Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Category Archives: France – Bordeaux

New year with GCC

Happy new year to everyone who follows the lunar calendar! It’s a Chinese tradition to gather with friends and family on new year’s eve while making dumplings, watching China’s annual new year TV event broadcasted live, and just enjoying each other’s presence. This year, I had a nice gathering with the Groupe Chrétien Chinois de Bordeaux at the Cenon church where we did all of the above! Even though we’re away from home, in Christ we’re brought close together as a family and we share joy and love as brothers and sister 🙂 And of course, Penguin said, “We all know the purpose of new year’s celebrations is to eat lots and lots of good food!” Hey, who could say she was wrong? 😉

Mmm, dumplings. Back home in Toronto, my mom makes them regularly and puts them in the freezer so that we can eat them whenever we want, but apparently in other parts of China, people only eat dumplings for special occasions like the new year. My favourite type of stuffing has got to be pork and chives. Nothing has ever tasted better than the taste of home!

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It’s Christmas time!

Christmas is the time of giving and gathering, a time of being joyful and thankful, a time of celebrating the reason why we should be joyful and thankful. 2012 years ago, the one and only God came to this world as a man, a humble king who would die for the atonement of our sins. Because He came, we are free, and today, we gather to sing His praises and celebrate His wonders.

Throughout the years, Christmas has become such a commercialized holiday that many people have forgotten its true meaning. The other day my sister asked me what presents I got, and while I said none, she replied in surprised, “How could you not get presents? It’s CHRISTMAS?” A bit ironic, isn’t it? Because it is Christmas, I should be getting presents? Is Christmas all about putting presents under the tree, waiting for Santa Claus, and singing carols? Among the dazzling lights and cheering crowds, who remembers the real Christmas story?

Regardless of the way we perceive Christmas, it is a time where joy is present in the air. Bordeaux, of course, lacks no Christmas spirit. Although it is rain instead of snow that covers the city, Bordeaux dances in its own beauty even in the rain. Although our Christmas market isn’t as grand as the ones in Paris or Strasbourg or Cologne, the crowds are not to be belittled. Although I am far from my home in Canada, I found a family here with whom I could share the peace and joy that was blessed upon me 😉

So you wonder if Santa Claus really exists. Did you know that Santa Claus is really…a thief? Yep, that’s right. Santa Claus was caught in action in Saint-Émilion! There was a big “attention au chien” (“beware of dog”) sign in front of this house, but I guess the dog somehow missed the stealthy Mr.Claus…

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Parc Bordelais

I went to Parc Bordelais for the first time before the end of the fall season, just to see the colour of the leaves one last time before they all disappeared from the branches. It was a short afternoon visit, because the sun went down relatively early, but I certainly got some nice Bordeaux autumn photos. There won’t be many words, but hopefully a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy 😉

A swan swims so leisurely in the lake.

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It’s all about Saint-André

Some time ago, I made a note to myself to write a post entirely dedicated to Saint-André cathedral, right in the centre of Bordeaux. I think the last time I mentioned it was more than a year ago. Now, it’s time to get down to business.

I pass by Saint-André every day when I take the tram to work, as it is centrally located in Place Pey Berland, beside the city hall at Hôtel de Ville station, which is also the interchange between tram lines A and B. Even so, every time I walk by it, I feel that sense of grandiosity surround me as the giant cathedral looms overhead. Day by day, I am still amazed by its magnificent architecture, falling in love with it inside out.

Over the two years since I’ve arrived in Bordeaux, I’ve taken a lot of random photos of Saint-André from different angles, some of which I will share with you here. Of course these are taken at various times, explaining the drastic different shades of the sky 😉

First up, we have the southern façade of Saint-André, taken in late January 2012. Tram line B passes right in front of it and I live right up ahead, near Palais de Justice. After visiting so many cities and seeing so many cathedrals in Europe, Saint-André remains my favourite one, though it may not be the largest or most impressive. Notable mentions go to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption in Clermont-Ferrand, France, the Dom in Cologne, Germany, and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium.

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Sherry’s European adventures: Belgium, Paris, and Bordeaux

Well, after months of planning and anticipation, the sister is finally here to visit. I meticulously planned this trip so that when she arrived, she would be visiting Belgium when I was still there. Then we’d head to Bordeaux with a short stay in Paris, and in the end, we’ll fly back to Canada together, for MY vacations. This way, she would get the benefit of experiencing a little bit of both countries while I’d have some company for the long trans-Atlantic flight 😉

It’s been almost three weeks of hopping between cities, most of which I’ve been to already, and I wanted my sister to get the best out of her first European adventure. It certainly wasn’t easy for her to be away from home for so long, all by herself, and it wasn’t easy to plan a feasible route for her, but I enjoyed the process of showing some of the places I loved and exploring new places with her. Of course, food was a big part of our adventure, as you’ll see later! So let’s start with…

Belgium

I was finishing my 4th session in Louvain-la-Neuve when my sister arrived, and she got to stay with me there for a full week. I brought her to Bruges, a popular tourist destination that I didn’t like when I first visited, Ghent, like Bruges but much more lovely, at least to me, and of course, Brussels, the European capital. Chef tagged along as well, triple the fun!

Sista time! Sherry is 9 years younger than me – quite a huge difference, no? Almost everyone told us that we don’t look alike, and most would agree that I am more like my dad while my sister is more like my mom, both in terms of physical appearance and personality. Do you think we look anything like each other at all? 😉

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