Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dijon, Land of Mustard and Crème de Cassis

After a quick transfer in Paris, we took the train to Dijon. We were lucky enough to find a free place to stay with a couchsurfer named David. His apartment was tiny, and located on the 5th floor, but uncharacteristic of France, there was an elevator! David was born in So. Cal, but has lived in France since the '70s. He literally owns every single book ever published about Dijon (he lost track after a thousand) and appears to have a catalogue in his head that tells him where each one is located in his miniscule apartment. David is a translator for dance companies. Cool, huh?

Unforunately, the weather wasn't ideal, and we got caught in many a downpour during our two days there, but we didn't let that stop us from exploring the town. The most interesting thing about Dijon is the glazed tile roofs, fittingly enough, in mustard yellow. On one of the churches in town, there's also a bronze owl hidden in a corner, that supposedly brings you good luck if you rub it with your left hand. The presence of this owl, whose origins are unknown, has installed it permanently in Dijon as the town's mascot. When you walk around town, you follow little owls all over the city to interesting historic and cultural sites.

Our first stop was the Museum of Burgundian Life. There, creepy wax figures demonstrated local dress and customs. Andrew's favorite part was standing in front of the glass cases in such a way that it looked like the mannequins were wearing Converse sneakers. I personally liked, and was frightened by, the hair-dresser's stall in the museum. Looks like a form of torture to me!

While in Burgundy, we ate boeuf bourgignon, but I found my recipe better. :) We also had escargot, another speciality of the Burgundy region, and of course, Burgundy wine. The other advantage to staying with couchsurfers is that we also had access to a kitchen, so our last night there I was able to cook for us, significantly reducing our food spending. Our second day we took a short train ride to nearby Beaune. More to follow in another post.

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