How much french can we learn and wine can we drink in the 4 months we are here? Guess you will have to read to find out.
Day 21 – 1/24/2019
Bonjour! This past weekend was a busy but fun one. Since we last posted, the other group of students who are spending the semester in home stays arrived in Montpellier. We went out with a group of them on their second night and were a fun enough crowd that the bartender gave us a free round of drinks…French bartenders are the best. We all made our way home during the early hours of the morning and woke up about 4 hours later to make it the train station for a day trip to the fishing city of Sete. The city is about a 20-minute train ride from Montpellier, so it was a nice ride to rest our aching heads. When we got there, we were given time to explore where we came across a cool old fort that has been made into a concert venue now (picture below). After our free time, we hiked up to the top the small mountain/big hill overlooking Sete. We were told that it was about a 30-minute walk but in reality, it was a 30-minute hike of death. Narrow, slightly inclined streets turned into 70 flights of stairs that seemed to never end. Upon arrival at the top, every person was red in the face and dripping sweat. But the increased heart rate and perspiration was worth the view. After nearly 12 miles of walking (we’re not kidding…12 miles), we made our way back to the train station to learn that our train back was delayed because of protests. Eventually, we were able to board the train and make it back to our apartment before we dropped dead from exhaustion. Busy weekend but a great time. Cheers!
Day 15 – 1/18/2019
Been a little while since we have posted, our apartment no longer has wifi… Other than that, all is well in paradise. We went to the most incredible vineyard the other day and got to do a wine tasting. Finally, we can use some buzz words to sound like we know what good wine is. The vineyard has been in the same family for the past 10 generations. They had the most incredible gardens, one of which is pictured below. Still haven’t started our French classes, however we have become more comfortable going out and using the little bit of French we do know. People still respond in English, at least we are trying. This weekend we have an excursion with the program to a little fishing village near here called Sete. So, the next post should have plenty of photos from that! We have also booked a trip in early February to Brussels, got some advice for the EU we think they would benefit from hearing. Keep an eye out for a little longer, more exciting post this weekend. As always, cheers!
Day 10 – 1/13/2019
Sorry its been a few days, we were on a bender. Bodies are running on fumes after the past couple days. Its been a interesting few days. Started out with all of us wanting to go out to the clubs. Here they open around 1 and close at 5-7 depending on the place. Not knowing much we followed our friend Ella’s advice and decided to go to “the best club in Montpellier”. We walk in and everything seems cool, its a cool building, club lights, and a dj. Something still seemed like it was missing. After a little while we noticed that while in nature males and females appear in about 50-50 proportion, this club was highly scewed toward the males. We did a little bit of digging and found out that the club we were at was in fact a gay bar… After another round of shots we quickly made our way out. Next night we let our bodies recover. Last night was another interesting one. Our neighbor friends had their friends from Barcelona come visit. We all found ourselves, after heavy pregamming, at a local Irish pub called Fitzpatrick’s. We were not not even close to the rowdiest group there, as there was a group of meathead English rugby players who were singing chants when we got there. At one point their shirts came off and they decided to have 1 v 1 wrestling matches in the streets . When they noticed our group watching they challenged the largest of our group. Fortunately, that wasn’t either of us. As we watched our new friend square up, we would be lying if we said we weren’t scared for his safety. However, just as was to be expected the Americans dominated the Englishman with brute force, as he slammed the other kid to the ground. They wanted a rematch and to challenge the rest of the group but we decided to hold on to our 1-0 record. After the pub, us and our new English friends decided to make our way to a shot bar. It was a super cool little place, on a side street. The establishment was packed to the gills. We had a couple shots and they must have been a bunch of pyromaniacs as they lit every shot on fire, with great showmanship. After we left their we are assuming we just went home, straight to bed. Overall great couple days here. Today was calming, as we went to the park to do some reading. Beautiful sunny day, perfect for sitting out on a bench.Classes fully start this week, so that should be fun! As always cheers.
Day 6 – 1/9/2019
Started classes today, never felt more out of place in my life. Professor asked if there where any foreign kids in the class, I actually forgot that was me and didn’t raise my hand. The kid next to me spoke some English, when I told him I from Minnesota he proceeded to ask if it was “in west? Cowboys?”. Also, kids here love tight pants, that was clearly evident in class. Yesterday was the start of what is essentially the French version of Black Friday. Great opportunity to buy tight pants at 50%-60% off… yay. We have been hitting the stores tying to buy some clothes that don’t scream, “I’m from America”. Pea coats are high on our list for purchases. No pictures for this weeks blog. We took some, just would rather my mother not see them… sorry mom. Looking forward to planning some trips in the coming weeks and setting the curve for these French kids. We’ll keep you posted with any exciting updates. Cheers
Day 3 – 1/6/2019
Wow. This place is way better than I ever could have thought. We have had an action/wine packed couple of days. We moved into our our new apartment, it is in a renovated chocolate factory from the 1600’s. It a mix of modern style and IKEA furniture. There are four units in our apartment but only two are complete. The other occupied unit is two other U of M students who also enjoy the consumption of cheap wine… We have become good friends! Since you last heard from us we went on a formal tour of the city, LOTS of enthusiasm from the tour guide. Following the tour we went around with two peer assistants who are basically the only reason we have any idea what is happening. The female peer assistant seem fairly intrigued by us… hmmm. today we took the tram to the Mediterranean, stunning views. Tried to get a drink by the ocean, ended up walking for 40 minutes to the other side of the marina to the only open bar, only to have them turn us away and say they were closing. Don’t think it was true as they were still serving people, I hate socialist. We have done a good amount of exploring the city on our own, by that I mean we have done some pub hoping. We are HUGE fans of a little pub in the city center called ReBuffys. Cheap wine and lots of young people, will definitely be spending a lot of time there. Neither of us are addicted to cigs yet, we’ll see how long that last. We have discovered that wine is cheaper than water, not mad about that. We got 6 bottles yesterday at the grocery, we are gonna have to restock here tomorrow… sorry mom. Took a couple pictures, that we will post below. More to come, we’ll keep you all posted, cheers.
Yes we made a blog… no we don’t know what we are doing. This is going to be as close to an accurate account of our 4 months in Europe as we would like our mothers and grandmothers to see. We are here in Montpelier, France. No neither of us speak any French… should be interesting. We hope this is a fun and easy way for everyone to follow along and feel up to date. We plan to conquer this city like only two American college students can, with pure ignorance and a willingness to try. Hope you enjoy following our travels, mishaps, copious wine consumption, and adventures along the way. Salute- Erik and Andrew