I woke up around 8:00 and had breakfast with Ingrid before Philippe came and picked me up to give me a quick tour of his workplace. He knew that I was an architect, and working in metal construction, he thought I would be interested. His work was way cooler than I expected it to be...after showing me the offices, secretaries, architects and draftsman, he brought me through a door in the back of the office which opened into an enormous shop. It was then that I realized that his firm was an entirely independent design build firm, and that the elements of the 3D models and plots that I had seen inside were getting machined 100 feet away, ready to be assembled on site. The machines there were amazing, capable of moving, bending, welding, cutting, drilling (etc...) enormous pieces of metal. It was incredibly exciting for me. I love machining things, and a facility like that is an aspiring architect's pornography. It is awesome to think that all of the draftsman and designers are only a hallway away from where everything is produced, and that they are incredibly familiar with the capabilities of the machinist.
After returning to the house, Ingrid gave me directions to Troyes which kept me off of major highways, and I set off excited to see the cathedral there. Some days it is hard to start running. Back at school we would sometimes walk 20, 50, or rarely 100 m before someone would start running. Today it took me 7000. After that first running step though, it was all easy to Troyes. When I got near town, I stopped in a big supermarket and bought myself 3.25 liters of liquid and was very surprised at how fast I drank it all. I also ate a couple pastries from the boulangerie. Walking out of the shopping center feeling like I was going to puke (way too much in my stomach), I stopped for a moment to enjoy Toto's "Africa" playing over the loudspeakers.
Troyes is a beautiful little city with a medieval charm. After wandering about the town for a while, I stumbled upon the cathedral. This is another cathedral that I saw while awake in my medieval architecture class back at school...it was way more exciting in person, as these things normally are.
At six, I met up with my couchsurfing host Julien, and had dinner with his parents and some friends from school. While preparing dinner, they asked me if I liked seafood, and I lied and said yes (not really wanting to change their plans). I have also set a goal to start eating all the things I don't like on this trip. The dinner was delicious. I guess that's just the power of good French cooking.
26 June 2009