Wow. So sorry about the delayed blog post (I just know y’all are dying to hear from me, right?!) My apartment doesn’t have any WiFi yet – it’s been a pain in the butt to figure it out and turns out my host mom has to get a new modem/router, which will hopefully solve the problem. I’ll get internet hopefully in the next week or so. Honestly though, I don’t hate it one bit. I don’t really have the time to waste on the internet, anyway.
Hokayy! So what the hell have I been up to, you ask? I last left you guys in Paris, the city of Love. Der. I didn’t want to waste the time while I was in Paris uploading pictures, so that is still on my to-do list. Don’t worry, I won’t forget.. they’re some pretty flame pictures in my humble opinion. For those of you who are just learning about my travels now, I’ll give you a run down of the nonsense that ensued in Paris:
Monday, September 3rd: Arrive in the lovely city! I got to the airport around 7:30 am, and went to the hotel and did some bonding with my new friends. Left the hotel at 4:45pm to go on the Bateau Mouche for a tour on the Seine River. At night, went out with some people from my group and got my buzzbuzz on. When in France!
Tuesday, September 4th: Breakfast early, left the hotel at 9:00am for Versailles. Had lunch there and then made moves to Musee d’Orsay. From there me and two others made a long ass hike back to the hotel where we promptly became lazy lards for like 30 minutes before leaving for a welcome dinner with the rest of my group for some team bonding and learning the manners of France. The food was of course delicious: appetizers were lentils, chopped caprese salad, duck with mashed potato and vinaigrette salad and with dessert being a fantabulous chocolate cake that basically was fudge. I was also brave enough to try French café, so from then on I was flying on that caffeine buzz. After dinner me and about 4 others went bar hopping to see some of the night life in Paris. Buzzbuzz 😉
Wednesday, September 5th: 9:00am left the hotel and went to Notre Dame Cathedral where we walked up 400 steps to the top! It was awesome and I took a picture of the bell that Quasi himself chilled on. I was obviously pumped – again, stay tuned for pictures – the gargoyles were something else, let me tell you. After the Cathedral we went to Sainte Chapelle, a church that is famous for its beautiful stained glass windows. Some typical sightseeing, you know. At 2:00pm we went for lunch and visited the Louvre Museum. This place is HUGE. I went in high school and totally forgot just how gigantic it was. We took a guided tour then branched off on our own – Evelyn, Greg, Ellisa and I checked out Napoleons apartments and some nice paintings and such and then Greg parted ways and the three girls went to the Champs d’Elysee to experience its glamour. Evelyn and Ellisa made some purchases, but I’m saving my money for travel and food. Life choices. Afterwards we made our way home, Evelyn racked out for about an hour and then I went down in the lobby to meet up with some kids from my group to go out on the town. Heather kind of got us lost at first, and we walked the slightly ghetto streets of Paris outside the red light district, but power is indeed in numbers (not that we had any problems, mind you). I took a picture in front of the Moulin Rouge (throwback to high school where I got drunk off champagne with my teachers and tried speaking French to a native Parisian… she loved me) and we went to a Pub/club right next door to the infamous joint. It was a good time and I got to drunkenly bond with about 8 members of my group – all of which are awesomeeee. I worked my girlish charm and only had to buy one beer (chyeahh) but some dudes from Arizona and London convinced Ellisa and I to take a shot of Komakazi and I think they regretted the decision when I almost puked it back up on them. Hard alcohol and I are just not friends; biere and vin all the way for me. Unfortunately, we ended up missing the metro back to our hotel so me and three other girls – Emily, Ellisa and Maddie — went in a taxi (the boys had us go first in good gentleman fashion) and made the cab drivers night when we jammed out hard to American music. Woo! Then I promptly passed out in my cozy bed.
Thursday, September 6th: Once again a 9:00am meet-up time. I woke up looking wonderful in my post-beer state (Evelyn was still drunk, haha) and was the first person to have my suitcase downstairs. The elevator at Hotel Minerve was beyond small, and my bags are heavy and we stayed on the 4th floor, so there was no way I was wasting any time. Great success. At 9:30 we left for the Eiffel Tower. I was a veteran at this too, but it still didn’t amaze me any less. The one difference though: we walked. Yeah. 668 stairs, bitches. My calves are going to be made of steel by the end of the semester, I swear. The climb wasn’t that bad, and the view from the top was sweet. Don’t worry – I videoed the climb and took pictures, which will be posted in due time. After the Eiffel Tower, Emily, Nina and I took the tram back to a farmers market with some vendors by the hotel. I bought myself a scarf:
and then we went for a fantastic lunch. Emily and I both ordered a salad that had apple slices, walnuts, warm goat cheese on toast and pan-seared duck. It was so delicious – once again, see the picture for some mouth-watering proof.
Nomnomnom. Post-lunch we went into a boulangerie-patisserie, which is a bakery/pastry shop. The picture below does not do this thing justice – it was a chocolate mousse dome with crème-brulee on the inside and a cookie thing underneath. Annnd it was only like 2.40 euro! In Paris, that’s pretty darn cheap.
From there we made it back to the hotel with a few minutes to spare and then it was en route to GRENOBLE (!!!!!!). The train ride was 3 hours of fun – Greg, Richard, Heather and I were at a table (we had first class seats, duh) and we played some card games and just did general team bonding. The ride flew by, and soon enough we were at the train station and getting introduced to our host families. Eep! I live with my host mom in an apartment right in the city center of Grenoble. It’s a small apartment but my host mom (Madeleine) owns an antique shop so it’s immaculately decorated and I have my own giant room with a huge balcony. Basically I love it. Madeleine is so sweet – she doesn’t’ speak any English so it’s doing wonders for my French. I actually haven’t had any problems communicating with her, and she helps me out whenever I snag a little bit with my French. She works 6 days a week so it’s kind of like having a roommate – who also happens to set up my breakfast (once again, pic below), cook me amazing dinners, and do my laundry.
She even made my bed this morning because I kind of forgot. Woops. She’s so nice though and there isn’t too many lags in conversation, so I’m totally content. The first night we had dinner together, chatted a little, and then I unpacked and passed out pretty freaking quickly. Mission accomplished.
Friday, September 7th: I woke up to a cute breakfast laid out for me, which was a great start to the day. Madeleine came back home after an appointment at 9:00am to take me to the Maison du Tourisme where I met up with the rest of my group and my two resident directors. From there Madeleine went to work and Anna and Marie took us on a tour of Grenoble. I LOVE THIS CITY. The people are way nicer than in Paris, stuff is cheaper, the buildings are beautiful and old and there are fountains everywhere. I kind of am obsessed. There’s this place called La Halle which is pretty much a farmers market that is open everyday except Sunday until 1am where you can find anything and everything fresh under the sun. There were even whole, skinned rabbits. My friend Ian loves to cook so we’re going to definitely be hitting that place up in the future for some cooking supplies. The tourism office is super helpful, too – they have events and information about everyething you could imagine, and there’s a place across the street where you can buy train tickets, so I have a feeling I will be going there frequently. After the tour of Grenoble we went to our campus, CUEF which is so cute with a lot of greenery where I will be definitely spending some time during the week. There are tennis courts and stuff, too, and posters everywhere that are already advertising for a dubstep concert, chyeahhh! We saw the API office, too, and did some more orientation stuff. The usual. Afterwards, I hung out with some kids and went to the Monoprix, which is basically a European Wal-Mart to get some nail polish remover, then went home to take a nap before dinner with Madeleine. Oh – the first night we had salad, yummy ham slices, and some famous Grenoble dish that was a hybrid between scalloped potatoes and a fancy omelet. This night, she made tomato salad, chicken and ratatouille. YUM. After dinner, I met up with Max and Maddie and we made our way to Heather’s house (she lives in Grenoble with her French boyfriend, living the dream) to pre-game. I bought a 4.95 euro bottle of wine and we had a power hour, so buzzbuzz. After the group (there was about 10 of us) was significantly tipsy, myself, Ian, Richard, Max, Maddie, Emily, Carl and Nina went out in search of the telegraphique which are little balls that are similar to ski-lifts that take you to the top of the Bastille on the alps. There was a free concert going on and we were pretty determined to go Unfortunately, we were all slightly drunk and new to the city so we didn’t get to the lift until 11:45, where the jerkface workers told us they weren’t letting anyone else on. Never fear, though! Instead we went to the Notre Dame square into a pub and drank some more. I had a pint of Carlsberg beer (the cheapest), and Nina started to yammer away in French so I followed suit. Time passed in that way that it always does when alcohol is involved, and soon enough it was 1:00am and the bar was closing. BOO. So we all left and made our way back to our houses. Nina peed in the street… fail, but funny. I think I made it back to my apartment at 1:30am and thus ends my second night in Grenoble.
Saturday, September 8th: AKA today (but not really anymore because I’m uploading this on Sunday), but I’m writing this before bed and without internet, you won’t see this until tomorrow. So yeah. I woke up at 10:00am to the same cute breakfast set up, got ready and made my way to the Victor Hugo Park by 11. Once there, I posted up in my hammock, answered some e-mails and started hula hooping. Apparently hammocks and hula hoops are few and far between in France, so I got a lot of double takes, smiles and thumbs-up. I don’t hate it. Within an hour Maddie and Max found me (it was a pre-determined meet-up) and I tried to teach them to hula hoop. Wasn’t quite a success, but fun nonetheless. Soon after, Nina, Richard and Emily found us and we lamped around for a little and then went in search of some cheap lunch. I had a ciabata that I think was ground sausage with peppers and mozzarella cheese. For not being a fan of sausage, it was delicious. While abroad though, I’ve decided to try everything offered to me and I realized I like ground sausage and orange juice. Win! Then we just went and explored Grenoble a bunch and hung out on a bridge that overlooks the river and we were surrounded by the alps and it was just breathtaking. Side Note: Grenoble is the flattest city in France, and is surrounded by the French alps, making for a view that is beyond amazing. Then we passed by a gelato shop and I had my first French gelato of the semester. I had chocolate in a cone and I was not let down.My goal is to try all the flavors. Once I was done stuffing my face we made moves to find a store that sold a soccer ball for Max. En route though, we passed by Victor Hugo again and I opted to set up my hammock and wait for my friends there. They came back about 20 minutes later and in the meantime I witnessed about 30 drunk college students have wheelbarrow races in the parks fountain and then proceed to perform choreographed dances whilst singing. Never a dull moment. It was hot as hell though and we all started to crash, so I went home to take a nap before dinner. Around 8:00pm Madeleine came home and we tried to figure out the WiFi to no avail. Then we had potatoes, salad and some cheesy egg vegetable concoction with bread and fresh cheese for dinner. Tres tasty. Once dinner was over I threw on some shoes and met Preston, Max, Emily and Maddie at Victor Hugo to go out for the night. We ended up at a bar called L’autre Table (I think) were I had a pint of some beer I forget the same of. Our server was a jerk so he got no tip and we stayed extra long to prove a point. After a while though we were all exhausted and so we all walked back to our houses. And yeah, now here I am! It’s now about 1:30am though so I’m going to hit the hay. Until tomorrow! xox Bisoux
Sunday (aka today) September 9th: I had plans to wake up around 9:00am today but turns out I never set my alarm so I naturally woke up around 10:30am. Woops. Thankfully I had nothing to do though, c’est la vie. =) I putzed around and had some breakfast until Madeleine got back around 11:00, and then once she was ready we made some moves to seize the day. She drove us to her friends house in the mountains of Grenoble and OH MY GOSH IT WAS STUNNING. I was kicking myself because I didn’t bring my camera, but hopefully I’ll make it up there again before my stay is up. I was introduced to her friends, and got some more French practice in, huzzah! There was a 5 year old boy who didn’t really understand the fact that he had to speak to me slowly in order for me to understand completely, so at one point he asked me why I wasn’t answering his questions perfectly. It made me laugh. After a completely amazing lunch of tomato mozzarella salad, pork, chicken, cheese/bread platter and then a praline/strawberry tart, I took a nap in the sunshine by their pond with a spectacular view, and then Madeleine and I went on a hike through the mountain forests. No need to explain how amazing it was. Afterwards I chilled around more with her friends, and then went home to lamp until dinner. I got some Game Of Thrones in (I’m so close to the end!!!) and now I’m here at Victor Hugo park once again utilizing the free WiFi. It’s a little passed 10:00pm though and I have my placement exam at 8:30 tomorrow morning, so I’m officially calling it a night. I tried uploading some pictures just now but the internet is slow as shit and my efforts were to no avail, but I promise you they will come eventually.
Stay awesome, friends =)