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-   -   Beautiful Nimes (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/beautiful-nimes-1672334/)

kerouac Jan 14th, 2020 06:49 AM

There are precious few sleeper cars on European trains these days.

tomarkot Jan 14th, 2020 06:59 AM

Following along with your adventures. We think it's fun to meet new people and have time to enjoy the encounter, such as you did. We'll stay tuned for more.

cheska15 Jan 14th, 2020 09:50 AM

TDudette no. We leave here tomorrow at 10. 10 am and arrive at 13 46..Total 3 hs 30. Pretty good we thought as the bus is 5hrs 30 As mentioned from kerouac I think all sleeper trains are very few and far between these days, as the fast trains do the long trips so quickly. In 2018, we traveled Paris to Barcelona and that was 7. 30 hrs, and that was a great trip. Similar to going on a long picnic.

cheska15 Jan 14th, 2020 10:28 AM

We are back Barcelona tonight at K.Sarole ( the dot is in the middle if searching).and I was a bit apprehensive, as I was thinking would it be as good as last week. It was.

The most amazing tapas and they were enough for a main course. The salad was amazing. Different lettuces, walnuts, apple, some sort of cheese( didn’t eat this) and little tomatoes., and divine vinaigrette. My husband had Roasted Soring onion ( with oil and salt as after all we are in Spain) dipped in tomato stuff. Then beef cheeks in red wine, with mashed potatoes, and I had 2 pieces of melt in your mouth shoulder of lamb. Shared cheesecake eaten mostly by my. husband. All washed down with glasses of Cava, white and red wine. Total cost of €63 The staff were friendly and fun and not just with us.They go out of their way to give everyone who enters a very warm welcome

Then a walk around Sagrada Familia ti see it lit up at night. Another memorable meal, and experience. We probably won’t get back to this beautiful country. Back to Nimes tomorrow, and it will be a couple of weeks with no alcohol and basic foods. Can’t wait to try to make this salad.

cheska15 Jan 15th, 2020 11:37 PM

We have arrived back in Nimes to a freezing cold house. We are so glad that we have a reverse cycle heating as we turned it on straight away, and lit the fire. Having the fire going does flow through the rest of the house eventually.

A word on the strikes. We were supposed to return to Nimes on on the 8.20 train however that was cancelled. We exchanged the tickets and the return fare was €70 more expensive than when we booked in November. We have booked trains to Nice in February so I hope the strike is over by then. We are notified two days before if our train is running as planned. We won’t be booking train travel unless the situation changes.

Travelling by bus is ok, although I prefer train travel. We were going to hire a car, however my husband has lost his international driver’s license. We have ordered another one on line and that will take about 10 days to get here. That’s ok and just means that we will be doing a lot when we return from Nice and Menton in February.

We have received a letter from the OFII ( immigration office) advising that we are to have medicals on the 28th January in Montpellier. The office does not accept the Australian Dept of Defence vaccination records for my husband, and an X-ray is required for TB checks. We also have to provide our vaccination certificate. As most Aussies my age don’t have the full record it should be interesting, as I can prove that have I had some vaccinations given by Dept of Defence when I accompanied my husband on a trip.

It seems a good time to stop drinking and eating as much as we have been. The weight is going on very quickly despite walking a lot. Let’s hope I can stick to two weeks without bread or alcohol.


cheska15 Jan 18th, 2020 08:25 AM

We are back into our normal routine here in Nimes. We went for coffee this morning at the cafe that has become our regular hangout. It was unusually quite, although the waiter was busy serving others. He didn’t come near us at all, and we were wondering if we had somehow caused offence. He then went inside, and came out with our regular order of two cafe crimes. There where handshakes all round. I can now have a two sentence conversation with him. I also got a pat on the back today, and got the impression he was acknowledging my attempts at speaking French.

When we have arrived for coffee, the gentleman has always said Bonjour first then a word I couldn’t quite get starting with S. Finally worked it out from a pist on an expat group that he was saying Bonjour surenam. Apparently it is a shortening for messiuers and dames. Really feeling like a local now.

I then went off on my own while my husband went to the squash club. While looking in the window of a clothes shops the woman recognised me, as she is the owner of another shop I have visited. Once again I was warmly greeted, shook hands, and proceed to point to top I liked. Sale done, another shaking of hands and we were both happy.

Met my husband at Les Halles where we purchased pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, and peas to go with the roast chicken. I tried a white chicken( lime the ones we get in Aus) and while it was good, it wasn’t as melt in your mouth like the corn fed ones. The chicken was quite big, and I’m going to try and make a chicken and leek pie tomorrow night. With all this and some veal the cost was €35 and will last us four or five days. Amazing how cheap you can live here.

This evening my husband had gone to a Soirée Raclette at the squash club. They have four teams from the Department who gather once a month to have a competition, and afterwards seem to have Racalette. Although he isn’t actually playing, he was invited to attend. It will be interesting to hear all about it when he comes home. I’m really happy that he is going out on his own, as it is good for both of us to have some time apart especially since we were in a hotel room for eight days.

The weather was cold windy and rainy yesterday, so we used the time to plan our trip to Brittany. As usual I asked on this forum and have been given lots of fabulous information that will take sometime to go through. So back to the research.
Hope everyone is well and happy.

StCirq Jan 18th, 2020 10:30 AM

Welcome home!

Interesting about the white chicken. Don't think I've ever seen one - was it maybe a capon? And yes, wonderful food is incredibly affordable around here.

Had to chuckle when I read "surename." What your waiter was saying was "Bonjour, 'sieur-dame" (said very quickly), and yes it's a shortened form of Monsieur/Madame. They swallow the first syllable. Oh, those expat groups:)!

It's great that your husband has been able to socialize with the squash locals. I'm sure he'll go home with some great stories.

How much longer are you going to be in Nîmes? I should think it will be hard to leave.

kerouac Jan 18th, 2020 10:43 AM

The casual term would be "messieursdames." It is considered inappropriate in "polite" speech but is extremely common. It is the sort of thing that you say when entering a doctor's waiting room full of people or some other administrative crowd. On the other hand, teachers are absolutely horrified when a student says that when entering a room for an examining panel for something like the baccalauréat. The correct address is "Bonjour mesdames, bonjour messieurs." Life in France can be complicated.

StCirq Jan 18th, 2020 11:01 AM

<<The casual term would be "messieursdames.">>

Yes, if there were more than one monsieur and one madame, but in this case there were only the two of them. If there'd been more than one monsieur and only one madame, it would be "m'sieursdame." If more than one madame and only one monsieur, "m'sieurdames," not that anyone can hear the difference. Yes, complicated.

cheska15 Jan 18th, 2020 11:58 AM

French sure is complicated and thank you both for the explanation.
StCirq We leave Nimes on the 25 March. The time is flying by. Staying here has been fabulous, however we are really looking forward to moving on as there is so much to see in this beautiful country. We probably won’t get to see everything we had planned as my list may have been a bit too much.

I forgot to add in my post that the baker at the Boulangerie laughed so much the other day when I told him we were going to Spain. He speaks pretty good English and said ‘ you on olidays when you have olidays’ he thought it was so funny. He is a very nice man and comes out whenever I enter as he likes to practice his English.

geetika Jan 18th, 2020 06:01 PM


Originally Posted by StCirq (Post 17048385)
Welcome home!

Interesting about the white chicken. Don't think I've ever seen one - was it maybe a capon? And yes, wonderful food is incredibly affordable around here.

Had to chuckle when I read "surename." What your waiter was saying was "Bonjour, 'sieur-dame" (said very quickly), and yes it's a shortened form of Monsieur/Madame. They swallow the first syllable. Oh, those expat groups:)!

It's great that your husband has been able to socialize with the squash locals. I'm sure he'll go home with some great stories.

How much longer are you going to be in Nîmes? I should think it will be hard to leave.

Reminds me of a friend whose surname is Dam. He was most surprised to be greeted as “M’sieurdame” and wondered how people knew his name. My husband and I had to explain the expression to him and we had a good laugh!

Adelaidean Jan 18th, 2020 09:38 PM

Thanks for the update, cheska!

kerouac Jan 19th, 2020 07:45 AM

Poulet blanc and poulet jaune are 1) due to different races of chicken and 2) due to being fed different things.

The basic difference is that yellow chickens have a higher fat content than white chickens. Therefore they taste better to most people.

cheska15 Jan 19th, 2020 09:24 AM

Thank you kerouac. We do both prefer the poulet jaune.

rhon Jan 19th, 2020 12:10 PM

Well your time has certainly gone quickly and you will have lots of great memories. Hope your medicals go well. We are mid sixties and would have difficulty obtaining complete vaccination records. Obviously they must have been satisfied initially to give you a visa.
We have only spent a week each in Brittany and Normandy over the years and that is something we will rectify but not this trip.
Enjoy the rest of your stay in Nimes.

lrice Jan 20th, 2020 08:26 AM


Originally Posted by cheska15 (Post 17046027)
TDudette no. We leave here tomorrow at 10. 10 am and arrive at 13 46..Total 3 hs 30. Pretty good we thought as the bus is 5hrs 30 As mentioned from kerouac I think all sleeper trains are very few and far between these days, as the fast trains do the long trips so quickly. In 2018, we traveled Paris to Barcelona and that was 7. 30 hrs, and that was a great trip. Similar to going on a long picnic.

Its good to know that Barcelona is a alternative international airport to use from the U.S. to get to the Marseille. The train rides are similar in time.

cheska15 Jan 23rd, 2020 03:56 AM

We have had a quiet week and been around the maizet most of the time. The weather today is the best it has been since Saturday, and as we had eaten all the food we purchased the other day we set off for the market.

I am hoping to recreate a salad I had in Barcelona with lettuce, pomegranate, red onion, tomato, and feta for tonight’s dinner. We are becoming regulars at the fruit and veggie stall, and always receive a warm welcome. The purchase consisted of two different types of lettuce, two bananas, one pomegranate, and an apple. Total cost €5. The gentleman gave me the docket and asked ‘ how much in English’. He could count to four but was stuck on five. I can understand french up until four so we are about the same. This exchange got laughs from all who were waiting. What amazes me is that when you say avoir everybody waiting says avoir. I love how polite and accepting French people are, and they often seem ready to laugh.

Next stop was the butchers and we purchased a small rolled lamb, some chippalatas, and ham. We will get two meals from the lamb and sandwiches, and a meal from the chippalatas. Total cost was €35.

We have booked train tickets to Bordeaux for early February as Oui has a sale on at the moment, and the strikes seem to be over. Total cost for return journey was €80 for two. Pretty good for a 5 hr trip.

StCirq Jan 23rd, 2020 04:13 AM

OK, French teacher chiming in....

Au revoir, not avoir (that's the verb "to have"). Two syllables even when you make the elision - au'rvoir (sounds sort of like orv-wahr)

Chipotalas.

The strike may be over, but not everything is running smoothly quite yet. Some of our trains aren't up and running yet, and the train we took home from Bordeaux yesterday stopped unexpectedly for an hour outside Bergerac in the pitch black. Got home 1.5 hours later than planned.

cheska15 Jan 23rd, 2020 04:29 AM

StCirq thanks for the corrections. I’m sure I will get the hang of writing and speaking French soon.
Awful about your train. Did you receive an explanation as to why you stopped.

StCirq Jan 23rd, 2020 07:00 AM

We were 20 minutes late leaving Bordeaux because a connecting train from Paris-Montparnasse was late and we had to wait for it. Then, farther down the line near Bergerac there was a stretch we needed to use that is also used by trains coming the other direction. In order to avoid two opposing trains on the same track, we had to wait until the Sarlat-Bordeaux train passed. Had we not been 20 minutes late leaving Bordeaux it wouldn't have been an issue. Tant pis.


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