The first half of day 2 was more of the same sort of travel stuff from day 1. We landed in Paris, whose main airport could fit every other airport I’ve ever been in inside of it and still be hungry. There was much more of a social vibe to the airport as well, with chic decor, lots of color and boutique shops littered throughout. It took us forever to get through the airport to our connecting flight to Mulhouse/Basel, but we made it.
A hop, skip and a jump later and we were in Mulhouse/Basel airport! This airport is situated on the border of Switzerland and France, so depending on which way you exit you can wind up in either country. Kinda cool!
Meeting us at the terminal in Mulhouse were Marie (who spent the summer with my parents and also visited me in Seattle a few years ago) and her darling mother Fabienne. We rented a car and they drove us through the french countryside to Eteimbes. Alsace is all gently rolling green plains interspersed with patches of forest. The roads in the region are lined with flowers, so the aesthetic of just driving around is pretty amazing.
After a short drive, we arrived at the country home of Fabienne and her husband, Roger. We were also greeted by Jean and Claudine, who are Marie’s grandparents. Jean is third-cousin to my father, and it is uncanny how much he resembles my own late grandfather. Marie’s sister Elodie showed up later as well. Gifts were exchanged; my father had brought some redwood bowls for the family, and I had brought some of my favorite coffee beans from Seattle. We had a very warm welcome, toasting with pinot gris over an appetizer of foie gras, and pretzels, which are a common snack in the region due to the influence of nearby Germany.
Fabienne and Roger made us a wonderful welcoming dinner of pork with onions, potatoes, and a cucumber gratin. Fabienne tends a beautiful garden on the property from which they get most of their fruit and vegetables. Jean and Claudine presented us with a stone fruit tart they had baked using fruit from their own trees. Everything was super delicious, even for an overly picky eater such as myself. We finished with coffee and chocolate. I could get used to this kind of living!
We talked and talked, late into the night. Marie is an English teacher, Elodie is fairly fluent also, and Roger and Fabienne both speak some English, so the language barrier isn’t so bad. Hopefully by the end of these ten days I can pick up a few more French phrases.
Eventually the exhaustion of travelling and being awake for 36-odd hours caught up with all of us, so we all bid our bon nuits and went to bed.