Several months ago I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t find good pecans here in Belgium. Shortly thereafter I got an email from Mardi at Eat, Live, Travel, Write, offering to send me pecans in exchange for a certain type of Belgian Chocolate--Manons by Neuhaus. A good deal, I think!
At the time, I was traveling a lot, and when I got home Mardi was traveling. Last week, though, she was in Paris, a couple of hours from us by train. Now, some people might say that it was nuts to go to Paris just for some pecans. HA! I say they have never had really good pecans.
Last week the day finally arrived to make the grand exchange.
We arranged to meet at Angelina’s, on the Rue de Rivoli, at 3 pm. Dan and I bought tickets for the train which would get us to Paris in time to also do a little shopping and maybe have lunch with some friends.
Normally, it's an easy thing to do: train from our town at 7:30 am, Thalys (fast train) from Liege at 8:40, arrive in Paris at 11. Return by 6 pm train to Liege, home by 9 pm. But the day we had arranged to go there was snow and ice. The Thalys left Liege an hour late, and arrived in Paris TWO hours late! We missed lunch.
Did we care? Nope. Paris at Christmas is wonderful. The City of Lights puts on her special party clothes for Christmas. We walked around the Louvre and all the way up the Rue de Rivoli. We got to Angelina’s in time for hot chocolate with Mardi and her husband Neil and her friend Alicia. We weren't sure we'd be able to get home that night, but HECK - we were in Paris! Spending the night in Paris isn't too awful. Except for the no clean underwear thing. But we didn't care. We knew it would be ok whatever happened. A lot of people might say it was nuts to make a trip like that in that kind of weather. I say they must not be pecan lovers.
Over some pretty wicked hot chocolate, we made the big exchange: I brought Mardi her beloved Manons, along with some double truffles and a few pralines from La Maison Saive. For Neil and Alicia there were more chocolates, and cookie towers too!
Left to right: Mardi, Neil, Alicia, and Dan.
Mardi brought me my beloved pecans, as well as some maple syrup and some totally wicked vinegar. PLUS some lavender caramels. The only problem with those is that Dan knows about them--I have to share.
Isn’t it a blast to meet someone IRL that you know from the internet? This day was no exception. We had a great time with Mardi and Neil and Alicia, and before we knew it, it was time to go. Why, you’re wondering? Did we think our train would be on time? A lot of people might say that it was nuts to think our train might be on time. Hmm. I’d have to agree with them on that.
On our way back to the Metro we passed by Louvre, took some more photos, and made it back to the Gare du Nord in plenty of time for our train. Even if it had been on time we’d have been there in plenty of time. We’ll pass blessedly over the return trip by saying that the only good part was that by the time we got to our town that night the station was closed, so we didn’t have to pay for parking!
A lot of people might say that this day was too difficult, that the trains should have been on time, that the weather was no excuse. A lot of people on our trains WERE saying that, and a good deal more. To them I say: