Alle a le Montagne


So another week has gone by at my internship in Moncaup. It has been an unconventional work week, but a fun one!

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: we worked the usual day… can’t remember what else because it has been a while and the days are starting to blur together.

Friday: no work for me because Claire went to her friend’s house and since she didn’t have to work, neither did I apparently.

Saturday: resting day before the mountains. Also, it was Amelie’s “surprise” that we were going to all eat dinner on the couch and watch TV. Although it was a cute idea in theory, it didn’t really work out that well with the five of us and two very small tables full of food.

Sunday: we left to go to the Pyrenees with two aunts and uncles, and two of the cousins (Elise and Francois). We were staying in a refuge that night that we needed to hike to in order to get there. I think it took about two hours and we were eventually to an elevation of 1804 meters by the time we were finished. The refuge was on the most beautiful lake, Lac d’Estom. We had lunch on the lake and hung out there for a few hours before the sun went down behind the mountains and it got cold. Later we had dinner at the refuge and Manon, Francois, Elise and I tried to play Monopoly. Operative word there being “tried” because they didn’t know how to play and I couldn’t explain the instructions well enough in French. So that was a lost cause. Sleeping in a refuge….it’s not fun. Especially with strangers. I think the room that we were in had 16 beds and we took up ten of them. Also, luckily for us we got to sleep in the room with all of the young children. Needless to say, the kids woke up in the middle of the night whining and crying….then Phillipe and his brother were snoring…and it was one million degrees. I didn’t sleep much that night.

Monday: we hiked again. This time we ended up being just under 3000 meters in elevation. Our final destination was another lake, Lac de Labas, that was equally beautiful as Lac d’Estom. The hike to get there was pretty intense, but really fun at the same time! We got high enough to reach the snow on the mountains which is something I’ve always wanted to do (mostly just to touch the snow and have a snowball fight while it’s warm) and we also got to cross some pretty intense paths that had moving rocks. I say pretty intense, but really I was terrified I was going to cause an avalanche and was so hesitant every time I took a step. I was so slow and everyone thought I was hilarious…I was just trying to be safe. Anyways…we ate lunch at the lake and traveled back down to the refuge and then down to the car so we could head to the grandparents house to eat dinner. Side note: climbing down a mountain is much more difficult than climbing up it. It takes less time, but it’s much harder on the body I think.

Tuesday: BASTILLE DAY. But they don’t call it that in France. I tried to ask so many people about it and no one had any idea what I was talking about until I said the actual date. It’s known as la fete de nationale or quatorze juillet here in France. The Tour de France was coming through a nearby town that day so we went out to watch which was something I was really excited about because I was hoping to see Le Tour de France since before I even got to France. Anyways…we set up a little area on the side of the road that the cyclists were going to ride down and waited for the parade to start. Way in front of the actual cyclists there is a huge parade that comes through that has all of the companies that sponsor the race. They all play music and have floats that are themed with bicycles and they all throw out free stuff. (Including Madeleins, yum) The parade lasted about half an hour or so and we had tons of free stuff from hats, to snacks, to magnets and key-chains. We divided all the stuff up between all the kids and myself then had lunch before the cyclists came through. We were at the beginning of the route so most of the cyclists were still in a pretty big pack but the guys in first and second place were pretty far ahead of the rest of the pack. I think they ended up winning that stage. I was really looking forward to fireworks, thinking that Bastille Day would be similar to Independence Day. However, there are apparently only really fireworks in pretty big cities so I waited up until 11 or so to watch the firework show in Paris on TV. They had a huge concert with an orchestra for a few hours in front of the Eiffel Tower and then had a miraculous fireworks show afterwards.

Wednesday: First day back to work…really exhausting. Moved the lines up on the posts with Claire for a while and then removed pumps.

Thursday: Pumps and de-leafing. I found two baby birds nests in the vines, one that was empty and the other that had the ugliest little baby birds inside. They must have just came out of the egg because they barely even looked like birds at all.

Pictures don’t really want to upload with the Wifi so they will have to wait.

A bientot!

I love mountains

I love mountains


Vines Vines Wines 


So here’s a recep of my first full week here at Clos Bastè since I don’t update that often. 

Wednesday: we removed all the pumps (not sure if it’s the same word in English or not) from the vines. If you don’t know what they are, they’re these pesky and unwanted stalks that are growing at the bottom of the vine. (My terminology is really bad, sorry) so basically you go around every. single. vine. and remove them with shears. Since they’re at the bottom, it means you’re either bent over for about five hours of the day or you’re doing squats for five hours, your method of choice. It only gets better when the sun starts to blaze (102 degrees that day) and the bees start to swarm you. Obviously I love this part of the job. Anyways, we are something delicious for lunch and then went to work in the barn where Phillipe carries out the enology part of owning a vineyard/winery. The girls and I and Andreas all helped with packaging of the bottles that day. 

Thursday: we worked again at the vines removing the pumps. There’s 10 hectares of vines so this takes a few days to complete. Had lunch, no work for the rest of the day.

Friday: day three of pumps. Had lunch, relaxed and went to give some tastings at a small local market in the evening. 

Saturday: INDEPENDENCE DAY. But really know one cares about that in France. I hung out with the girls for the day and we all went to a basketball banquet for the teams that Claire and Manon play for. It was a little awkward at first being introduced as the American and not being able to tell people about myself because my French is terrible. So who knows what all these strangers actually thought of the mute American girl. It got better though and I spent a lot of time playing with Amelie and running around with her causing a scene. We had a delicious dinner of finger foods and duck hearts (I couldn’t bring myself to try them) then there was dancing. The later that the night went on the more I realized I was almost at a Fourth of July party because there were red and blue decorations, loud music, beer, finger foods, and cotton eyed joe was playing. Surprisingly enough, the French have a lot of dances that they do in groups (like how the U.S. does the cha cha slide or Cupid shuffle). Manon and I danced to cotton eyed joe and then Chantal came out of nowhere and took me to dance with her to some song in French that I think the objective was to look like a dancing penguin. We had a good night overall. 

Sunday: Phillipe, Claire, and I went to a blueberry farm to a farmers market to sell some of the wine. This was my first time doing something like this and I wasn’t sure 1. How popular it would be at the market 2. How popular Phillipe’s wine was/is. The answer to both is very. The market was overflowing with people from about 10-3 and from my opinion, Phillipe was making a killing. Also noted, the French buy wine in huge quantities. Anyways, Claire and I chowed down on some blueberries all day and packaged up the various orders. I greeted people as they approached our booth and then they would babble something to me in French. Luckily, I didn’t get any disgusted looks when I said I was American and only spoke a little bit of French. Phillipe told some people all about what I was doing in France and they seemed impressed, I just wish I could have told them myself. Sometime during all of this we had lunch that included patè, escargot, and white cheese sorbet. All very different (the sorbet especially), but tasty. Claire and I sat next to the woman who was playing music and she was coincidentally from New York and told me she took a summer trip to Europe and never came back. She’s lived in France for twenty years now. Just in case you were curious. 

Monday: no work, but still an early day. We woke up at 8 to take Amelie and Manon to various aunts and uncles houses because they’re going camping for the week with their cousins. I also met Chantal’s parents who speak no English just like her. Luckily I was able to make out some of what they were saying so that I could somewhat impresse them with the fact I wasn’t completely ignorant in terms of the French language. Claire and I then went with another aunt to her house and then to her grandpas house to go swimming for the day. We had a delicious lunch and spent the day by the pool. We had a pretty long drive home and stopped to have McDonalds for dinner. I asked if they took me there because I was American, but they said they loved it as much as Americans do. So in total I went to 4 different homes, met four aunts, three uncles, and two grandparents in addition to the family I’ve already met. They’re all so close even though there’s so many of them and it’s really adorable in my opinion.

Gotta get to sleep so I can cut some pumps bright and early tomorrow!

Au Revoir!  

Setting up for the marchè fermier


Pulp Fiction


This is Amelie. She’s even more precious in person


Claire and I selfie-ing