Hello friends and family! I’m back from my Spring Break trip to France, and I’m looking forward to sharing some photos and highlights. And in the spirit of midterms, I’ll reflect a little on how the semester is going so far.
Aix en Provence
Last Saturday, my wonderful boyfriend Cam spent a brutal amount of time in airports, planes, and trains to meet me at the Lyon Saint Exupery Airport in France. From Lyon we traveled to Aix en Provence, where we spent the first half of the week.
In Aix, we spent hours wandering the picturesque streets, enjoying the spring warmth, and sipping cappuccinos from cafes that looked like they had been plucked from postcards. We indulged in fresh bread, local charcuterie, and plenty of baked goods.
The first highlight was following the “Cezanne Trail” into the hills outside of Aix. Aix was proudly home to Paul Cezanne, the post-impressionist painter known for his numerous depictions of Mont Sainte Victoire. Following in Cezanne’s footsteps was a must-do for two museum lovers!
We trekked uphill for more than half an hour. We made a quick stop at Cezanne’s atelier before finally arriving at the Terrain des Peintres (park) where Cezanne painted the iconic Sainte Victoire images. It was a warm, clear day, and the view was nothing short of unforgettable.
The next day, we went on a half-day wine excursion through the Sainte Victoire region of Provence. The area is known primarily for its rosé production, so at the two wineries we visited, we learned a lot about (and tasted!) several varieties of the charmingly pink wine. Fun fact: rosé actually comes from black grapes! Who knew!?
It was an incredible experience. Both wineries were small, so we were able to meet and interact with the owners during our tastings. And the natural surroundings were, like the Cezanne park, absolutely unforgettable. Provence might just be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.
We spent the second half of the week in Lyon, which is a little off the beaten path in terms of tourism. Lyon is the second largest city in France, but it is largely overshadowed by the overwhelming popularity of Paris. In fact, our wine tour guide was shocked that we had chosen Lyon!
Coming from laidback Aix, it was a pretty big change of pace. But Lyon has a lot to offer! Our favorite things were walking and running on the Rhône and Saône rivers, walking through Vieux Lyon (the old town), eating countless pastries, and visiting the Musée des Beaux Arts. Wandering was our main activity, so I’ll let the photos say the rest.
It goes without saying that best part of the trip was just being together. The pain au chocolat were tasty and the views were tops, but nothing beat the comfort of spending time with someone from home. To Cam: thank you, thank you, thank you for making the trip!
General Life Updates
No major aftermath from my move. I settled in pretty quickly, and now I can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s nice to know that I can walk to the grocery store/drugstore/café/etc. whenever the mood strikes. And if you follow me on Strava, you know that I’ve also been taking advantage of the prime running routes nearby 🙂
It’s no secret that I’ve struggled a lot with homesickness over the past couple of months. Being abroad is hard, and cliches like meeting lifelong friends and “finding yourself” are sometimes pretty far from reality.
I’d like to say that I’m well adjusted and thriving at this point, but the truth is that I still miss home and feel lonely on a pretty regular basis. I wish it was more normal for study abroad students to admit that.
How do I cope with it? I run. A lot. Maintaining that part of my routine helps me to find some normalcy in a place that’s still pretty unfamiliar.
It’s hard to believe, but I’m down to just eight and a half more weeks in Copenhagen. As the weather gets warmer, I plan to spend a lot more time outside exploring the city. I can’t wait to share that with you!