News & Blog

Out of the Blue
by Student, Riley H.

It can be hard to recall just how much has happened so far on this trip. New, wonderful memories quickly fill up my head every day, which is great and overwhelming at the same time. Frankly, you are so excited for today that it can be hard to remember what you had for lunch yesterday. That’s the benefit of keeping a journal or writing a blog though, you can always look back on what you did and why it was so magnificent. Saturday – we had a great opportunity to sleep in and have free time.

This was wonderful because I got to go out and explore with my friends. I got to carry on great conversations and make discoveries deeper into the heart of Aix. I ended up finding a little thrift store that was absolutely adorable. I made some wonderful purchases that day and I’m very glad. The ambiance of the store was also great. They played a lot of great music and the checkered floors made me happy. I know that one of my friends back home would enjoy it, she is really into thrift stores and always has great style.

It’s so nice when a place can remind you of a certain person, it makes it more sentimental I think. After that, we got to go to the library. Now, okay, it’s understandable that a library has the potential to be boring, but the architecture of this building is spectacular. With enormous statues of books outside and a machinery-based structure inside, it was a wonderful place to pass the time.

I even opened up some psychology and anatomy books that were very interesting and easier to understand that I had anticipated. At dinner, I had a wonderful salad with a surprise – anchovies. The biggest surprise though was that I actually don’t mind anchovies that much and I’m proud that I mustered up the confidence to try them. Finally that night, there was a music concert that was the perfect end to the night. It was great to get up and dance with my friends and enjoy the music with the crowd. Riley H. Palais de Papes Sunday – one of my favorite excursions of the entire trip took place on this day. We went to Avignon, to see the Palais des Papes and I was absolutely awestruck. As you navigate your way, out of the blue an enormous structure emerges. A castle that has housed many popes, it was breathtaking and wonderful to have the privilege to experience it. I wouldn’t say that I’m a religious person but it’s impossible to not be fascinated with the stained glass and rose gardens.

I studied Gothic architecture this past year in school, but I never thought I would witness such a grand example of it. We also stopped by Pont du Gard, an ancient aqueduct, it was raining, but with yet another architectural feat nothing could put a damper on going out and taking as many photographs as possible. That night, as it was still pouring, my new friends and I decided to order in some food and spend the evening watching scary movies. It was a great day. Riley H. Pont du Gard Monday – a day that usually is nobody’s favorite doesn’t seem to have the same effect when you spend it in the south of France. A very calm day after the excursion, we went to a park to relax and I did some drawing and reading. When we returned to town, we all went out for gelato together. I strongly recommend Speculoos Gelato. If you’ve ever had the little lotus cookies on an airplane or with your coffee or hot chocolate, then you would most likely love the biscuits in an ice cream. I know that I do. Tuesday.

Paul Cézanne, an incredibly gifted painter, is renowned for spending his time in Aix to paint. Today, we got to see his atelier and it was very inspirational. To see actual pots that he used to paint, windows he looked out of to see the beaming sun. It felt very surreal to be standing where he once stood. My sister is a very good painter, even if she wouldn’t like to admit it, she is incredible. I’d like to be very good and seeing the celebrated artwork of Cézanne makes me hope to pursue it soon.

After spending some more time at his atelier, we made the walk down from the small mountain back to the center of town for some lunch. I branched off with a friend and we got some lunch then sat down for a great conversation. That’s something I’ve said and will repeat again, how wonderful it is to have an opportunity to learn about others and their lives. It’s incredibly interesting and rewarding and I’m so thankful to share memories and moments with these people. Riley H. bowling Last evening was a very good one, as we had a wonderful dinner of salads that you could build yourself and all the avocado that I could eat. After, I was ecstatic as we finished the night with bowling. I was the very first to bowl and I got a strike! Without the bumpers up! I was so excited. The energy was tangible and everyone was laughing and having a good time. Lastly, I tried my luck at a claw machine, you know, those things never work in your favor. Except with one try, I ended up with two new stuffed animals. It must have been my lucky night.

Learn more about Abbey Road programs in France.