The first weekend on the program was wonderful! We had a day trip to Marseille and Arles, plus one day to explore Aix.
Friday we went to Marseille where we visited the famous harbor, the Notre Dame de la Garde, and ate traditional navettes. Marseille is the big city near Aix.
Then on Saturday we went to the local market where we shopped for an afternoon picnic at Le Parc Jourdain. The picnic was quite interesting, because smaller groups purchased different things at the market and then distributed them amongst the larger group. After the picnic, we went to the community swimming pool, which was quite an experience. The boys had to wear small European shorts, very different from the baggy American shorts. It was also quite refreshing to bathe in a cold pool after walking in the hot Aix-en-Provence sun. We all needed to relax!
To finish off our weekend, we spent our entire Sunday at Arles, a city that was once a part of the Roman Empire. Its historical background has made it an important touristic city. The program had prepared for us to visit an ongoing photography exhibition in the city, but we were also able to visit an ancient Roman Colosseum and theater.
Everyone on the trip was just baffled by how beautiful all the different landscapes of the cities were. We were tired of walking all day, but we still didn’t want to leave the cities. We just wanted to stay there and try to take it all in. It was like we were scared that if we left without really studying it and appreciating it, we wouldn’t be able to remember it.