June 28th

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long!! This well has been very eventful. We had lectures on wine Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, first on white wine, then rose and red. We also go to taste different kinds of each! I definitely have developed a greater appreciation of wine since being here.

I am officially done with French lessons!! I had my test this morning and I think it went fairly well. I’m excited to learn more at my internship though.

Yesterday (Thursday) I went and visited 2 different vineyards, both in Bordeaux. The first one was really nice and there was a castle right by it! The second vineyard was an organic one, and one of the wines we tasted was 50€ a bottle!!! It was a sweet wine, too, so I didn’t care for it.

I’m really excited for my internship! I got my train ticket the other day and I leave Monday around 1 pm. I’m just north of Toulouse, in a small town called Albias. I’m very excited to see what this next month brings!! I’m also nervous about meeting my host family; I hope they like me! This weekend will be pretty uneventful. I’ll just be packing up and getting ready to leave. I can’t believe a month has already gone by! It’s gone so fast! I miss home a lot but this has definitely been a wonderful experience so far. 🙂

Weekend in Paris

This weekend was very, very eventful!!!! Friday night we got to our hotel around 11pm, so we just chilled and didn’t do much. 

Saturday

We woke up at a decent hour, and went right to the Eiffel Tower. I was in awe when I saw it, and we only had to wait in line 30 minutes maybe. At the top, the view was absolutely gorgeous! I’m still blown away by how spectacular everything looked. After the Eiffel Tower, my friend and I went to the Louvre to see what the deal was with tours and such. We found out there was a tour Sunday at 11am and wanted to hit that one. After the Louvre, we walked towards the Notre Dame, and got a sandwich on the way. The line to get in was decently long, and we had to meet people at 2 at the Eiffel Tower, so we hiked it across Paris only to not be able to find the people we were supposed to meet up with. After that we went to the Arc de Triomphe which was cool to see since it’s so famous, but there wasn’t really much to do dealing with it. We then hit a few stores for shopping (yay!) and then it was off to the Notre Dame. The Notre Dame was very impressive and was gorgeous inside! After that we went back to the hotel and then dinner. I had steak and fries, and a glass of wine. My appreciation of wine has definitely increased every since I started the viticulture portion of this program! Saturday night my friend and I went to a club, which was definitely an interesting experience. The music was all techno underground stuff (really really weird), but it was still fun! 🙂 I only got 2 hours of sleep though, since the metro didn’t start back up until 5:30am!

Sunday

Sunday (today) was also busy!!! After getting little sleep, we hit the Louvre to see some famous art. We decided to do a 1 1/2 hour guided tour which hit the high points and most famous pieces within the museum. I’m really glad we decided to do that, since the museum is huge and we had limited time. Of course it was really crowded near the Mona Lisa, but I can see how one could easily spend the whole day there. I would’ve really liked to sit on the chairs they have in the middle of the rooms with paintings and just analyze each one and try to figure out what story is being told. We made it to the airport and made it back safely too! This weekend was great, and I’m so glad I decided to go to Paris! 

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Friday, June 21st

Friday was a really good day! We got to go to a gastronomy workshop and make our own lunch! The chef helped us prepare bruschetta and salad for an entree, a mixture of duck, potatoes, peppers, salt, and garlic, all wrapped in filo pastry and baked for the plat, and apricots, ice cream and a wafer for dessert. It was by far one of the best meals I’ve had! We also go to try different wines with the different courses, and champagne with dessert. 🙂 After our meal, we got to go tour the vineyard where the wine we tasted was from. We also were luck enough to taste 3 more wines!! This trip has definitely given me a better appreciation of wine, too. 

Friday night I was off to Paris, and had a great weekend!

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The week of June 17th

This week so far has been really fun! Tuesday we found out our internship positions, and I’m excited to say I will be interning on the vineyard Domaine de Montels. If you want to go online and look at their website, it looks very nice! Just google the name of the place. 🙂 I know my family has 2 daughters, 10 and 12, so that’s very exciting as well! They also make red, white, and rose wines. I’m really looking forward to being in a family atmosphere and learning the ins and outs of how a vineyard is run!

Wednesday morning we had French lessons and in the afternoon we got to go visit the Purpan experimental farm. It’s a dairy farm, and we got to see many cows (so cute!) and learn about the production of the farm. We also got to see a cow get milked! The machine that’s used was very interesting. One thing I thought was cool was that the cows get milked at their will. They go up to the machine when they feel like they need to be milked; a farmer doesn’t need to go around and gather the cows for milking. 

Today was a very exciting day. We took a bus to visit 2 vineyards in south west France. The first was called Abbaye de Fontfroide, and the property was very large; it was originally where monks lived up until the 1900’s. We also got to see the wine cellars where the grapes are fermented. The second vineyard was called L’Hospitalet. It was very classy, and well maintained. Our tour guide was very nice and answered a lot of our questions! I started feeling like my parents because I was asking a lot, and I especially started feeling like my father when I asked about the maintenance and everything… I made him do math. Whoops! We also got to see the wine cellars here which were very extensive!! Also, we got to see the barrels where they put the wine for a certain amount of time. The red wine goes in the barrels for 1-3 years (maybe more), and the white and rose only goes in for approximately 6 months. They only use French oak wood too. 

At both vineyards we got to do a wine tasting as well! The first vineyard we tasted 3 different wines (white, rose, red) all which were fairly decent. The second vineyard we were fortunate enough to taste 4. The rose wine we tasted was very special; while the grapes were going in 2010, there was a fire all around the vineyard (luckily it didn’t ruin theirs) but the grapes took in some of the smoke so the wine had a slight smoky smell. We tasted 2 red wines and I thought they were fantastic! They would’ve been great with a nice steak too! The second one we tasted was probably my favorite; it had a little smoky taste but that wasn’t overwhelming at all. 

Tomorrow I am going to a French Gastronomy workshop, which means we get to learn how some French food is made!!! I’m very excited for that! And then it’s off to Paris tomorrow night for the weekend. Busy busy busy!! But I’m having fun. 🙂

 

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Barcelona/ Monday June 17th

This weekend was really busy!!! We left Toulouse at 2:30 on Friday, but the bus didn’t have air conditioning so we had to go and try to get that fixed. It took them an hour to conclude they couldn’t fix it at that moment so then we had to change buses. Finally around 4 we got out of Toulouse. Halfway between Toulouse and Barcelona is this duty free place where apparently there is no tax on items….It was extremely sketchy though. It was kind of deserted and it reminded me of the shops in Mexico. Once we got out of there it was about 2 more hours to Barcelona.

Once we arrived in Barcelona, we got our hotel rooms (mine was really nice, shared with 3 others), and then we tried to find a place to eat. We ended up going downtown and ate at this cute little restaurant. I didn’t realize how big Barcelona was until we almost got lost…. my map helped me out a lot this weekend, along with my limited knowledge of Spanish. 

Saturday we woke up at a decent hour and went shopping downtown. There were tons of stores; it would’ve taken at least a week to hit all of them!!! After shopping and a quick lunch at a sandwich shop, we hit the beach!!! The weather was gorgeous and I got a nice little tan. The water was a little chilly, but it’s cool to say I swam in the Mediterranean. Saturday night was a bit of an adventure but it was still fun. 🙂 I’ve gotten good at using public transportation!

Sunday we went down to another shopping mall and just looked around for a little. We left around 2:30 (again), but there was so much traffic we didn’t get back until around 11! Today (Monday) was a long day, but I’ve officially started the viticulture portion of the program! I had my first official wine tasting this morning, which was very exciting. 🙂 Tonight I’m just chilling because this week is going to be busy (visits to vineyards!) and I’m headed to Paris this weekend. 🙂

Thursday, June 13th

Today was pretty uneventful for the most part. We had French lessons this morning, and then this afternoon we all went to Toulouse and were given an assignment that we had to complete throughout the city. There was a lot to do in little time so it was kind of stressful. I did ask someone (in French) if they were born in Toulouse though!! And I have gotten really good at asking people if they speak English. 🙂

Tomorrow I am really excited because we get to leave for Barcelona at 2:30!!!! This weekend should be really fun! I just hope this cold goes away! It was difficult trying to get medicine at the pharmacy since I didn’t recognize any of the brands and everything was in French. But I made it work. 

Tomorrow we also have an “evaluation” aka test/quiz thing on what we’ve learned this week so that should be interesting… No one will be able to focus though since we leave for Barcelona right after! I won’t be posting for a few days, but when I get back I will try to post pictures and let you know how my weekend goes!! 🙂

Wednesday, June 12th

Today was a decent day. We had 2 lectures both about chickens, which were kind of boring… It was hard to understand the professor and he spoke very quietly, so therefore it was difficult to pay attention. But tonight was extremely fun!!! There’s this 5 day festival going on in downtown Toulouse. It’s called Rio Loeo and it’s all about the Caribbean. Tonight we had to wait in line for over an hour to get tickets, but it was definitely worth it!! The tickets were only 5 euros too! After we got in (finally) we decided to try some Caribbean food. We had sausage, beans, rice, pork, and some spicy salsa; it was all delicious! We also got beer and got these cool souvenir cups as well! Around 10 pm Jimmy Cliff came onstage and performed for about an hour and a half. The music was really good and he put on a great performance! I actually knew about 2 songs too so that was good 🙂 There were tons and tons of people there, but it was a really fun night!Image