#GustiesAroundTheWorld: Dispatch from France

Sophie Leininger blogs following her return from France as a part of a January Interim Experience course, French Sport and Culture.
Posted on February 14th, 2018 by

A group of Gusties visit an ancient amphitheater in Arles, France.

Thirteen days and thirteen cities later, we stepped off the train and joined the busy crowds on the streets of Paris. As we arrived at the last hotel stop of the trip, the same building as our first two nights in France, a familiar feeling came back. 

It didn’t quite feel real. Looking out the balcony windows over the city that we had only begin to explore, it felt as if we were just kicking off the trip again. A whiff of the suitcases, a long scroll through our phones’ photo album, and a glance at our journals would tell quite a different story.

In the time between our two stays in Paris, we had stood on the tallest bridge in the world, visited ancient Roman amphitheaters, ate countless baguettes, and watched at least four teammates face plant as we ran down the sand hill of the Dune du Pilat.

A group of Gusties pose in front of the team benches in the Orange Vélodrome, home to the Olympique de Marseille football club and host of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Trying new foods every day, we accidentally said “si” instead of “oui” too many times and ate more than we should.

We listened to experts of history and culture as we followed guided tours through each city, surprising each guide with how many sites we had seen that day.

In Carcassonne, we toured the medieval city and visited the cathedral inside. After climbing the much more modern steps to the Orange Vélodrome, we watched Marseille soccer fans choose their season tickets in two of the nearly 70,000 seats inside the stadium.

In Nice, we walked along the beach, looking for sea glass and pretending we wouldn’t have to return to a blizzard back on the Hill. During our afternoon in Monaco, we posed for pictures outside the palace and hiked down to the streets of Monte Carlo.

Knowing it was taking us home, our second ride on the TGV, the fastest train service in the world, wasn’t nearly as fun as the first trip two weeks prior.

It was the busiest and prettiest two weeks I have had in a long time. So, as we packed our final night in Paris and hoped the bags were still under 50 pounds, the reality set and it was clear. We would have to return.


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