Sunday, June 14, 2015

France: Chapter 3

It took me two weeks to realize that the best time to journal/blog is during the bus rides. Especially the six to seven hour bus rides to and from Barcelona. I will get to the weekend in Barcelona at a later time, but for now, I will be recapping last weeks events.

First off, I made the decision to stay in Toulouse for the free weekend that we are given. I kind of had a feeling the whole time that I would stay in Toulouse for the weekend but I was still considering other places for awhile. There are a few others staying in Toulouse, as well. I will be saving a decent amount of money and there is a free musical festival in Toulouse that weekend in celebration of the summer solstice. I also want to do more exploring of Toulouse and the free weekend will be the perfect time to do it. It will be a good opportunity to catch up on some rest as well.

Last Tuesday we visited the Roquefort cheese caves. Roquefort is a special Bleu cheese made and ripened in the caves within the hills of Roquefort. It is made from the milk of the Lacaune ewe and is the only Bleu cheese of it's kind. One can easily tell the difference between Roquefort and regular Bleu cheese. I could definitely tell the difference because I usually don't like the taste of Bleu cheese but I love the taste of Roquefort. It's something strange for  sure. It's very strong in flavor. I've now fallen in love with two cheeses: Camembert and Roquefort.

Wednesday was a very interesting day. At 2 pm in the afternoon, all the students and the French professors met by the Garonne River in Jardin de Raymond IV. It was a very beautiful place and I may never have made my way over there if it wasn't a set rendezvous point. I'm glad it was. We were split up into teams of four or five with varying french language skills. My team managed to have four beginners on it because a mistake was made. To fix this, they moved a Lebanese girl who is fluent in French to our group to aid in our mission. Our mission: set up a weekend itinerary for our 10 or 11 year old cousin who is visiting. We needed to find about three different restaurants, a park, an ice cream shop, and a museum or another place to visit. We had about an hour to do this and then meet at another rendezvous point. The whole point of the first mission was to try and talk to locals or shop owners to find places to add to the itinerary. It was a lot more difficult than I imagined it would be. We managed to get all of our weekend itinerary filled and made it to the rendezvous point where we were then given another task. We were given a set of 14 questions/riddles in French that we needed to translate and then find the answer. The catch was that we had to travel across the main part of Toulouse to find the answers to these questions. It wasn't easy to say the least. My team ended up merging with another team halfway through so it would make it easier for all of us. In the end we were only able to get 12/14 answered in the time allotted. Having a good sense of direction was crucial to doing this second task well. We had a good sense of direction but we didn't read ahead. We had to go to the other side of Toulouse (where we had started at) to find the answers but we didn't have enough time. We had to leave them blank. All in all it was a very fun time.

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