Hi friends! So, it’s been a while. The end of the semester got crazy and then summer happened, and long story short it’s been eventful and pretty amazing. We had two weeks of spring break and a few of us went to Greece, Bulgaria, and northern Italy, which was lots of fun and stunningly beautiful. I got to do some traveling at the beginning of the summer break too, including a trip to Slovenia and meeting my family in Lyon for the Women’s World Cup (cannot even describe how excited I was for that). I spent most of the summer in Portland, doing an internship in product development at the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University, which was both a great job and an incredible chance to be back home remembering why I keep saying I want to move back there. I just made it back to Paris (like, today) for the start of the third semester of school (tomorrow), and I’m very excited for more France adventures!
And now, my favorite pictures from the last few months! First up, spring break:
Summer travels to Slovenia, Nice, Lyon, and Portland:
Just like that, we’re leaving Paris and on our way to Dublin. It’s crazy how fast this semester flew by! We only had about a week and a half left after the holidays, but it was full of report writing, presentation giving, and plenty of final work to fill it quite full. Hard to believe I was in Boston only 11 days ago! It’s been a struggle but at least it was just a short time.
We made good use of our last weekend in Paris with a climb to the towers of Notre Dame and its amazing views of the city. It was a great vantage point for scoping out our future apartments, judging entirely by rooftop gardens, of course. I spent most of Sunday just wandering around, making my way to an incredible pastry shop (of course) and stumbling on unexpected views of the Eiffel Tower, as you do. And then I spent a glorious few hours sitting in a park, eating my cake as slowly as possible, and finishing my book. Before the cold sank in, it was a pretty perfect afternoon.
So, off to Dublin and new adventures! I’m excited to be there!
Man, getting two weeks of holiday break is incredible and makes up for all the rest of the work of grad school. I’m just heading back to Paris now and have done an excellent job of ignoring the paper I should be writing in favor of baking, hiking, drinking lots of coffee, spending time with family, and generally having a great time.
The whole family made it home, so we spent a good amount of time just hanging out and catching up. Before daylight saving’s time, my sister and I were fully 12 hours of time difference apart, which means I think we can legitimately say that we span the globe. After being so far away, it was so nice to be home together! I tend to come home, immediately take up residence in my favorite comfy chair, and read a whole book. I also did the classic college thing of pushing so hard to finish everything before I got home that once I made it back, I got sick and spent the whole time sniffling only to recover just in time to return. Oh well!
I took full advantage of my parents’ lovely and just redone kitchen for baking plenty of cakes, cookies, and tarts—after months of my tiny dorm kitchen and very minimal equipment, my mom’s cupboard of baking pans of all shapes and sizes feels like the height of luxury. I think my favorite was the butterscotch roll cake, done vertically as inspired by Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes. So delicious!
I also got to stop in Boston on the way back and crammed in seeing as many people as possible in the three days I was there. My friends were very generous in their rescheduling and dealing with the general mayhem, and it was such an amazing time. I got to celebrate a birthday and my dragon boat team even threw a party for me! (To be honest, I was crashing an erg session, but I took full advantage of the chance to see everyone.) I even got a medal!
Finishing this up late because I got to Paris, went straight from the airport to class, and haven’t stopped yet. Less than a week of class left, so we’re full steam ahead on a final paper and a few presentations. And Dublin in one week!
To everyone I saw over break: it was so good to see you. Thank you for your hospitality, flexibility, willingness to overlook my radio silence, and pretending to care about my school stress. It meant so much to me to get you see you all!
I’m currently on my way home from a glorious weekend in Lyon, which started as a class field trip to Yoplait and extended into a few days of vacation. We were only there for a few days, but I’m already scheming ways to get back for longer. It’s such a beautiful city, with not one but TWO rivers (and good running paths along them!) and a stunning hilltop church visible from almost everywhere in the city. Add in the charming old city with winding cobblestone streets and I’m totally hooked.
Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France, and we did our best to sample as much as possible in the short time we were there. The highlight for me was a “quick lunch” at Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse that ended up taking all afternoon as we wandered the endless bounty of gourmet food stalls. We were lucky enough to snag a table at one of the restaurants, where we feasted on butter and cream with varying accompaniments: snails (!), ravioli with smoked salmon, andouilette gratin, and cheesy potatoes. It was incredible. The whole place was super busy, with chefs from various stalls chatting over a charcuterie board and a lively bar next to us–I loved everything about it. It took an absurd amount of restraint to keep myself from leaving with food for the next month.
Other culinary highlights included daily ice cream (I even found pumpkin! I was a little too excited) and these praline almonds turned into every kind of baked good imaginable. I wasn’t sure what to make of them at first, but they’re surprisingly delicious.
I was clearly won over by the food, but I also loved the feel of the city. People seemed friendly and chatty, not traits typically associated with Parisians. We happened to arrive just in time for the celebration of the new Beaujoulais, which apparently includes brass bands and dancing in the street. We also stumbled on an art market this morning and wandered through adorable shops with locally made clothes, bags, toys, and crafts. It might be because of the ways it reminded me of Portland, but I’m smitten. Until next time, Lyon!
Some friends from my program and I decided to take off for a weekend and, based on a combination of ticket prices and desire to see the ocean, ended up in Rennes. It’s only 2 hours west of Paris by TGV but about 5 if you’re a student trying to save money by going for the cheapest bus option. The city was super cute and seemed to have a lot going on–we encountered both a brass band parade and a treasure hunt in one afternoon. We also had to eat the regional specialty and had an epic crêpe brunch on Sunday.
But mostly, Rennes was a jumping-off point for the real destination: Mont-St-Michel. A sometimes-island that’s cut off from the mainland at extreme high tides, it’s a spectacular sight. There has been an abbey on the site since the 10th century, which at this point is a maze of different time periods, styles, and functions. The bus from Rennes drops you off a few kilometers away, and the walk to the island took about twice as long as it needed to because we had to stop and take pictures every few steps. The view of gothic spires against shocking blue sky and uninterrupted ocean never got old. I also loved wandering the abbey itself, from the vast dining hall to the massive wheel that once brought supplies to the abbey during its brief stint as a prison. We also watched wave after wave of parachutes land directly in front of the city. It was awesome!
I think it’s a mark of student life that one of the highlights of the trip was staying in a real house. Sitting on a couch, going to the bathroom without taking a key, having your refrigerator in the actual kitchen… it feels like the height of luxury at this point. We took advantage of the swanky digs and made a feast Saturday night–grilled (!!) steak and zucchini, green beans, epic garlic bread, and grilled peaches. It was so nice to live like a grown-up for a weekend!
Turns out the US is pretty big and driving from one coast to the other is maybe more of an undertaking than I really understood from looking at a map. We could have had more adventures were it not for the many, many hours we inconveniently had to spend driving, but it was pretty great all the same. Here are the highlights:
Days traveled: 12
International borders crossed: 2 (that was fun with my whole life packed into the backseat)
States driven through: 11
Miles driven: 3500
Miles hiked: 35
Miles run: 34
Waterfalls admired: 8
National Parks/Forests/Etc enjoyed: 5
Bears observed: 1
Bison encountered: approximately a million (causing the requisite bison traffic jams)
Pictures of bison taken: definitely not enough
Motorcycles seen: literally thousands (accidentally encountered the edges of Sturgis)
Pictures taken: 458 (don’t worry, this is only a few of them)
It was an amazing trip! Thank you to my co-pilots and hosts along the way!