We had a visitor. No really. We had a visitor!
Why have I not mentioned this before? Well, because we didn't even know that Brandon (Kilduff, that is) was in the country until my usual facebook stalking made me aware last week. Just before we arrived last August, he unfortunately returned to the United States after spending a year in Strasbourg, just an hour and a half from Metz. Well, I found out last week that he is back for about a month, just gallivanting around the area before heading to England for an internship, so we invited him up. And he came!
Of course, I didn't take any pictures, but I do have a little proof.
Thursday, when he showed up at the train station, he had this with him.
After making a saucisson and cornichon sandwich for lunch, we lazed about for a bit while we got caught up on all the 'boro gossip. At 6 we all headed over to GTL where Michael had to meet up with and chaperon the undergraduate summer students to a welcoming reception downtown. Brandon and I were sneaky, convincing the other graduate assistants to let us hitch a free ride downtown after which we skipped off, leaving Michael to his reception (which turned out to be....nevermind, I'll shut-up now). I took Brandon to all the normal, in-town sights: the Cathedral, the oldest church in France, the opera house, and the protestant church, by which time Michael was done with his reception and met up with us.
We met up with the other graduate assistants at a bar and chatted for a few hours before going out in persuit of a bar that would be showing the France v. Mexico game. We watched the game, which sadly ended 0-2 in favor of the Mexicans. We did have the pleasure of enjoying some Kronenbourg (from Alcace, where Brandon lived), mainly because it was the cheapest beer there.
By the end of the game we were famished, so we walked down the hill a bit to La Vintage, a fabulous wine bar that I had gone to a few weeks back for a girls night out. The food is cheap, the wines are great (and reasonably priced by the glass, when can you ever say that?) and the barkeep is a hoot! Then, as is our fashion, we tortured Brandon with the 45 minute walk home.
The next morning we were unfortunately deterred by a sick GTL student that we had to drive to the doctors office while Brandon was left to fend for himself. Michael then returned to school to finish up his duty while Brandon and I shopped for and made our picnic lunch (pan bagnat, I'm so original) complete with this:
We enjoyed our picnic lunch on one of the new granite benches located outside of the Centre Pompidou which we then went inside to visit. We will have to visit again, if only to get pictures (and because it's free under 26yo), but it was really an enjoyable time. They have some incredible paintings (Matisse, Picasso, and my new fav, Georges Braques) but as has been the case for me at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in NYC) and other modern art galleries, the conceptual art is a bit beyond my grasp.
After the gallery we found a bar with a TV (showing some French soap opera, but they switched it for us) to watch the USA v. Slovenia game. We enjoyed some more beers and threw out some French and English swear words when the stupid (STUPID!STUPID!STUPID! (stupid looks funny in all caps)) referee called a penalty on our last goal.
And that was pretty much it. We walked back to the train station with Brandon and helped him find a good host gift for his next hosts in the Irish store and then said our awkward adieus (only awkward for us Americans in France unsure of whether to faire la bise (kiss) or hug or shake hands).
And then we stopped at the store an bought alcohol. Such is the story of our lives.