Sunday, 21 October 2012

Perpignan, France (4/10/12-9/10/12)

Airplane View
I left Amsterdam in the rain and arrived in Gerone, Spain in gorgeous sunshine. Unfortunately, Thibaut had a meeting at University around the same time as my arrival so I had to wait two and a half hours in a tiny airport before he could pick me up... I ended up asleep on one of the benches and when I woke up, two others had joined me.. it must have looked comfortable... it wasn't!

Thibaut arrived around 18.30 and we drove for about an hour through the darkening skies of the boarders of Spain and into the South of France.The terrain is all mountainous and forests and its really beautiful except closer to the boarder there are the remains of a MASSIVE forest fire... all the trees are bare and there is only tree stumps and yellow ground - it's very sad. The forest fire spread through both France and Spain! So so so huge and so horrible : (

By the time we arrived at Thibaut's flat it was dark and he had missed his rugby training so after some dinner we went over to one of his friends flat where a gathering/small party was occurring. As the night got older, more and more people arrived until at 12 we went to a local club. Drunk french people and a lot of 90's/00's rap makes for a very funny evening full of crazy dancing. Overall I had a pretty good first evening even though I speak no french and very few of his friends speak any English.

French University students and me
The next morning we had to get up at 7 am to go on a University field trip. The trip took place at several different heights up a mountain and at first I went with them but as I speak no French, it soon got very boring, and I was very tired, so I pretty much slept in the car all day. I think if I could speak French, the trip would have been really interesting as it was all about why plants grow in certain areas and how to tell which plant is which - the kinda thing that I think is really cool to know haha

For lunch we all sat in a big circle and everyone had brought one dish to share with everyone else - a cute idea. Pasta salad was overly available as well as french stick, carrots and wine. After we'd eaten and taken a few pictures, we drove to the top of the mountain (Thibaut and I had to get into the boot of the van as Thibaut's car couldn't make it up to the top and there wasn't enough space for all of us to sit properly). At the top, we had to all (including me) do various activities including identifying the species of each tree, the width, height and positioning.

Around 6pm we were done, so drove back down the mountain and after we'd dropped off some of the other students, Thibaut and I went food shopping. (Including snails, grapes and Nutella!)

Thibaut and I
On Sunday we went to the top of a different mountain which had an awesome 360 degree view! Perpignan is one of the sunniest but also one of the windiest places in the South of France because of the mountains in the area causing the wind to blow away the clouds (put simplistically).

After the mountain, we went to a little river and caught some fish (by hand) - well Thibaut did, I tried but failed - for him to take to his University aquarium. We even saw a black eel at one point but it was too fast for Thibaut to catch. Apparently the eel is very rare in that river, so we were very lucky to come across it.

After that we watched the end of a rugby game because we happened to spot it while driving past, but we were too late so only got to see the last 5 minutes.

Truly enjoying the view
The River
Bottles: transporting fish from river to house.
3/4 of our fish at Thibaut's flat. The little one is called Lucy.

That night Thibaut forced me to try snails with rice... actually they weren't that bad, salty. So if you ever get to try something odd or a little different, don't chicken out, do it, you might find that you actually quiet like it. Or you might find that its disgusting (like when I tried tripe) but hey, at least you tried!

The Beach!
On Monday, once Thibaut had returned from his Uni lessons, we went to the beach, about a 30 minute drive. I jumped straight into the water for a swim and was pleasantly surprised, it was October yet still warmer than any English sea I'd ever been in. (Except on my 13th Birthday were the sea water had been warm, an amazing birthday present.) Thibaut wouldn't go in until I literally forced him in but then admitted in the end that it wasn't as cold as it sometimes is in October.

Driving back to Gerone, Spain.
Then before I knew it, it was time to pack again and off to Spain we drove. My flight was in the late afternoon and my journey home was pretty uneventful. I flew back to Amsterdam where it was freezing cold.  (the car journey to Spain was in the 29/30 degree range) Caught the bus shivering back to my parents house and then had 2 days to prepare for my departure to Germany.

I am now in Germany, Schlangenbad, update for that coming soon.

P.S. here's a short video with footage from France:

1 comment:

  1. Thibo had a great idea to make you eat some snails ! haha
    Nice to see you =)

    Ra(l)ph from France