Oops, it’s been quite a bit since I’ve posted. In my defense, I didn’t have much to write about. School is, well, school, and although it’s interesting, it’s not exactly blog material. But, I had a long weekend, so now I have some material! I guess I’ll do a little timeline thing again. Here goes…

Two weekends ago, I went to the forest with Justine and her stepmom’s family. It was quite beautiful, if not a little cramped. We all stayed in this very 1970’s cabin out in the woods. It was very authentic, with no reception and all that. For fun, we went off-roading on ATVs (Technically, ATVs aren’t motorcycles, right? 😉).

Fast forward a week of school…

This past Friday, my mom and stepdad came to visit. It was so nice to see them and show them around Angers. We went to the Musee des Beaux-Arts again, as well as the Cathedral and Chateau. I definitely had been getting a little homesick, so their quick visit was the perfect cure. They left Saturday evening, then on Sunday…

My host family and I left for Mont Saint Michel, a beautiful island in Normandy. We explored the island, spending a night on the mainland. st michel

Since we had Monday off, we left Saint Michel on Monday, but stopped to visit a couple beach towns along the way. We passed through Cancale and bought some freshly shucked oysters. Yummy, but unfortunately, I’m allergic. Boo hoo.

cancale

We then went to Saint Malo, a heavily fortified city on the ocean. We walked along the water to a small island off the coast of Saint Malo. This island has the grave of Chateaubriand, a famous writer, on it. It was pretty cool, and the view was amazing. The pond thing in the picture is a natural pool of sorts, I believe. Off in the distance, you can see the closer island with Chateaubriand’s grave, and the farther island with a fort on it.

st malo.jpg

Well, I think that about sums it up. Also, I think we’re all glad LePen didn’t win…

And with that, I’ll end my post.

See you later!
-Elle

 

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Fin des Vacances

Fin des Vacances

Just a quick update.

Today is my last day of “vacation” (Well, here at least. I still technically have school in the US). I go to school tomorrow with Justine, and begin classes in French. I’m excited but also nervous. I also have a lot of work to do for my own school, so there’s that too. The vacation has been good, I went to Justine’s grandparents for a bit and got to meet more of her family. Her twin brother also stayed with us this past week and it was fun getting to know him as well.

I don’t have much else to say, as I did what a teenager typically does on their spring break, which is basically sleep and play video games (and maybe some homework too).

I’ll post sometime this coming week talking about school, but for now this is about all.

See you in the next post,

Elle

Troglodyte Tromp

Troglodyte Tromp

Another day today with a wide variety of activities. We visited Chateau Brissac in the morning, then went to a troglodyte (cave) restaurant for lunch, then finally toured the Loire river in a small boat.

brissac

Fun facts: One of the tallest castles in France, Chateau Brissac has (I think) five or six stories. One family and their descendants have lived in and owned Chateau Brissac for over five hundred years (!). The current family members use the upper floors (from the third on) of the castle, for their private residence.

I thought I had been to Brissac on a previous trip to France, but as it turns out I haven’t. So that was cool, because it was totally new. We went on a tour of the first two floors of the castle as well as the dungeon (ish). The first floor was just a foyer, formal living room, and formal dining room, but interesting nonetheless. As we ascended the stairs to the second floor, I almost slipped because the stairs were so weirdly sloped and slippery! I guess that’s what you get with castles built in the 15th century. The second floor housed a party room with a hidden door (!) to a bedroom, which had more hidden doors within it that apparently used to lead to servants’ quarters but are now used for storage and other stuff. Kind of an illogical place for said bedroom, but I guess if you really like to party…

Also on the second floor was another large room, with another less-hidden but still subtle door, which opened into a chapel. AN ENTIRE CHAPEL! My mind was totally blown. It was super tight, but had plenty of light and pretty altar carvings. We then exited the chapel and moved on to the third/second floor (in France, the ground floor is called the rez-de-chaussée, then the second floor is called the first floor, then second, and so on. Complicated, I know). The third floor had a private room that we couldn’t go in but looked cool, and also a game room/theater that we could enter. The game room had what looked like a pool table but wasn’t, because it didn’t have holes in the corners. Otherwise it was the exact same design as a pool table, with cues and all that. If anyone knows what the game is, tell me.

The theater was MASSIVE and had super lush red walls, carpeting, and seats. The only things I could think were a), is there a projector in here, and b) if so, does the family just sit in here and watch Netflix? Like if I lived in a castle I would sit in my outrageous theater and watch Netflix. And do their kids invite friends over? Like “Hey, Pierre, want to come over?” “Sure, Beret, where do you live again?” “Oh, this little house called Chateau Brissac.”

troglodyte

By the end of the tour, I was verging on hangry so I was so glad to get back on the bus for the short ride to the troglodyte restaurant–which turned out to by my favorite part of the day. The troglodyte/cave village was like an Ewok village from Star Wars or Hobbit houses from Lord of the Rings. It was awesome. We ate in a little cave and had delicious fresh-made bread with a variety of fillings, from meat and beans to mushrooms. We also had dessert options, of which I chose a pear flan-type thing with chocolate chips. It was sooooo good.

loire boat

Our final destination was a short boat tour on the Loire. It was a bit cold and windy, but I had plenty of layers plus a blanket the boat guides provided us so I was toasty. It was a cloudy day so there was hardly anyone on the water. The views were pretty good despite the weather, and it was a nice relaxing way to end the day.

See you in the next post,
Elle

La Tour de France

La Tour de France

Today we went on a 30 kilometer (20 mile) bike ride. It was exhausting and the weather wasn’t great (a slight drizzle the entire way there that got us soaked), but it was fun nonetheless. We biked to the Bouchemaine (mouth of the Maine river) and then to the point where the Loire and Maine rivers meet, and then on to our final destination, a tiny town called Béhuard where we had a delicious crepe lunch. It was beautiful (and mostly flat) the entire way there, and certain parts of the country that we biked through smelled like rain, wood smoke, and honey. It was amazing.

The little (and I mean little, like there’s only one road for cars) town was sooooo adorable and the guy who ran the crepe restaurant was super nice. The town also happens to be on an island, so sometimes it floods completely. Wild.

It was a true pastoral France experience, and even though my entire body is sore and I did more exercise than I have all year, it was an awesome day. I’m so glad the teachers (thanks Jeff, Françoise, and Sophie, if you’re reading this!)

See you in the next post,

Elle

La Salle de Discipline

La Salle de Discipline

Since I didn’t post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (and I probably won’t post on those days in the future) I’ll give a brief recap of each day.

Friday-

Nothing much happened, we just went to school with our host families. Although on Fridays everyone ends school early, around 2:00pm, so I went out with Justine and some of her friends. We went to a McDonald’s, which I found totally ironic.

Saturday-

In the morning, I went out to a farm to watch Justine horseback ride. It was pretty cool, but I didn’t have much to do–I was kind of hoping to ride! But it’s fine, since they were doing some pretty complicated stuff and I’ve only rode Western, not English.

In the afternoon, Justine and I went into Angers to go shopping. I ended up getting a t-shirt while she got a pajama shirt and some nail polish. It was cool just to explore the city some more too.

Sunday-

We hung around in the morning and then went to a nearby town for some activities in the afternoon. We went to an art show, which was really cool. We also walked along the Loire River and it was so pretty. Oh I almost forgot! We went to this tiny little museum in an old house/castle in town, which was fun, but this lady talked our ear off and I could only understand every other word that she said. There was this one room there called the “Salle de Discipline” which literally translates to “Room of Discipline.” I thought it was hilarious, hence the title of this post.

So, overall, a pretty great weekend!

Today, it was more classes with our host families. Tomorrow will be more exciting as we’re going to another chateau :).

See you in the next post,

Elle

A Modern Impression

A Modern Impression

In the morning, we explored Angers in small groups via a scavenger hunt. We were tasked with finding six historical sites throughout the city–and to feed ourselves while we were at it. And we had to ask someone on the street (in French, of course) to take our picture in front of said monument. Furthermore, Google Maps was outlawed! Barbaric! 🙂

Though it was a bit difficult to find each site as well as to ask total strangers to take our picture, it was really fun just to explore the city. I wandered off on my own at one point to find some food and I found a little comic shop that was total nerd heaven. It was awesome. I was totally going to by a comic but it was some 20-odd Euro and I needed lunch money. I will come back to you, comic store.

After our city wandering, we headed to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the local art museum in Angers. It’s possibly one of my favorite museums of all time, and here’s why: It’s small, but not too small, so you don’t get bored with too little art or too much. More importantly, it has art from the very first known paintings to modern art from the 1980’s (which reminds me of New Order album covers, but that’s besides the point). It’s seriously cool. I am probably going to practically live in that museum because my Humanities project is centered around art and art history.

I included pictures of my favorite art above. The tall one is from the early 1900s, I believe, of a woman in all black against a stunning blue background. The black is accented by a single gold bracelet on the woman’s wrist, which I thought was a nice contrast. The other paintings are much more modern. The top right is called “Tutti Frutti” (yes, like the New Order song. See why I made the connection?). Anyway, I thought it was pretty. Also, it was apparently inspired by the Rolling Stones. Very cool. The last painting I like solely for the title. It is….drum roll please…GéoméTREE! Yes, like Geometry but GeomeTREE! I love puns so much. I thought it was hilarious, I don’t know about anyone else.

Well, I better sign off. Other trees to climb; other things to do.

See you in the next shortened dead tree (Post, get it. Actually, that was horrible),

Elle

Faire du Théâtre

Faire du Théâtre

We didn’t do much today, but it was a fun day nonetheless. In the morning, we worked on a theater project that we’re doing with one of the classes at Mounier. After that, we worked a bit on our personal projects. Then it was noon and time for lunch with our host students. Most of their days ended at noon, but my host student takes an extra English class for one hour after lunch, from 1:30-2:30. So I grabbed lunch with her and went to English class after that.

After her last English class, we hung out with one of her friends until around 4:30, when we took the bus back home. It was really funny actually because we got off at our stop and started walking to her house, but then the bus driver pulled up besides us and gave us a ride the rest of the way. Thanks bus driver!

I don’t have much else to say for today, but I think we’re going back into town tomorrow to explore a bit more. Angers awaits.

See you in the next post,

Elle