Bonjour! Many things have happened since my last update on WURldexplorers, so it’s time for a new story.
First off, I visited Paris! In the morning a group of Nutritional Scientists, including me, left the campus by bus, and after a transfer to another bus and finally a train we arrived at the gare du nord in Paris. This train station has over 40 platforms and it was all a little confusing for me, but luckily some people in our group had been there before and they led the way. After a small trip with the metro we visited the Notre Dame, which was beautifully decorated on both the outside and the inside. The paintings, statues and stained glass were all very nice to see but I couldn’t help the feeling that I was missing the stories underlaying these works of art – it was one of the few times I regretted that I hadn’t paid more attention during art classes.
After the necessary photos (including a number of selfies, obviously – the number of selfie sticks I’ve seen outside the Notre Dame is ridiculously high) at the Notre Dame we continued our trip through Paris by foot, in the direction of the Musee d’Orsay. This museum is located in two old train stations, which were intended to be broken down after they became useless for their original function of transportation as the trains became bigger and bigger while the platforms couldn’t expand. Luckily this was prevented and therefore we were still able to view them, along with all the artwork contained in the halls. Although I’m not really a fan of art in general, we spent four hours in the Musee d’Orsay and I wasn’t bored at all. However, in the end I was quite exhausted by all the impressions. I’ve even seen some of Van Gogh’s paintings in the museum! One of the things I learned while strolling through the halls was that ‘sadism’ was invented (or more accurately, first described and depicted) by the marquis De Sade. In the evening we visited the famous Eiffel tower and we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the illuminated tower contrasting with the dark starry night.
One of my personal goals during this exchange project is to learn more about the French culture and especially the culinary arts and traditions. At the moment of this writing, I have tried out several French dishes, cheeses and crème de marrons and I have to say that these first impressions of the French culinary arts are very good. I’ve also stumbled upon a lot of bakeries which were showcasing delicious pastries in their shop windows and I’m tempted to try out at least a dozen of them before the end of my exchange. In one shop in Beauvais, the famous Galerie La Fayette, I even found my favorite (French!) chocolate brand – Valrhona. Of course I had to buy some chocolate there! So far, I have definitely been inspired on a culinary level.
During one of past weekends the international student organization organized a team building day for my class, which was very nice. First off, we went bowling, which I hadn’t done in ages. My scores varied between 0 points and a strike, but it was fun nonetheless! Then a number of our group participated in a race with racing karts, while the rest of our group joined a lasergaming match, which was exciting, fast paced and raised my adrenaline levels significantly. I managed to end up as one of the highest ranking players! In the evening we had a drink with some of the French students who organized this day for us. And the end of the day I was exhausted, but I had a lot of fun.
Although I have encountered new, interesting things in France I’m also missing some of my trusted gadgets. So I decided to buy a second hand bicycle and a digital scale decorated with the words ‘dessert’ and ‘chocolate’, which suits my personality perfectly. That’s it for now, à bientôt!