Even though my host mom told me my French has improved, I still have a lot of room for improvement. At dinner one night this past week, I tried to explain to a waiter that my friends and I were hoping we could order some appetizers while we waited for a few more friends to meet us at the restaurant. In one sentence, I managed to use a word that doesn’t exist (“ordre.” Literally just invented it on the spot), and to use the verb that means “to attend” instead of the verb that means “to wait.” But oh well, I’m trying, right? And now I doubt I’ll make the same mistake again!
Some friends from Germany invited people over to their apartment on Wednesday for dinner. It took us a while to find the place, but the dinner was excellent and totally worth the walk. We had a goulash with pork and beef that went well with this doughy bread they had made, as well as broccoli, cabbage, and salad. After we ate, one of my friends pulled out his guitar and played for everyone for a bit. Such a great night 🙂
This weekend my university organized a trip to Lyon for the exchange students. We all stayed in a hostel, which made me excited for break in February because I’ll be staying in hostels as some friends and I travel around the UK. The hostel in Lyon provided baguettes, applesauce, coffee, tea and hot chocolate for breakfast, and the rooms were nice; they felt like a college dorm. The one downside, however, was that the room I slept in was FREEZING. The second night I asked for an extra blanket, but I still kept myself in a tight bundle all night and didn’t move an inch because the sheets felt soooo cold.
Lyon is like an older version of Pittsburgh: there are two rivers that run through the city (the Rhône and the Sâone) and bridges everywhere. Saturday morning the university students who organized the trip took us to one of the oldest and largest amphitheaters from Roman Gaul. Apparently they still have concerts there in the summer!
Fallo-Roman ruins in Lyon
Next we went to Lyon’s Basilica. When I walked inside, my mouth literally dropped.
The Basilica in Lyon
There was so much gold, and it was so tall…I’m surprised I didn’t walk into anyone/anything because I spent so much time looking at the ceiling. There was a chapel in the basement of the building that was also really pretty, but not breathtaking the same way the ground level was. We ate lunch on the steps of the Basilica and then walked around the corner to where there was an incredible view of Lyon. The Basilica is perched high on a hill, so we could look out across the whole city.
View of Lyon from the Basilica
Later in the afternoon we had some free time to explore the city on our own, and I was able to go to the Musée des Beaux Arts. Unfortunately I only had about an hour there, but the museum is so enormous that even if I’d had a full day I doubt I’d have gotten through more than half of it. But I was perfectly happy because I was able to see paintings by Georges Braque, Picasso, Manet, Monet, along with a lot of other painters I’m familiar with. It reminded me how much I want to take another art history class.
I also went to the Musée des Miniatures et Cinéma. It has models and props that were used in a bunch of different films, including The Matrix, Star Trek, Batman, Spiderman, The Three Musketeers, Superman, Back to the Future, and the Harry Potter movies.
The original letter Dumbledore sends Harry!!!
Sunday we went to Le Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is a mix between a zoo and a park. The park is enormous, with a large man made lake and trees and grass are kept neat and tidy (as is typical in France). Scattered throughout the park are different animals (monkeys, reindeer, a leopard, a crocodile, flamingos…) in enclosed habitats. There are also multiple botanical gardens, which offered a warm escape where I could thaw out my fingers and toes. I wasn’t too bothered by the cold weather, though, because there’d been talk of rain and snow, so I was just glad to be dry.
The ride home was a little painful, because in addition to sitting in French bus seats (which are meant to keep you alert rather than comfortable), we also watched The Transporter (if you haven’t seen it, don’t bother), which is a very loud action movie that made sleep impossible (and I had actually been able to fall asleep before the movie came on!! That never happens!). Then, when we were less than an hour from home, we stopped at a rest stop (for the second time during the four hour drive) for 30 MINUTES, and we’d just stopped an hour before that. And then, the bus drove past my apartment on the way to the park in Juan les Pins where we were being dropped off. It literally passed right in front of my apartment and three others of students on the trip. But we made it home eventually, so that’s all that matters 🙂
Until next time!