Hello there. Yes, I’m still alive and living in France. Nothing terrible happened to me. I just haven’t gotten around to blogging for a couple months. Whoops.
Well, as you can imagine, a lot has happened in 3 months, so what better way to share it than 58 pictures?
During a 3 day weekend at the end of March, I went on a trip to the region of Alsace (in the north east) with the group of American students from Oregon universities and our program directors. First, we visited an outdoor ecomuseum and had a guided tour to learn about the history of Alsatian houses made of wooden frames and a filling consisting of straw and clay. The museum has houses that have been disassembled from different places all over the region and reconstructed there in order to preserve the building styles.
A lot of the houses were similar to this one with beige walls and bright colored shutters and doors.
This was our tour guide for the afternoon. He knew Alsatian history quite well.
Another place we visited in Alsace was the Haut-KÅnigsbourg castle. We had a guided tour with a really energetic guide, which was quite fun. She talked about how the castle had been destroyed and rebuilt through the centuries and how it had changed hands between the French and the Germans about 12 times.
This is a view from the path going up to the castle. It’s situated on top of a large hill which overlooks the valley around it, which is dotted with little villages.
This is a model of the castle that you see when walking up to the entrance.
This fancy staircase entrance indicates that it leads to the castle lord’s room.
Murals on the walls tell the story of the castle’s owners.
This was the trophy room.
This was in the weapon room. I can’t remember what century the weapons are from.
This is a large, ceramic heater for the room.
Here’s an array of medieval weapons. One of them was named “Bonjour”.
It was too foggy to see into the valley, but the guide told us that on a clear day, it’s possible to see all the small villages surrounding the hill. Being up high on a hill was symbolic of the castle lord’s power and reign over the region.
Here’s a cannon from 1526!
That must pack quite a punch.
We had lunch at a classic Alsatian restaurant, and they served us a seafood and sauerkraut special. It was so much food, but it was tasty.
Here’s a shot of a little touristy town we stopped in.
Again, in this town, you can see the same type of architecture with the wooden frames and X’s.
Hi! It was chilly so most people were still wearing winter gear even though it was March.
This is a nunnery we stayed at called Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey. We slept and ate here in between adventures. It was originally founded in 690 and restored several times through history. It was rebuilt in 1661 after a fire. Inside, there is a modern hotel and restaurant, but there are still many remnants of its history.
Proof I was there.
This hollow tree was pretty cool, so I had to get a picture inside it.
This is a mural inside the nunnery.
Here’s the monastery courtyard.
Another angle in the courtyard.
Yet another angle facing the chapel entrance.
Another place we visited in Alsace was the city of Colmar. It’s one of the largest cities in Alsace and has some very well preserved areas of old buildings.
This is one of the very fancy buildings in Colmar. I can’t remember the history behind it.
Here you can see more of that Alsatian architecture style.
This cathedral was amazing. I think it dates back to the 1100s. I loved the coloring on the stone blocks from age.
Here’s a look at the arch above the entrance to the cathedral.
Here’s a line of houses and boutiques near the river.
The road is made up of small cobblestones.
More houses. They appeared in all sorts of colors.
Here’s me with a statue.
We had free time, so I decided to find a museum. I went to the local art museum with some friends. This huge exhibit was by a painter that illustrated the entire story of Jesus’s crucifixion.
I don’t remember what this was supposed to be, but the sculpting was impressively detailed.
A large painting in the museum.
I went to a board game day put on by a board game association. It was located just outside of Lyon. I went with my host dad, and we played a couple games. One of them was Arctic Scavengers, which was pretty fun. It’s made by the same people that made Dominion.
Here’s a look at the room. I think there were about 20 or so people that came to play games.
Here’s the pile of games people brought.
Here are more games. I played Archipelago, Puerto Rico and Myrmes. Puerto Rico was actually in German, and we had a sheet of French translations. That was tricky to learn.
Puerto Rico in German.
Playing Puerto Rico.
The health warning on cigarettes is pretty blatant. “Fumer tue” means “Smoking kills.”
Duck and carrots for dinner at home. It was delicious.
That’s a gigantic 5 kg chunk of cheese at the supermarket.
It was finally sunny one day! It was apparently one of the coldest and wettest springs in many years.
My host mom made homemade frites (fries) one night!
My host mom went to the outdoor market to buy some fresh cheese. I love the cheeses here.
Mussels! I’ve learned to love them while I’ve been here.
This is our group of American students that went on the Alsace trip.
I’ve officially finished all my classes except my “French as a foreign language” class. I’ve got a couple weeks to hang out, and then my parents and some friends show up to travel France with me. Feel free to shoot me questions here in the comments or on Facebook! Thanks for following my adventures.