France

#NomadicNordgrens March Travel Update by Rachel Nordgren

#NomadicNordgrens March 2018 Travel Update

Hooray, Springtime is (almost!) here!

March was a bustling month! After leaving the farm in France, we dropped Banjo off with our friends Paul and Jenny in Le Vast (because taking a dog into England is rather a pain with paperwork, and we would only be there for a little over a week) and then crossed the channel. We housesat for a lovely woman named Lizzie near Petworth, and had the pleasure of watching her two darling dogs, cuddly cat, and a characterful French hen named Florence.

After leaving Petworth, we spent a night in London before picking up Dean (Rachel's father) and his girlfriend Roxann from the airport. They flew over for a whirlwind week with us...we covered London, Normandy, and Paris! It was so good to spend time with Dean and Roxann. We saw a lot, too! Some of our favorites were Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the Normandy beaches, and seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night!

(we also ate far more pastries than is dietarily advisable, and we regret nothing)

After they flew back to the USA, we headed North to Leer, Germany. In high school, Hans did a foreign exchange student program with a guy named Thilo from Germany. They’ve kept in touch all these years, and we spent a delightful week in Leer with him and his family. After that, we made our way to Bielefeld to visit some of Hans' extended family. We'll tell you more about them next month!

On to the photos!

1. Hans the Giant
2. Roxann, Rachel, Dean, and our guide Leo on our Parisian bike tour
3. Hans, Rachel, Dean, and Roxann by the Tower Bridge in London
4. During Dean and Roxann's time with us, Banjo got booted out of his normal spot in the car and had to squish at Rachel's feet...and was superbly disgruntled about it
5. The Golden State Coach at the Royal Mews in London

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Most Interesting Things We've Done or Seen

Hans' favorite: touring Utah, Omaha, and Gold beach with Dean

Rachel's favorite: basically all of London, but in particular going to a sung Eucharist service at Westminster Abbey and seeing the Crown Jewels (so sparkly!)

Mutual favorite: spending time with Dean and Roxann!

Best in Food

You guys. The French have food figured out. In Paris, we took a "Bike and Bite" tour with a phenomenal guy named Leo. We cycled around the central Arrondissements of Paris and gathered supplies for a (cold!) picnic by the Seine. We visited a fromagerie with hundreds of varieties of cheese, where Leo selected half a dozen types for our picnic and had us sample a bright blue confection with lavender flowers in it.

After that, we picked up charcuterie and baguettes before heading down to the banks of the Seine. It was a history lesson (Leo knows Paris like the back of his hand) and quintessentially Parisian picnic all wrapped into one!


A Note From Banjo...

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I h8 Deen. I had da hole bak of da car 2 myseelf untel he and Roxxann shewed up. I had to be squeeshed ento where my lady hooman puts hir pawz. HIR PAWZ. Iss not comfee down dere, u kno? Im not a cheewahwah. Iss all Deens fawlt. He deednt geev me any of his crisoonts eeder, 'nd he ate lik, a hooondred. I got 2 stay weef my freends Poul, Jeeny, May 'nd Alfee 'nd I got lotz of petz. Dey deednt make mee squeesh ento the pawz spot.

I still have feelings for that cheese shop in Paris, you guys. Take me back!! March was incredibly busy and fun, and we felt like tourists way more than we usually do. While we are generally in favor of slow travel that feels more rooted down to the places we are in, there is something to be said for the excitement of seeing as much as possible in one short week. I think there's space for both kinds of travel, and advantages and disadvantages to each. One thing is for sure, though...I definitely want to spend more time in Paris, preferably when it's warmer!

Have you been to Paris or London? What did you enjoy? Let's chat in the comments!

#NomadicNordgrens February Travel Update by Rachel Nordgren

#NomadicNordgrens February 2018 Travel Update

Hello, friends!

February was fairly quiet for us, which was a lovely change! As fun and exciting as travel is, it's also really nice to unpack our bags and settle into a routine. We've been looking after a small farm in Laz, which is in the Brittany region of France, near Quimper. There are 10 horses, 7 sheep (and three lambs that have been born this month!), a lovely dog named Harry and a super cuddly cat named Robinson. It's kept us pretty busy!

On to the photos!

1. Banjo frolicking through a nearby field after a storm left a gorgeous rainbow in the sky!
2. The Le Vast Cascades
3. Two brand new baby sheep! We've named them Nottie the Brave and Her Ladysheep Effie von Fluffenstuff III
4. The French version of a grocery store wine aisle
5. One of the lovely horses we've been taking care of!

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Most Interesting Things We've Done or Seen

Hans' favorite: chopping firewood for the wood-burning stove in our gîte, and sitting by the fire reading Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Rachel's favorite: going horseback riding through the French countryside

Mutual favorite: taking care of baby lambs!

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Best in Food

We've eaten a lot of meals at home this month, like the one pictured above. However, at our AirBnB in Le Vast, our hosts Paul and Jenny graciously invited us to share a family meal with them on our last night. They invited a couple of neighbors, and we were treated to one of our favorite dinners of this entire trip so far! Paul and Jenny used to own a restaurant, so the food was excellent.

We had prawns roasted over an open fire, a goat cheese and pear salad with honey and balsamic vinegar, delicious risotto and fish that we think was called St Pierre, more varieties of cheese than we could possibly keep straight, Belgium waffles with a dark chocolate rum sauce for dessert, all accompanied by 5 bottles of wine. A decent portion of the evening's conversation revolved around the merits of various wines and cheeses because it's France.

It was a beautiful evening. We felt truly blessed by Paul and Jenny's hospitality and stellar cooking!


A Note From Banjo...

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I want 2 stay heer furever. Der are big doogs called "horsees" dat I lik to play wif. My hoomans wont let me chase dee sheeps and dat sux, but I lik looking at der fluffy bumz. I git to run and run and run with Harreey. But I want to chase dee sheep insteed. At nite we sit by dee fireplace and iss warms. Sometimes I eet hoorsee poo and my hoomans git mad. I wood stahp if dey let me chase dee sheep. I want to chase dee sheep. I need to chase dee sheep. Halp me chase dee sheep.


February felt deliciously slow, quiet, cozy. The farm was definitely a lot of work, but incredibly rewarding at the same time. Because I work online, it's always refreshing to reconnect with things that are tangible, solid, earthly. Although, because I work online, Hans ended up doing a lot of the tangible farm work, ha! But it was always a lovely and satisfying feeling to end our evenings together with our feet up in front of the fire, glasses of wine in hand, after delivering dinner to nearly two dozen animals and tucking them in for the night.

Do you enjoy slow-paced travel? Why or why not?