Today, we took a day trip to Geneva, Switzerland and it was wonderful! The weather has finally started to cool off and in Geneva, dubbed the city of parks, the air was crisp and the leaves were changing! On top of the fact that I was going to go see my friend Janine who I hadn't seen in two years! We had such a great day!
We didn't have any tourist-y expectations for what to see in the city, so we sort of aimlessly walked around and saw what we saw. It was a very relaxed day and we ended up seeing a lot of cool things. Janine hadn't really been to Geneva, but it was nice to have a Swiss tour guide to show us all the best shops.
Can't wait to go back to Switzerland! Of course, I filmed to whole trip, so don't forget to look out for my next video!
I just wanted to make a little post about how I am feeling right at this moment. As this blog is sort of like my little time capsule which is saving all of my thoughts and adventures (and misadventures) in France, I thought it would be best to capture my feelings right now. Today has been a very good day. My new japanese housemate, Kaori, has arrived and we seem to have lots of little things in common. She doesn't speak English, so we are forced to speak French together. We had a great little conversation today and sort of got to know each other! I also talked with my landlady, Jocelyne, quite a bit today and I really feel like my French is improving. I very rarely have trouble understanding, and my accent seems to be improving! I know I've said this about three times already, but I really feel like I'm settling into France. Right now I'm watching a hilarious French movie, Prête-Moi Ta Main, and I'm preparing myself for my first real day of school tomorrow. I've almost gotten my room set up exactly how I want it, I've got a handle on French grocery shopping, and I know my way around Chambery very well. I've really grown to like Chambery and my mood about France has really changed the longer I've been here. I'm very excited for what is to come! Sorry there were no pictures this time, but I'll be posting a video about my stay in the south of France very soon!
So, I've just gotten back from the south of France (which I'll post about a bit later) and I'm super exhausted and a bit sick, but I finally finished editing all of the footage from Paris! I just thought I'd update everyone a bit and include the new video.
I got back last night around 9pm and I came in to find that my new housemate had arrived! She's super nice, but a bit hesitant to speak French (as I'm sure I was on my first day in France).
I (FINALLY) start real classes on Monday. I will take another placement test, and I will be put into a group which I will remain in for the rest of the semester. Hopefully, I'm feeling better for Monday, cause right now, I feel a bit like poo.
But, without further ado, here is another video from our stay in Paris!
So, if you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or pretty much any other social networking site (which you should!), you'll know that I spent the past couple of days in Paris. It was my first time being there and I had a total blast. I did walk far enough that I thought it would be necessary to amputate my feet when I got home, but, all in all, the city made a very amazing first impression.
I did get the distinct impression that it wasn't exactly a city you should explore with your girl friends, especially since when bumped into a couple sucking face immediately upon exiting the train station!
Also, most of the negative impressions people paint of Paris weren't really true. No one ever sliced open my backpack or opened my backpack or tried to steal my backpack. And while Paris did smell distinctly of urine (probably because there are public bathrooms ANYWHERE!), it wasn't especially dirty and I never felt unsafe.
Definitely, definitely going again.
If you don't want to sift through the 100 pictures of the first half of our trip that I've put on Facebook, here are a select few of my first half faves:
Feel free to leave a comment here! I love to hear what everyone's up to!
So, I've been quite lucky with my semester so far. After a 2-week intensive course, I'm currently on vacation for three weeks. As I write this, I'm about one week into my vacation and tomorrow Emily, Sam, Diana, Dana, Dayton, and myself will be hopping on a train to Paris. So, I thought I would catch up on my blog and let you know some of the stuff I've been doing during this first week off! Since for the majority of Chambéry, this week is the first week of class, everyone was able to ride the bus all week to any location for 1 euro! We took advantage of this by going to the beach a million times! (We also found a mall, a hellaciously overpriced McDonalds, and the closest thing a person could get to Wal-Mart in France).
About halfway through our first week off, we went to Aix-les-Bains which is on the other side of Lac du Bourget (the lake near Chambéry). There we took a boat to the other side of the lake to visit what may be one of my favorite historical locations that I've seen since coming to France: Hautecombe Abbaye.
We couldn't take any pictures inside because even today, the abbey is used primarily as a place of prayer and is still inhabited by monks.
Inside there were tombs dating back to the 1400's! Many of the Dukes and Duchesses of Savoie were buried there.
Here are some pictures of Hautecombe Abbaye and of our boatride.
(Credit for these first two pictures belongs to the lovely Diana Olsen)
It took me a while, but at the end of week three I'm pretty much settled into my apartment and I know my way around Chambéry.
I've had many epiphanies about my apartment, which I've had to figure out on my own. For example, I spent the first week taking freezing cold showers because I thought the "C" stood for "cold", when in fact it stood for "chaud" (hot in french). (Yes, I realize how stupid that was, but all the appliances in the apartment use "hot & cold" instead of "chaud & froid"). It also took me ages to figure out how to turn the lights on in the stairwell leading up to my apartment.
In any case, here's a little post about Chambéry.
Even though we'd been in Chambéry for two weeks, the school planned a tour of the town. However, we learned lots of history about the town, and it was in French, making it especially educational.
The church was easily one of my favorite fixtures in the town. It dates back to the 15th century and contains Europe's largest collection of trompe-l'œils. These are optical illusions that trick the eye into seeing something in three-dimensions. That's obviously very confusing, so the 2nd picture is an example from the church. The picture is not of 3-D architecture on the building's ceiling, but simply a 2-D painting
We climbed to the top of the Chateau in Chambéry.
... and this was the amazing view below!
In the Chateau, there was a lot of really amazing Medieval and Renaissance paintings and sculptures.
After we visited the Chateau, we stopped by the museum as well. I didn't take many photographs because I got really caught up in viewing everything, but I did take a picture of this painting of Mary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus. It was part of a huge mural, but I just thought she was so beautiful.
On Saturday, we went to the market and it was quite the experience! Everything was significantly less expensive than at the supermarket and it all smelled and looked amazing!
And after we went to the market, we packed up some food and went to the beach to lay in the sun.
So much has happened since the last time I posted! To update, I've really settled in and gotten to know Chambery, I visited Lyon, I booked a trip to Paris, I visited my first French Discotheque and I climbed to the very top of a mountain in the Alps.
Lets just deal with the mountain for today.
We got up around seven and barely caught the bus to the mountain at 7:45. When we finally started hiking, it was practically a vertical climb for what seemed like miles! After hiking for about an hour and a half, I was thinking: "you know, this really isn't so bad. I'm sure we'll be there in a couple of minutes!" Little did I know that we were only about halfway up the mountain on our journey to the cross.
As I got more tired and the air got thinner, I was quite oddly positive about the whole thing. About 45 people were on the trip, but as we got nearer to the top, everyone started to get separated and I found myself alone on this mountain. This turned out to be quite a good thing as I was barely able to walk, let alone climb up rocks, so I ended up sacrificing most of my dignity by crawling up the rocks on my hands and knees.
So little oxygen was reaching my brain, that at the time, this really didn't bother me.
It ended up taking us about 3 hours to reach the top, but when got there, everything was so amazing. The cross (Croix du Nivolet), which seems like a pin prick when I try to see it from my bedroom window, was as tall as the Statue of Liberty. I was so tired, I don't know whether I was more struck by the breathtaking views or the fact that I could finally stop walking!
Joking, of course! We stopped for a two hour lunch and I munched on a baguette at the top of a mountain. Next weekend, I'm considering the hike up Mont Blanc. It might be a bit tougher, but it would grant some pretty impressive bragging rights, so we'll see.
Until then, let the shenanigans continue!
(P.S. feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin, and Facebook for more up to the moment play by plays of my french life!)