Friday, March 05, 2010

being unemployed

....if anyone is wondering about the sudden burst of action on my blog, I can only suggest it has something to do with being unemployed. Although that being said, I have been unemployed now for 3 months and its only now that I could be bothered updating the blog. Its a strange thing having no job, everyone thinks it would be great all this time to do the things you never have time to do...cook nice things, get fit and healthy etc. but no it doesnt work that way. It appears that you need to have a job in order to feel like doing anything :)

Oh well, the good news is I have just been offered a job at CSIRO doing powder now I can go back to not having the time to do the things I want to do...

The Dordogne, France

OMG its only 2hrs east of did we not find this region earlier. Gorgeous. More to the point why did none of the Bordeaux-ians tell us about it!!! I'm not usually drawn to winding rivers and castles but this area just has a different feeling about it. I think its because of the underlying history that you can see everywhere.

There are thousands of caves in the rock faces which have Palaeolithic cave paintings (16,000 yrs old). Lascaux is the most famous. Along the cliff faces are hundreds of insets where apparently wooden huts were built so that they were overhanging the water. Unfortunately we didnt get to go into any of the caves as it was the wrong season...but we will definitely go back.

We spent some time in Sarlat, a medieval town in the region...apparently the best in France. And after going there now I would totally agree. Even better we werent there in the peak season so it wasnt full of tourists. This was definitely the best meal of the year!!!

Spain with the parents

We decided to escape France one more time when my parents came to visit to sample the extremely tasty food and wine. You might see a trend here that we spent most of our time searching out food...oops, I blame my parents!

St Jean de Luz, a fantastic seaside town, which is technically in France but has a distinctly Spanish air to it. First stop, lunch...muscles...delicious, especially being a seafood town. Then we decided to follow everyone elses lead and go for a siesta - in fact there really is no choice everything is closed until around 7pm. Next of course is dinner - the pictures tell the whole story really, we had seafood paella and seafood Bouillabaisse...if only we weren't so full from lunch!

Vitoria-Gastiez, probably my favourite town in Spain, just so relaxed and friendly - oh and the bestest tapas we have had yet! Marty was in food heaven here.

Re-visited Bilbao and this time actually made it into the Guggenheim instead of just looking at the crazy building from the outside - well worth the visit! The outside of the building is made of billions of Titanium panels to look like fish scales...really looks great.
Then off to San Sebastian, amazing town but way over touristed and full of English people (apparently there's a direct flight from London). But even with all the English folk the beaches look very tempting and the tapas are world renowned...and not suprisingly the worlds best restaurant is here, El Bulli (unfortunately you have to book a year in advance so didnt get to try it out!)

Suz goes to Rennes sans Martin

After a lot of attempted negotiating with the emotionally devoid French, Marty was forbidden from accompanying me to the conference in Rennes. So I left him in the apartment with a kitchen full of food and a new puzzle for entertainment and went to Rennes.

While the conference turned out to be a bit of a waste of time it was a good chance to catch up with some ex-kepertites, see Rennes, have a crepe Suzette and some cidre.....oh have a run in with a crazy hotel lady in a pink dressing gown.

a bit brokded

I always tell people that climbing is a very safe sport and there isnt much chance that you can injure yourself if your sensible. However, Marty decided to prove me wrong and fell off a wall whilst bouldering, indoor climbing mind you and onto a mattress, and broke his ankle. Lucky enough for me I happened to be in Poland at a conference so I didnt get to hear the crack and have to put up with hospitals in French.

So four days in hospital, three screws and a very annoying resin cast later he managed to hobble home. I say hobble as they dont provide crutches at the hospital you have to take yourself to a pharmacy somehow and get them (tres intelligent).

So apart from being a traumatic experience on both our parts we did come out ahead in some ways. Marty managed to get the next two months off work with pay, they even paid him a few weeks once we returned to Aus...dont quite understand. And I learnt the value of living in a country where you can speak the language perfectly, knowing half a language isnt helpful!

Marty in Lourdes getting healed - dont think it worked!