So much time and so little fun…

I mean…so much fun and so little time. For my homework. No, I do my homework. But I am super busy, so my apologies for lack of blogging…I don’t have much interesting to say anyways.

This past weekend we had an excursion to a region west of Aix known as le Camargue. It’s a region known for its rice and salt and is located basically on a delta/ the mediterranean.

Here’s a map (because I had to look at it to figure out where I was)  :

There’s Aix on the right. And Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer towards the left is where we ended up. We first visited that large bulge of water to the north of Saintes-Maries to look at some salt and horses. (My apologies for the terrible construction of that sentence, it’s getting harder and harder to write in english when my thoughts are in french and I have to translate in my head…I’m trying I promise)

Any who, our first stop was to look at the salt.

Not very pretty I realize, but pretty impressive!

This is prettier- and where they harvest the salt! Apparently some of it is red, I didn’t quite catch how or why or who, but something about iron I would assume…

After looking at the salt and the salt trucks we drove to the regional natural park of the Camargue which has a little tourist village with lots and lots of horses and bulls. There was a little tourist train to take you around the park, but we missed it by three minutes…clearly Camargue doesn’t follow the “15 minutes is still on time” ways of Provence..but no big deal we got to walk on the trail and look at the rice fields and cows.

The symbol of Camargue- a combination of the tool used to prod the animals along, and a heart added to make it prettier (but actually)

Horses!

Cows!

Not too shabby

My favorite part of the day was Saintes-Maries, because obviously, LA MER. And the water in this part of the Mediterranean is much warmer than at Cassis. I pretty much just stood in the waves the whole time we were there…may or may not have gotten my shorts wet…but why else would you go to the beach? Saintes-Maries is a cute little tourist town that looked to me more Spanish than French. Which was confirmed by one of my friends who is Spanish and has a Spanish passport. There is evidence of the farming and “cowboy” culture throughout the town and lots of rice and salt for sale. There is also a beautiful 12th century cathedral that you can actually go up on to the roof and look at an amazing view.

Little harbor!

LA MER

only a little happiness…

The roof of the cathedral, and the beautiful bells

the view from the cathedral

We also got really good gelato, but I ate it before I could take a picture.

Sunday was another big day of adventure. The host parents of one of my friends (her host mom is also my advisor for my community service) invited me and another one of our friends to go to Cassis and hike the Calanques. Don’t ask me what a Calanque is. I have pictures, but I’m still not quite sure. But they are very pretty, and make for a very nice hike. It was a lot fun and interesting to see how the french hike. There are paths that are “blocked off” because they are too dangerous, but I wasn’t told that until my friends host dad/ our hike leader had already led us halfway down the path…it really wasn’t that dangerous, more amusing how blatantly he and several other french people disobeyed. There are three Calanques and when we reached the third we stopped for a nice picnic overlooking some people climbing the cliff opposite of us. And we saw the french version of search and rescue- and don’t worry mom, it wasn’t for us because we had wandered onto the illegal paths…and we only thought we were maybe lost once…long story short, my friends host dad likes to joke around, a lot, so he pretended when we got to a fork in the path that he didn’t know which one to take, and maybe we would need to stay the night, ration supplies, etc etc. Glad to meet some french people who can joke around so much.

Calanque #1. Lots of very nice boats. I mean, yachts.

Also Calanque #1

Calanque #2, popular spot for swimming

Calanque #3

Search and Rescue! BIG helicopter

Danger Forbidden
(But not really)

The ladies of our hike!

After we finished hiking the Calanques we drove up to around the bay of Cassis and up to a lookout point. I don’t think I can say it enough, it was BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, I could probably live in Cassis. It was breathtaking.

I mean really, nothing more can be said for that

Me and my new home

It’s already friday evening (no idea what happened to the week), and believe it or not, I’m doing grammar homework. I’ll be meeting up with some friends later for dinner and maybe a movie, but I don’t want to stay out late because hopefully, if all goes well, we will be climbing a mountain tomorrow. St. Victoire is one of the symbols of Provence and Aix and I am very excited for the hike. I will try to write more frequently, but no promises. I do promise to drink lots of coffee and eat a few chocolate eclairs though! Vous pensez que je blague, mais je suis seriouse. 🙂

A tout a l’heure!

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