sábado, 27 de fevereiro de 2010

Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel

So last weekend I went to Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel on an excursion with my school. 3 buses and more than 120 college students, hahaha. Normally that just sounds like a nightmare for me, but it was definitely worth it, I absolutely loved both places.

Saint-Malo is this old city on the coast that is surrounded by a turreted wall and that got severely bombed during WWII by the Americans and Brits because it was a bastion of the Nazi's, but then after, to keep the history, they restored it all. The first two collages are pictures from there. It was supposed to rain all day, but we got super lucky and it was GORGEOUS out. Spring has pretty much emerged in France, and while my allergies aren't enjoying it, I definitely am. =D

Mont St-Michel is really famous in France and a huge tourist destination, and really it was spectacular, much more so than it looks in pictures. Basically it's a sprawling, enormous, centuries-old monastary on this huge hill that when the tide comes in, is an island! Very cool.

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quarta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2010


So in January we finished up our classes and the first week of February we had a break before the beginning of the new semester, which is this week. For that week I went down to Montpellier, in the south of France, because my DAD found a conference there, so I got to go SEE him, stay in a HOTEL, go to the BEACH and be in the SUN, eat at RESTUARANTS, and be otherwise spoiled for 5 days with my daddy dear. Here's a recap of the week, day by day:

Tuesday, arrival day:
I got there around 2pm, went out the wrong exit of the train station and wandered around for quite a while as a result, looking for the hotel, which was directly across from the other exit, hehee. I finally found it, they let me check in and everything, and I went down and asked for the internet code, which then failed to work. dad told me he'd get in around 5 so at 4:30 i went to the station, found a train on the list that was coming from Paris and went and waited for him. it arrived alright, but dad was nowhere to be seen. i went back to the hotel, asked them about the internet, got it fixed and right as i was figuring out which train was dad's, he called my phone from his friend's cell, saying he was at the station. I ran across the street and we were reunited for the first time since August! woooo! that night we wandered a tiny bit and found a chinese/vietnamese/thai place to eat, which wasn't bad at all, and had some killer jasmine tea.

I took dad on the bus to his conference, at a nearby university, and then went to meet a Canadian friend of mine from the Cahto, Lois, who was vacationing for 2 of the days of our break in Montpellier. We wandered a bit as well, getting acquainted with the city, and went to the tourist center asking how to get to the seashore (which is only aboug 10 km away). the lady at the center was chatting with us and it turned out she used to live in Angers! small world. so to the Medeterranean we went! it was about 45 or 50 degrees and a bit windy so without a jacket it was still a bit nippy, but i took it off, trying to soak up as much sun as possible. =] we ate lunch on the rocks and just sort of wandered the beach for a couple hours, returned, pretty exhausted, took a tram to the Roman aquaducts the city has, and she showed me a crazy disney-remniscent cathedral. we went and sat in the sun in the park for a while and then I went back to the hotel to meet dad. that night we wandered and found a tiny little greek / cyprian restuarant that was jam packed full, very informal and had way-too-loud live greek music. the food was to die for and it was a fantastic meal, despite the fact that we had to shout across the table, and the owner of the restuarant refused to ever address me, even though it was clear dad spoke no french at all. hehehee.

I met Lois around 11am at the main plaza (Place de la Comedie) and we went to the art musuem, and then a little musuem about the history of Montpellier. the art musuem was fantastic and the history one was cool, but very odd--it was in the tiny part of the catacombs left from a huge church that was destroyed in the Revolution, in whose place now is a plaza with lots of cafes. we got headphones and listened to about 45 minutes of french explaination and little movies projected on to the stone floors and walls. haha, pretty interesting but we were both exhausted and kind of were falling asleep a bit. ;] after that she went back home and I went and got my hair cut! there was a place close to the hotel i had seen, and i walked in and they took me right away. it was expensive but i got a shoulder massage as the conditioner soaked in, and the guy really knew what he was doing. this is far and away the best haircut i've ever had--i can actually just leave my hair down and it looks fine now! fabulous. i waited a while for dad to get back, we both took naps and that night we had his gala dinner for the conference, which i got a free ticket for. it was at a really nice restauarnt next to the opera house, and we had tons of local wine, curry shrimp, raspberry duck, and apple tarte. yummmm! the conversation was nice, i was sitting across from a very interesting and talkative guy from the Netherlands, and next to dad's friend Scott who i met long ago as a 7yr old in Kansas one day when i went to Konza prairie with dad. i still remember that day! =]

dad left the conference at noon, and i took him to get kebabs, which are typical fast food around here. but we went to an indian place so instead of pita-y bread it was with naan, aka so much better. =D we walked and walked--i had a very good idea of the main center of the city by then and showed him all the cool sights. we took naps and then that night ate sushi. mmmmm.

we woke up and ate breakfast and then Urszula arrived from Lyon!! again, all we did was walk. along the Lez river, through the center of town, to the botanical gardens, etc. i took them to the art musuem, becuase it was really not very big, dad had free tickets, and Urszula had never been there! it only took about an hour and a half, and we all enjoyed it a lot. we had to get coffee afterwards because we were all falling asleep. ;] Urszula knew lots of little back streets and showed us some cool things, like the trompe l'oeils and a church or two. we had a tastey but burnt pizza lunch, and around 5pm said goodbye. it was fantastic to see her, the three of us just talked and talked. for dad it was nice because he got to have an actual mini-vacation, instead of just conferencing. for Urszula it was great because she got to go somewhere warmer and got to escape her daily life for a bit and reconnect with us. for me it was fabulous because i was surrounded by people i love. =]

after like 3 hrs of sleep dad and I woke up around 5:45 and got ready and went to the train station, because his train was at 6:51 and mine was at 7:21. once in Paris, I had a bit of a scare because i only had 1.5 hrs to switch train stations, and after getting off my train it took me a while to realize that i was at a completely different station than i thought--one i had never been to, and through which the metro line i was looking for didn't pass through. so i found a map and found a metro line that connected me to one that got me to the other station, but then i got there and they said the line was temporarily not running and i could take a bus. I couldn't find the bus, went back to the map and saw that i could transfer on the other line that went through the station too. ran to that one, got to the second line and realized i had 40 minutes before my train, and the station was 15 stops away. scaryyy. but once i finally got to the station with 15 minutes before my train was going to leave, i found out that where i got off that metro line was much closer to the actual trains than the metro line which i usually take, which involves 15 minutes of walking after you get off. so it was all ok and i made it fine. but it was a bit nervewracking to be sure, haha.

so that was my trip. I'm at school right now but I'll post pictures later. and I actually will, I promise. hehee.