Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Le jour de gloire est arrivé

Happy Bastille Day! It was pretty uneventful here today: the fireworks tonight were canceled because of thunderstorms. Nate and I are having a great time, though. Yesterday we borrowed bikes from two of my colleagues and took off for a 25 mile trek through the wine fields of Burgundy to Beaune, where we would catch the train back to Dijon. I'm not sure who thought that was a good idea (it was me) but about a quarter of the way there someone (me) started to think it wasn't such a brilliant plan. But it was a great day, the vineyards and tiny villages were beautiful, and best of all, just when the fun was really wearing off, we arrived at the cute little town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and found out it has a train station! After three hours and about 20 km, we were very humbled by the 7-minute train ride home, not to mention the TV coverage of 200 km stages of the Tour de France.

Last night we checked out a French tradition neither of us had ever experienced before: Le Bal des Pompiers. On the eve of Bastille Day, French firefighters open up their stations and host a huge party that's open to the public. One of my colleagues' description led me to believe we'd be the youngest participants by far and were in for a night of favorite French oldies, and we got kind of dressed up for the occasion. When we got there it turned out to be a sort of all-ages dance party, with favorite French pop classics, and of course random American things like "Summer Loving" from Grease, which always seems to pop up at European dances. It was a blast! Everybody was having fun, teenagers and young parents with kids on their shoulders, all dancing the night away. At 1 AM we got a special treat, when a small contingent of firemen (who, in France, are known for their good looks and physical fitness) put on a little strip-show on the roof of one the garages!

More photos (including half-naked firemen).