Sancerre French Immersion 2017 travel blog

Sancerre at sunset--which happens at close to 10PM!

Sunset from a different angle

From a cafe; a rooster on top of a roof seen through...

A narrow road in Sancerre

So first a few words on the verb "faire." A mini French lesson here! It is one of the four most used verbs in French, along with etre (to be), avoir (to have), and aller (to go). The problem with faire is that it has two meanings--to do and to make. In my opinion these are two very differing things. "Doing" is not the same as "Making". But if you want to learn French, you have to get over these things. Quite frankly, that took some work. Kind of like accepting that there is not always a 1:1 relationship between French and English words.

My original plans for today would have been to go to Chambord, but I just couldn't do it. So another time. I will visit France again. Instead, I decided to spend a Sunday in French fashion--which means minimal plans, a long lunch, and have some down time. As we all know, Americans are not good at that. We always want to go run and do something else. It is interesting to be in a country where that is not the norm.

So first up, a swim! I was definitely in the mood for it after yesterday! So I headed over to the high school pool in the next town over, only to find that is was closed! There were a few "gendarmerie" milling about, and one of them told me the pool was closed because of vandalism!! So, in all of my years of swimming, I have never heard of a pool being vandalized! I don't even know exactly what that would be! You can't steal the water! I really thought by now that I have seen every possibility for closing a pool--chlorination problems, malfunctioning heating systems, weather, even once at the Y, "we accidentally left the drain open over night." But vandalism! That was a new one.

I was feeling bummed about not getting a swim and then I remembered that Peter told me the next town, another ten miles down, and next to a nuclear plant, has a "Centre Aquatic." I had all my gear and figured I had nothing to lose by checking it out, though figured it being open was a long shot. (Everything is closed here on Sunday except restaurants).

My swimming friends are going to love what happens next! So lucky for me, the pool was open, so I happily paid my 4 Euro to get in. I get out to the pool, and I have never seen a scene of such chaos in my life! It is a 25M/5 lane pool, outdoors, with probably about 50 people in it, and everyone is swimming absolutely totally free form! There are no lane lines, no circles, just everyone doing whatever--including you maybe decided to swim widths instead of lengths! But as my swimming friends also know about me, I am never the one to say "maybe this is more than I want to deal with today." So I got in. And did my usual mile--though did accept that flip turns and back stroke were outside the realm of possibility. And oddly, it actually kind of worked. There is no lane rage. No one saying you broke some swimming etiquette rule--because there are no rules! So it was a decent swim--though I think the high school pool is probably the better option, provided it has recovered from its vandalism.

I have also noted the popularity of biking here; not a surprise in the home of Tour de France. But i have been struck by how different it is from the US. It seems to be an intensely solitary sport. Most bikers I see are on their own, and just driving by them you can sense their intensity. On occasion I see groups of two or three, but never the groups of 10 or 20 as is so characteristic in the US. I have no idea why this is. I just find the difference interesting.

En francais:

Apres un long jour hier, j'etais pret pour natation. J'allais a la piscine, mais, malheureusement, elle a sufri la vandalisme! Mais, je me souviens que Peter m'a reconte d'une autre piscince dans la proche ville. Je l'allais, et a mon supris, la natation est sans forme! Pas de ligne ou circles; toute le monde nagent comme tous les fashions! Mais je ne suis jamais on qui abandonne quand les autres le faisent! J'ai saute! Et ultimatement, j'ai une tres bien natation.

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