This weekend was a whole new adventure. For the first time, I travelled on my own! I had two Eurail pass days that I needed to use, so I decided to go to Northern France. I went to Rennes, which is in the Brittany region of France. I left on Saturday morning and took the train, with a layover in Paris. I got into Rennes around 5:00 and made my way to my hostel with no problems. I dropped my stuff off and then went to explore Rennes. I swear the town must have at least 10 huge gorgeous churches. There was a new one around every corner! It was very cool. The style of building that is popular is the thatched buildings in various colors. It looked awesome. I wandered around town a bunch and then picked a place for dinner. I had a delicious meal, although I have to say, eating at a restaurant alone is not my favorite thing to do. I felt slightly awkward, but it was a new experience and I enjoyed my meal!
On Sunday morning I got up early and wandered around another part of town until the Musèe de Beaux-Arts opened at 10:00. I was there before they evened opened the doors, and I was the first person in. The museum had an archeology section and paintings from the 14th-20th century. It was very cool, and it was fun having the entire museum to myself. I really enjoyed it. When I was done there I made my way over to the bus stop and caught the bus for Mont St Michel. The bus ride took about an hour, and I was super lucky with the weather. It was a beautiful day. The first thing I did when I got there (after taking some pictures and just taking it all in) was go tour the abbey. It was amazing that such a huge abbey could be built in such a remote location. From there I got lunch, which consisted of some traditional Normandy dishes, such as pâté and sausage. It was a great lunch looking out at the view.
After lunch I had some time to kill before my bus came back, so I moseyed around the town and went to the historical museum. The town was very cool, but small, and a little tourist trappy. All the same, I’m very glad that I went and saw it. It was definitely worth it. Ever since 7th grade, when we learned about Mont St Michel, I have wanted to see it, so I’m glad that I have.
On Monday morning I had some time in town before my train at 3:00. I took my time getting ready, and then wandered to the center of town. I sat at a café for awhile and read the book I was in the middle of, Three Cups of Tea. Side Note- READ THIS BOOK! Kerri gave it to me the other day and I’m so glad she did because I loved it and found it very inspirational! Anyways, back to France… After my café I walked over to Parc du Tabor, which was one of the most amazing parks I’ve ever been in. It was gorgeous! It was so green and beautiful. There were statues and an aviary with all kinds of birds, and a huge botanical garden with tons of types of plants. I walked around just soaking it all in and found a sunny place to read for awhile. It was so peaceful and fun. When I left the park I went to get some lunch at a crêperie, because that is one of the things Brittany is known for… great crêpes. I had some of the most delicious crêpes I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my fair share of delicious crêpes (although is it really possible to have a crêpe that is anything but delicious!) After my wonderful lunch I made my way to the train station through a part of town I had not been to yet, walking by about 50 new huge churches.
I got to the train station early, so I sat at one of the cafés across from the station. It was so nice out that I was able to sit outside without my coat, which was VERY exciting. I caught my train and changed trains again in Paris. I had to change train stations, but I had an hour and a half, so I decided to take the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. I decided I’d been in France for long enough, I really needed to see the Eiffel Tower. I hopped off the Metro, snapped a photo, and then went to my next train station. But at least now I know that I’m really in France. I got back to Aix around 10:00 with a new sense of accomplishment and self confidence. It feels great to know that I can handle traveling on my own for a weekend!
Back to class today wasn’t too bad. We have the most class on Tuesday’s with 6 hours, and it’s nice to get that out of the way with for the week. Today was especially hard because the weather is finally starting to resemble that famous Provencal weather that lured us all down here in the first place, so we really just wanted to be outside. We went to a café after class, and all the ones that got any sun were absolutely packed. As we were sitting I made the observation that class here really just feels like the filler that gives us something to do between the weekends. I have quite the schedule coming up. Eric comes this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can count the days on one hand!!! Here’s a little layout of our travel plans:
March 24-27: Geneva, Switzerland with Eric, Clare and Kerri
March 27-29: Lyon with Clare and Kerri
April 3-10: Spring Break, Sarah’s here, Paris
April 11-18: Spring Break, Mom’s here, Italy
April 24-26: Madrid, Spain with Clare and Kerri
May 1-3: Prague, Czech Republic with Clare (tentatively)
After that we only have 2 weeks until the program is over and I think we’re going to Monaco and Cannes during the film festival. After that I plan to go to London, where I’ll meet Megan and we’re going to go to Greece and Rome. Needless to say, life is good and I have a pretty busy schedule. If anyone has any advice or suggestions about things to see in any of those places, please pass along your wisdom!