in Dutch), Belgium.

This was our very first visit to the town, and besides looking up information on the Christmas market, we didn’t really know what to expect.

With a population of about 35,000, Ypres is a very cute little city and well known for its strategic position during WWI. The town center is small and pedestrian friendly like many European cities. We parked about a kilometer (less than a mile) away and quickly walked the rest of the way.

Expecting to only spend time at the market, we took Elliot along with us. Though as it’s the holiday season, everything was open and the town was packed. Elliot was going crazy with all the other dogs around us as people had the same idea to bring along their four legged family members. Continue reading

thanksgiving made easier in france… finally!

Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all my American (and Canadian) friends!

This marks my 9th year of being in France for the big day.

Yep, you heard it right. I haven’t been in the US for Thanksgiving since 2005. I have been in France every Thanksgiving since then. Sometimes I celebrated the day (like last year), sometimes I have not. It depends on my level of motivation, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I’m usually more motivated than not.

And it’s hard not to be motivated to get cooking when it’s getting easier and easier to find the needed ingredients in France. And I’m not talking about ordering off special websites, or going to speciality shops. I’m talking about just popping into the supermarket. Continue reading

recipe: mont d’or chaud

As promised last time, I’m going to share with you a simple recipe for Mont d’Or chaud (baked Mont d’Or).

Mont d’Or is a cheese made from cow’s milk that can be found in both Switzerland and France in the Jura mountain area. The French version is unpasteurized and produced in the Haut-Doubs department. It’s only sold between the beginning of September and the beginning of May. We prefer to wait until at least end of October or later to buy Mont d’Or as it has a much stronger flavor, because the cows have been in the stable longer so their milk tastes different due to their change in diet.

almostbilingue_montdor1

Mont d’Or cheese

 

almostbilingue_montdor2

As we were in a neighboring department – the Doubs, we picked up a medium sized Mont d’Or, because we simply love the cheese. You can eat it as is or you can bake it which is what we decided to do. However, you can find the cheese in most supermarkets or at the local markets in France. I’m not sure if you can find it elsewhere. Continue reading