Last weekend CEA took my group to a city in France called Arles. When I say Arles was wonderful, I really mean it! I think that Arles might be my favorite city that I have visited so far. The architecture, food, people, city, and just everything about this place was amazing!
To start off, our group went to the Best Western hotel, which was so nice and comfortable! I felt like I was back in high school, running around to all my friends rooms and drinking all of the free coffee in my room. I also had access to French TV and I ended up watching "Danse avec les Stars" and some strangely entertaining children's program, so my mind was occupied between activities.
When we got a chance to explore the town, I saw some of the cutest clothes for the best prices. Everything was much cheaper in Arles than it is in Aix, but for some reason I held myself back from buying anything. I always convince myself that I will find the thing I want for a better price somewhere else and I beat myself up later for not buying that thing. It's okay though, I think I will go back in a few weeks.
After exploring on our own my group took a tour of Arles and learned about it's rich history. We went around the old parts of town and saw what was left the amphitheatre (top ), the underground stability for the forum (middle) and the place de la republique (bottom). I wish it had been sunny that day but like most places in France in the fall, it was a little wet and rainy. C'est la vie! That only made it more cozy to go into one of the coffee shops when the tour was done and get hot chocolate! It was so yummy. I bought a huge cup of vanilla creme hot chocolate for only about three euro. It was so good and warm that I immediately felt sleepy afterwards and slept at my hotel for a few hours. I had no idea that a hotel bed could put me to sleep so quickly.
Later that night we all went to dinner. I will admit, I am always a little suspicious of French food because I am so horrible at trying new foods, but this food was great! We started the course off with fresh sliced bread, a garlic spread, and shredded cheese to put on top of the bread with fish soup. We had Rose and Red wine and our second course was a beef stew with olives, rice, and more fresh bread. I gorged myself on so much food that I forgot that we were getting dessert. Our dessert was peach pie, and even though I was full I was not about to pass up the chance to eat pie. All in all that was an amazing day!
It's funny because even though I am in France, I always feel like I come to the realization of how lucky I am to be in France when I leave Aix. In a way I feel like Aix is my home and everywhere else is a vacation because everything in Aix has become so familiar I don't even think about it anymore. Taking time to see other places in France really helps me to keep my trip perspective. I really have to enjoy my time NOW. I can't wait for the next weekend trip, or after I finish another test. There will always be something else that I have to think about and get through. I love my life here. I love my friends and the people I've met. More than anything I love having great experiences like the one I had in Arles this weekend.
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