Bonjour tout le monde!
Life has been so full here the past few weeks. Classes are going well and my French is getting a lot better, which makes me so happy. There are people from everywhere here learning French: Poland, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Ghana, Angola, China, New Zealand, USA, Germany... literally everywhere!
As I said in my last post, I'm also taking beginners gymnastics here and I am loving it. I've made some friends in the class who are Italian and French and we're all having fun navigating the new movements involving jumps, flips, and a lot of stretching. My week is pretty full with classes but I still find time to go for walks downtown and go to the organic market. The amount of fresh produce here is insane and the friendliness/familiarity of everyone is so great. Also: FIGS! They are everywhere here and they are so amazingly good. :) I don't know what it is about farmers markets and big open markets like these, but the experience just gives me so much joy and makes me smile. We've had several rain storms lately, but mainly sunny days with great 60º-70ºF temps, making it the perfect weather to explore the town and check out local cafés, etc.
This past weekend my friend Madi invited me to join her on an overnight trip to the Cap d'Agde on the Mediterranean. The city is mostly known around Europe for its nudist beaches and colonies, but we decided against exploring that part of town on this trip. ;) Instead we spent the weekend wandering the beaches, finding beautiful shells, and being in awe of the Earth. We ate fresh melon with ham, bread, mini sausages, and rice and drank sangria for our evening meal; Madi and I felt very French.
We also tried a tiny bit of the renowned French liquor called Pastis, which has 45% alcohol... Nope. Nope. Nope. I like a light licorice/anise taste in food, but what I drank was like licorice + gasoline. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little- but seriously! I'm glad I tried it- it's always good to try local foods/drinks once- but in this instance, once was enough. It also has to do with the fact that my relationship with alcohol is basically good red wine (thanks to my parents). I'm not a fan of any beer, liquors, vodka, etc. You can imagine I must be a big party animal. ;) Rainy day enthusiasts, tea drinkers, and book lovers unite! Anyway....
Cap d'Agde was originally (many, many, many years ago) the site of a large volcano(s) and the landscape is full of volcanic rock and incredible lava flow formations. Some of the beaches have black sand due to the amount of volcanic rock everywhere. It was such a wonderful trip and I was constantly stunned at how beautiful the ocean (yes, I know the Mediterranean is technically a sea) could be and how fascinating the geologic history of the area was.
On our way back to Pau on Sunday (a 4 hour drive) the tan buildings with red roofs, countless vineyards, and Pyrenees mountains sped by my window. Some of my favorite things in this landscape include the tall, thin trees-- they're like skinny green paint brushes against the sky with the backdrop of the mountains. Is that a little too artsy? Well, this place makes me feel artsy- so I'm going to roll with it.
Alright, it's getting late here and it's time to read and rest. I'm currently reading Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days" in French--it's a very interesting story.
An aspiring polyglot and globetrotter, an avid reader, and a lover of good food. :)