Monday, April 7, 2014

Catching Up and French Trip

Hey guys! So sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. I was in the middle of applying to colleges, then midterms, then Christmas, and then the beginning of a new semester. In this post I will talk about my weeklong trip that I went on in March to Périgueux, France with my school. In the next post I will talk about my trip to Walt Disney World and my experience with this year’s Playlist Live. In the third post, I will tell you about about my weekend trip to Philadelphia to look at Drexel University. Now onto my trip to France!

In the second week of March a group of about 17 students (including myself) and two teachers travelled to Périgueux, France for one week. We stayed with host families, and explored the town and surrounding areas. This was my third trip to France, but my first time in the southwest of France. Previously I had been to Paris, the Loire Valley, Normandy and the Champagne region. I love France and the Bordeaux region is no exception. I was graced with great weather, great food and great new friends.

This picture of the cathedral was taken on the first day with a beautiful blue sky for a background. I absolutely loved the architecture in the city, ranging from the Middle Ages (second picture) to more modern buildings.

I have been taking French for six years so I consider myself pretty proficient in the language, and staying with two host families has really helped my language skills. I recommend that anyone taking a foreign language should stay with a host family because it boosts your comprehension skills (because everyone speaks so fast) and your speaking skills (because then you have to respond to them). The family I stayed with was perfect and I wish I could go back and stay with them again. 

Two of my favorite things to do while travelling are to try new foods and to eat! On one day, the French and the Americans went to Sarlat (southeast of Périgueux) for a three-course meal. Here is what we ate:

For a first course (or entrée) we ate a mixed salad with cold sliced duck breast and foie gras. Périgeux is known for their duck or (magret du canard) and foie gras (which is duck liver). I loved the duck and I was unsure about the foie gras. I think that it is an acquired taste that I will try to acquire. But the French loved it and ate most of the American’s foie gras! The second course (or plat principal) was pork with potatoes and a piece of lettuce for a salad. This was really good, but not too adventurous. Dessert was next with a chocolate mousse-cake with a custard sauce and a butterscotch sauce. This was delicious and I wish that I had the recipe! I loved the food so much during my stay that I bought a cookbook of traditional Périgord meals. And yes, it is in French. If anyone wants me to do a post about one of the recipes, let me know because I love to cook!

After this fantastic meal, we had to climb a large hill (which felt like a small mountain) to see Château de Castelnaud. Although I felt as if I was dying by the end of the hike (I am not an athletic person and we had just eaten a three-course meal), the views were definetly worth it.

All in all, I love France and I cannot wait to go back again. As well as the cookbook I brought back Carambars (traditional French caramel candies), DeliChocs (original and Speculoos), foie gras, a bottle of wine and Kinder Schoko-Bons. During our layover at Gatwick International in London, I got Cadbury Crème Eggs and Egg 'n' Spoon. Before I go, I will leave you with some more (might I say beautiful) pictures from my time in France:
"The Source" in Périgueux
The abbey in Brantôme
A huge tree (I forget what type) in Bourdeilles
Le Grand Etang de La Jemaye 
Mammoth outside of the cave of Rouffignac
Ferris Wheel from the closed fair in Bordeaux 
Skyline of Périgueux
If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! About France, traveling abroad, living with host families or anything else. Thanks for reading, and I will see ou back with my post about Disney and Playlist Live 2014.


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