A Travellerspoint blog

Summertime Sadness...

Cute kids + pancakes = a successful week!

sunny 19 °C

Right now, I have the pleasure of being finished with classes and having time to myself to do whatever I want to! This means lots of reading, coffee drinking, and hanging out with friends who have come back from their travels over the break. And the past week and half have gone by entirely too quickly. Unfortunately, it is starting to get to the point where I wonder if I’m doing/eating something for the last time.

But I’m trying not to dwell on my too-quickly approaching departure (I will leave Besançon on June 2nd). This week, I was able to spend some time with my new friend Noémie (who I met during the inter-generational weekend trip). The Gare de l’Eau park is where all the cool kids go to hang out, so – obviously – that’s where we went!


Then we had an impromptu little sleepover at her apartment and I made her pancakes! They turned out kind of weird…I’m not really sure what went wrong, but I think it may have been a deadly combination of not quite enough baking powder (they weren’t particularly fluffy), a crappy pan, and my inability to not burn everything with an electric stove… But they were my first pancakes in 8 ½ months, so I’m not complaining. As deeply immersed as I have been in food bliss for so long, there is a growing list of things that I cannot wait to eat again: correctly made pancakes, homemade pizza, anything Mexican, Grateful Bread, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Ted and Wally’s, and a bunch of other things.

Now, if only I could buy a lifetime supply of cheese here, ship it home, and not die of some horrible foodborne illness, I would be absolutely ecstatic. Now that my cheese horizons have expanded beyond retraction, I fear that life in the US will never be quite the same.

Last week, I was also invited to the home of a woman that I met through the CLA. She is interested in the US, and wanted to have a cultural exchange, so I went over for tea and a chat. She also taught me how to make crêpes! And I made a new best friend – her four-year-old daughter was mesmerized by my long hair (it has gotten really long since I’ve been here). She would just stand behind me on the couch and play with it. And with her adorable lispy little kid French (I don’t know what it is, but little kids speaking French is one of the cutest things ever…) she informed he mother that I was pretty much Elsa from Frozen. (Also, to add on another layer of cute, she can’t quite handle the phonetic nuances of the name “Natalie” so she just calls me Nanana…)


And, as the weather is now gorgeous here, ESN organized a historic hike yesterday to the Fort de Chaudanne. It’s on top of the giant, heavily wooded hill on the right side of all of the pictures of the citadel. Until yesterday, every time I would sit at the Gare de l’Eau, I would wonder what was over there. Now I know – a 19th century military fort! There is a great view of the city from the hill, which I was able to get some pictures of, but my camera died by the time we got to the fort. So here is a Wikipicture (just of the fort; I took the others)…


After we had seen the fort, we still had a bit of time, so we hiked about 15 minutes further into the woods to check out the fort's gunpowder magazine. It was just a hole in the side of the hill; some people had come prepared with flashlights, so we just wandered right in. It went on for about 20 feet, then there was the storage room off to the left. It was really cool - a paved floor, stone walls, and a vaulted brick ceiling. Then our charismatic tour guide made a remark about how great the acoustics were, and then just started singing 30's and 40's era French folk songs. It was a bit uncomfortable, but mostly amusing. Three whole songs later, he stopped and said, "Ok, everybody against the wall, and turn off the flashlights!!" About half of them went off, but the rest stayed on because - not gonna lie - it was DARK in there. But that was not good enough. He was insistent that they all be turned off. I figured that it was just to have a moment of darkness to appreciate the cave, which was freaky enough. But his idea was to have us all try to find our way across the room (whose floor was littered with broken bottles) and down the long hallway in complete and utter darkness. It didn't go very well.


But fortunately, the fast approach of end of the month is not all sad – I just bought my train ticket to go to Paris in two weeks to pick Eva up! So yes, prepare yourselves for Part II of the Kammerer Sisters’ European gallivanting, this time around France. And then a week later (on my birthday – the best present ever!) Mom, Dad, Ben, and Chelsea will all come to meet us in Besançon! So I am also keeping very busy filling the role of travel agent and making lists of all of the cool things that I have to show everybody!


Posted by NKammerer 07:51 Archived in France Tagged fort summer crêpes besançon kammerer_sisters_unite kammerers_take_besançon_2015 la_gare_de_l'eau

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Well, Nanana,
It sounds like you are using your time wisely and still making friends and seeing new sites. Eva is so excited that her time to see you is almost here! Have you heard how you did on your exams? We missed you yesterday at Stokes - we all got together for a Mothers' Day brunch at 11 - we were at a huge table in a separate room - just our party!

Opa and I are going to Seattle on the 20th and Lara and Absa are driving in on the 22nd. We'll try to use our time exploring and eating as wisely as you've been doing since last August.


by Judy Trout

In just under two weeks I will be with you in Paris!!!!!

by Vinnie

In the past two weeks, I have had the pleasure of talking with both of your parents and are they excited! You will be a wonderful tour guide for them. Say, that four year old friend may become a future exchange student who comes to stay with you in the US.
I am reliving Europe through your posts...in two years, the annual Kiwanis International Convention will be held in Paris and my niece is already planning to go with me...we will definitely enjoy all of Paris and the surrounding area.

I hope you will connect with me when you return...there are some kids at Conestoga who would benefit from hearing about your journey.
Linda P.

by Linda Placzek

I will miss your "travelogue", but the ease of communication when you're back in the States will make up for that.

About the Reese's, did you hear about the new big cups with actual peanuts inside? They are phenomenal...

If you haven't seen Nimes or Montpellier yet, that is one place you and Eva must stop on your adventure if time allots. Lots of Roman influence and buildings that are absolutely stunning.

Have fun, stay safe, and eat cheese!

by Salimah

Oma, yes I have started to get grades back from a few of my professors. The system here is WAY different - you are given a number score out of 20 points. 16-20 points is considered "très bien", but hardly anyone ever gets higher than a 16. And you only need 10 to get credit. Quite different. But so far, all of mine have been in the 11-16 range, so I am more than satisfied! (International students are advised to note that they are not French on their exams, and some professors are very forgiving as a result, so that was probably a big help!)

Ms. Placzek, I would be happy to share some of my experiences! I know that when I was in 6th grade, I had no concept of the opportunities that would be available to me in college, and I never would have believed that I would be where I am now!

And Salimah - NO! I have not heard of these new peanut butter cups, but you can be sure that I will jump on that as soon as possible!

by NKammerer

What, no food pictures. You must be in withdrawal mode for you trip back to the USA.

Can't wait to see you.


by Opa

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