Monday, May 19, 2008

Presque fini!...

... I'm actually not 100% excited

May 19, 2008


So it has been some time since I have sat down to write here. I have been so busy this month that it is already the 19th of May and I’ve only got 11 days left in Grenoble and 23 in France. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Sometimes I see it as too short and that I’ve got so much to see in a short time, and sometimes I see it as forever! Not that 23 days is much time at all, but I still miss my friends. I look forward to getting to Nantes and Paris and seeing my dad. I don’t know, I’m enjoying it, and that’s what’s important.

This month is much more difficult than last month, and I’m hoping that I can still pull off an A. I saw my grades today, and their not so good; probably a B. Whatever…

As far as May is concerned, I’ve done so much.  I don’t know how to even explain it but here goes nothing.

Marseilles was a wonderful city, but anyone who has been there knows it’s very dirty. It gives France a bad image because between Marseilles and Paris, most people don’t see France. The old port was beautiful and walking around gave a good picture of life in the city.

We (my friends from Grenoble and I) went for a walk around the city after getting settled into our Hostel.  We got to see a lot of different parts of the city, and eventually came back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. We went back to the old port to get dinner, and it was a very good meal. After that we went back to the hostel to rest. I decided I was in France to speak French, so I got a coke and sat down with the workers at the hostel and talked for an hour or so. It was nice to talk without having to worry about it. I’m kinda self-conscious about my French when I’m talking with people because I hate screwing up.

The next morning we all slept in pretty late, so we got a late start on the day. Two others and I went to a market and got some fruit and walked around eating it. It’s just one of the cool things about France that we could do it. Then we met up with the rest of the group and went to the beach. After the beach we walked through this beautiful park before getting to the famous piece of architecture. I really don’t know much about it but it was cool for the two architects in the group.

That evening we had an awful meal that I’d like to describe, but it’s better that I don’t. The service was terrible, the food wasn’t good, and it was kinda expensive. Oh well, it’s all part of the experience and I’m okay with it. After that three of us went to a bar and got coffee, a beer, and a glass of wine (each took one, not all three [the glass of wine was mine]).

The next day the two South Africans (also the Architects) and I went to the islands that were close to the coast. One of them was actually the Isle If. This probably means nothing to you so I will tell you that there is a Chateau there called the Chateau d’If. Still nothing? The prison from the Count of Monte Cristo. It was a cool museum and a cool experience. After that we went to the other island and had lunch. I had to take the next boat in order to catch my train back to Grenoble, but the others (we met people at the island) stayed because they were able to book the hostel that night and I wasn’t.


That was Thursday through Saturday. Then the following Thursday I went to Munich, Germany. It was a wonderful trip that itself was not without problems. I was able to catch my first two trains with no problem, and after traveling for about 7 hrs, I arrived in Strasbourg, France at 5:50PM. However, the train to Munich had left at 5:45! So I had a chance to walk around Strasbourg for about 2 hours and see the city close to the train station. I then caught the next train and made it to Munich about midnight. It was a long day so I went to bed fairly quickly.

The next day I got up at a reasonable hour and made it down to the Free walking tour of Munich, which was great. I got to see a lot of different places in Munich and hear the story behind the places. After this tour I got to drink my first beer ever. And let me tell you, starting with a Maß of beer is not a great idea. Oh, for you that don’t know, a Mass is a Liter of beer (see photo below). I wasn’t drunk, don’t worry, but it was still not a great idea.

After walking back to the train station, I met Scooter (a friend from UC and back home) and we went to get her settled into the hostel.  Then we went to the Hofbräuhaus. We had some amazing food, and of course beer! Since I had a light lager for lunch, I had a dark (half) for dinner. After that we just walked around the city talking and enjoying each other’s company. I think I can speak for the both of us and say it was nice to see a familiar face. I kinda took her to places from the tour and told her what I could remember, which wasn’t always everything, but usually the jest of everything. We went to this park and in a gazebo there were all of these old people ballroom dancing, and I wanted to join in, but I didn’t know how. L

The next morning we again got up early so that we could get to Dachau. I would love to describe it, but it’s impossible. Honestly, there is not way to describe with words what it was like, and Dachau wasn’t even a Death Camp. It makes me wonder about camps like Auschwitz. I’m only going to post a picture or two from Dachau here, but when I stop being lazy, I’ll post them on facebook.

After Dachau we just wondered the city and eventually went to the Hofbräuhaus’ beer garden in the English gardens. They were beautiful and the food was amazing. I had another maß and this time it hit me hard. I wasn’t drunk, but I definitely felt the alcohol. It really wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but not bad either.

Scooter and I had some wonderful conversations during our two and a half days together, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I may have talked way too much in the time we had together, and for that I feel really bad. I need to be a better listener, and I am striving for that!

After coming back here, I’ve been in class and not done a lot. I went to Lyon with API on Saturday, and that was cool. Didn’t really do much, but I was able to comprehend about 97% of what the guide was saying in French. I’m happy with that.

Anyhow, I’ve got 11 days in Grenoble and 23 in France. I should go to bed soon so I can get up tomorrow and try to run a few miles.


See you all soon,