Europe | France | The North | Lille – Two more days in Lille
Saturday arises, and we rise to breakfast of coffee, pan [pahn] (bread) and nutella. I like a country that lets you have chocolate at every meal. After breakfast Marie Paul drives Mary and I cross town to the zoo.
The zoo is also the site of a citadel built by Louis XIV, the Sun King. The citadel itself is still occupied by the local military, and the zoo and the gardens surround it.
Marie Paule and I walk around the gardens and point at plants and say their names. A lot of them are the same words, said differently. For example in English a tulip is [two-lip] and in French it is [twe-leep]. One that was different was moss, which in French was mouse [moose], which means foam.
Mary and I travel downtown and look around a little bit. There are two train stations in Lille, Lille-Flanders and Lille-Europe. They are about two blocks apart. Between them we find a statue of flowers and just have to take my picture in them.
We wandered around “Old Lille” a bit. We saw the opera house which Lille is very proud of, they put it on their postcards. Then we find an old church. Mary says all cities in France originally were built around the churches and built out from there. The building is closed, but I take some photos and figure I’ll see some more churches later in the trip.
We return to the house for a light dinner, and then out to a soccer/football game. I don’t understand how or why Americans ended up the only ones calling this sport “soccer” while everyone else calls it “football”. Mary has wanted to attend one for a while, but no one wanted to go with her. With Jan and I in town, she now has two willing accomplices. Aili, Jan, Marie Paule, Mary Helen and I have dinner before it is time for us all to go. I didn’t drink anything at the house so that I could drink at the game. When we arrive at the game, Mary Helen and Jan go off and bring us all back beers. Marie Paule takes one sip and says she doesn’t want any more since it is non-alcoholic beer. I look around to notice that even though we are surrounded by males, not a single one of them in sight seems to have a beer. So we learned the way the French keep too many fights from breaking out at events like this is to not allow alcohol to be sold to the spectators.
Sunday rises, and we don’t. Mary doesn’t feel well, and I am happy to stay in bed. Ben comes over in the afternoon while Mary is napping, and we all end up walking to a local church for six-o-clock mass. It is interesting that I don’t really know the language, but I can tell which prayer they are praying by the intonation they are using. A good chance to work on my French pronunciation, since I know all the words I am trying to say, and sing, are good words with holy intent.