My excursion to France Summer 2011

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flute bloggers bein the big dudes on campus heyoo

Yes indeed.

rjminfrance:

Just a friendly PSA to anyone who hasn’t also followed my active blog.   Because I didn’t know how tumblr worked when I first started, my default is not my personal.  tumorsandmusic.tumblr.com is my active blog.  I think I’ve caught most people, but just in case I figured I would post. Have a nice night!

Just a friendly PSA to anyone who hasn’t also followed my active blog.   Because I didn’t know how tumblr worked when I first started, my default is not my personal.  tumorsandmusic.tumblr.com is my active blog.  I think I’ve caught most people, but just in case I figured I would post. Have a nice night!

New blog link!

New blog

So this blog is completed, since I’m obviously back from France and I’m not going back any time soon (SAD FACE!)  But, I’m not writing a blog about oral surgery and just my life in general right now (mostly surgery).  If you are interested please see http://tumorsandmusic.tumblr.com

Hope I can help a few people with my experiences!

Aug 1

France, and how I miss it

So today is Monday and I’ve been back in North America for about two days now. I’m staying at Suzy’s which is awesome and yesterday was a really great day, but now that I am kinda back into a normal routine in Canada, I realize how much I miss France.  There was something about speaking French every day that I loved, and I wish my trip had been longer so I could have experienced more. All the people I met along the way were so amazing and I love the friends I have made along the way. Some of them were people I would never imagine would be friends with, but in fact they were the people I miss the most right now.  

I know that the Toronto kids are easily available but there are some of the international kids that I feel like I will never see. This is super melodramatic, but I like it…. I need to get this out so I can go into my second year being the person I was in France.

No one, and I mean no one, looked at me funny for my mouth and everyone was so amazing about it. I didn’t feel self conscious and there is something about getting cat called while wearing a hoodie and a bright red rain (I looked like a tomato) jacket that boosts your self confidence. Though after a while the people standing outside of bars yelling at me got old. 

Okay I’m done.. But I loved France so much and want to go back! I’m so glad that my parents were willing to pay for me to go on the trip! It was a great month of my life, and even though my class wasn’t great, it was still really interesting and I got to visit some amazing places. 

To anyone thinking about doing a summer abroad, go for it! If you guys want anymore information about the France trip, let me know! 

Aug 1

Day 29 and 30 (I guess travel days count)

Okay so Friday was my last day in Tours, which was kinda the worst thing ever. We only had like an hour of class and most of that was spent telling Madame what she could do better next year. Apparently I was the only one willing to say that I thought the crazy specific questions were absolutely insane and should not be allowed, or at least not carry as much weight as they seemed to…. Whatever, I got a 90 on my last essay, so I’m going to do well in the class even with the tests. 

So after class I went out in the courtyard to talk to people and say goodbye to the ones that were leaving right after class. It was really sad to see the people I had spent so much time with over the past month leave and go their separate ways. It’s one of those moments where everyone says they will go and visit the other, but in the back of your head, you know no one ever will. Nevertheless we all say it and hug and then go on our merry ways. Maybe its better that way.

Anyway, after a bit of that, I went to lunch with one of the Toronto people at a Middle Eastern restaurant that he obviously frequented often, since all the staff knew him and his order. It was cheap and tasty, so I have no complaints. Afterwards I went to the macaron store to buy stuff for Suzy’s family, and then went to Primtemps with Max, Angelica, and Steph. Afterwards I went home, and then went out with Christine for dinner in Place Plume. We had crepes and I think it was a really nice last meal in Tours. Then I found Devon and Heather and we hung out and went out with some other Toronto girls. I was not as fun as Thursday night, but it was still a good ending.

The next morning at 5:45 the bus left for Paris. Christine drove me to the Institute and then we said our final goodbyes.  I then spent the 4 hours bus riding mostly sleeping and when not sleeping I was shivering because our air-co vents were broken…. Yay -.-

We got to the airport way too early and checked in and everything and then went into the terminal to have lunch. I didnt have an official seat yet which was worrying but it was okay, since I ended up in the upper deck. I got back to Toronto around 4 but then had to wait forever for my bag. Eventually I got out and found Suzy and we went to Nathan’s grandparents’ for dinner. I passed out at 8pm and slept for 13 hours. I was officially back.

Days 27 and 28

On Wednesday we went to a chocolate store that makes all the items in the back of the store. They make a bunch of different Touraine specialites, the weirdest of which is a prune stuffed with apricot jelly stuff (I don’t remember the actual name). It wasn’t too bad, but the apricot stuff has rum in it, which was overpowering. There were a bunch of other things that were really great. After that we just kinda chilled in Tours and I finished my paper. In the evening we went out to dinner at  one of the three Chinese restaurants in Tours. We then went to La Guingette for the final party for the Institute. This consisted of a bunch of students singing, some of them pretty badly. The dancing afterwards was really nice and I definitely enjoyed my night.

Thursday in class we had a weird “Tour of France” though sounds, smells, and tastes. It was just not a great presentation, and it was a bit strange in a culture of Touraine class, but whatever. In the afternoon I just chilled and took a nap and then met some people at the residences before going out. We hung out in Place Plume and went to a couple bars and then ended up at Cafe Chaud, which is a dance club basically. The place lives up to its name, the dance floor is tiny, packed, and overheated. I still really enjoyed it, it was nice to just let loose for a while. I cannot believe that there is one day left for me in Tours. On saturday I’ll write a final post with Friday and my reflections.

I would like to just say to everyone who I’ve met on this trip and all my friends: Thank you so much for making this experience what it was. I had so much fun and I will never forget it.

Day 24, 25 and 26

Man these numbers are getting too high for comfort….. I’m leaving in two and a half days :(.

Okay so the day after my Versailles adventure I slept in (twas lovely) and then Christine and I went to the Gloriette to eat lovely food and just chill in the sun. The group making food uses items from local farms and its all bio (like everything in the world of Christine). The food was very good especially the gaspacho.  I then sat in the sun reading for a few hours before going home and working a bit on my essay. It was a pretty chill day

Monday started our last week of classes and our last few days in Tours, which is just a sad thing to think about. We had a lecture about the economy of Touraine, which was surprisingly interesting and then we went to a brasserie to have a café gourmand. This lovely invention is a coffee (or tea if you wish) with little tastes of desserts served at the restaurant. This particular one had nougat de tours, creme brulée, a macaron, and something whose name I can’t remember anymore. This mysterious item is a specialty of Touraine and consists of a dried pear with a sauce of the restaurant’s choice. This particular one had a red wine syrup made with wine from Chinon. Everything was very good. The rest of my night was chill, mostly spent working on my essay.

I would just like to note something before I go on about tuesday. I love the coffee in Europe. Even the coffee machines make decent coffee. I will really miss it when I get back to North America.

Tuesday was our last chateau field trip. Our first stop, however, was a the house Rabelais was born. This is unplanned and it turned out to be kinda useless because we had half an hour there, but had to pay to get in. It was basically just a house with an exhibit, so I decided to enjoy the scenery rather than pay 4 euros to go in the estate. You could still see the house from outside the gate, so I still got to see it. We then went on the Chinon chateau. This one isn’t really a chateau, its a fortress. Originally built in the 11th or 12th century, a lot of it is in ruins, especially since it was a target for looters. It is also a bit of a nightmare for those with vertigo. The castle, in typical fashion, is on a hill overlooking the town, a good strategic point. The way the castle is built, you have to walk over bridges to get the next section of castle. Every bridge has a steep drop off to the town below that did not do me any good. Also, the most interesting sites on the grounds are the towers that were used as lookout points. Again high place, long drop. Although I went up most things and got across the bridges, I was not a happy camper, ah well. We had lunch in town and I got to try a few of the Chinon wines, which was cool. In the afternoon we went to the Balzac museum, in Saché. Although its not his birthplace or anything like that (the house he was born in was bombed in WWII, I have to walk past the site every day) he spent a lot of time in the house, writing and all that jazz. Its a really interesting place and the tour guide was extremely knowledgable. It was the highlight of the excursion. Tuesday night I went out with some of the Toronto kids and just hung out in both of the normal hangouts in Tours. It was a pretty good day.

Day 23

Okay so this is my Versailles post…. and as the amazing Serena and Toni (my Versailles trip partners who are awesome, especially if they are reading this) know there are quite a few stories.

So our train left at 6:30 in the morning meaning I had to wake up at 5 to get to the train station -.- Anyways, the train there was fine and everything was normal and we ended up getting to Versailles around 10. We had bought our tickets online so we didn’t have to wait in line to get them, but there was about a 15 minute wait to get into the chateau, which truthfully wasn’t too bad considering the line was about 10x longer when we got out. The castle itself isn’t too interesting mainly because there are so many people and they don’t really let you see much. Everything is so ornate, its really ridiculous! Most of the castle is just a tourist trap although a gorgeous one.

After our tour of the chateau we had lunch. Typical tourist trap stuff but European tourist trap so quite tasty. We then decided to go into the gardens. The fountains weren’t working since they only work at certain times of day to preserve water, especially since France has been really dry this summer. We wandered through the gardens taking pictures and everything, and eventually made our way to a working fountain that was choreographed to some generic classical music that I was not able to identify. However after we walked away from the fountain it began to rain. Luckily i had an umbrella, but soon even that wasn’t enough. It basically started raining torrentially and the wind was strong enough that by the time I got up to the castle I was almost totally soaked. Also, at that point I realized I had lost Serena and Toni, which was not really good.

I spent an hour trying to find them and avoiding the cold and the rain, which was harder than it needed to be. Eventually I just gave up and was heading towards the gardens again when I ran into a few other friends from the Institute and decided to just go with them and meet the others at the train station. It rained a couple more times after I joined them, but nothing too bad. Weirdly enough they were kinda similar to the French revolutions. We wandered around the gardens and then went to Grand Trianon, which apparently houses special exhibits. The current one is an exhibit of modern designers’s recreations of period dress.

The really interesting part of Trianon was the gardens. They were very pretty and a bit of the lake at the end of the Versailles gardens runs into the edge of Trianon. We sat there for a bit and then the others decided they wanted to see the castle and I decided to make my way back to the entrance as well. As we were leaving Trianon,  Serena and Toni came out of the building, so we walked back to the entrance together. At this point it was about time to make our way back to the train station. This turned out to be a bit harder than expected. We took a wrong turn, and then got directions to the wrong train station, and by the time we got back to the right station, we had missed our train.

This kinda freaked me out, and I half ran to the kiosk and started flipping out it fractured french at the guy. He thought I was absolutely insane and told me to just take the next train that was leaving in 10 minutes. This meant we would have about 40 minutes to change stations in Paris, which again freaked me out. Serena and Toni were kinda just laughing at me, and were basically chill. In the end we made the train to Tours, which was lovely, and now I Serena and Toni have a great story of me flipping out in the Versailles Chantiers train station.

We got into the first station on the way, and it seemed we were sitting there for a long time. At some point an announcement came on and said something in very fast french that I couldnt understand but caused three or four people to get off the train. The announcement was made again about two minutes later and this time I heard the word policier, which is not hard to translate. At this point, I wanted to know what was said, so I asked the people next to us what they said, and it turned out that they didn’t speak any french at all, and were wondering the same thing. The woman behind us then hear us and asked if I spoke french because she couldn’t translate it into English. I told if she spoke clearly, I would be able to translate for the rest of us. She told me that the police had to be called for unknown reasons and if we were getting off at Orleans we needed to change trains because this one would not be stopping there anymore. This was annoying and a bit worrying but not too bad. About 10 minutes later they asked for a doctor….. I still don’t know exactly what happened. The woman talked to a conductor and apparently someone attacked another conductor, and the doctor was something unrelated. That was kinda worrying but we ended up leaving soon after and got back to Tours only about 10 minutes late.

Although it was a very weird day, Versailles was amazing and I really enjoyed it. It will definitely be a memorable day.