I find a sunlit room with an open window on a Friday afternoon the perfect atmosphere for writing. After having a week full of cold rainy days to welcome in the month of June, it’s nice to see a bit of sun. My students always teased me for loving the sun so much. They knew exactly what I would say each Friday if the weather was nice. “Yes, of course I’m doing well. It’s Friday and the sun is shining!”
Due to the rain this week, I took a bit of time to download camera pics which I had neglected to put on my computer. I realized while looking through them that I’ve forgot to write about some different events which occurred here.
I’ve discovered a great appreciation for hiking during my time in the Loire. St. Etienne is surrounded by huge hills, so I’ve taken advantage of this and hiked some of the trails. While hiking with Dimitri, we went off the trail a bit and discovered the ruins of a house. Judging by what was left of the architecture; Dimitri said it must have been at least a couple hundred years old. We also went hiking just outside of Rochetaillé with some friends and discovered the “Barrage du Goufrre d’Enfer” (Dam of the abyss of Hell). Nice name huh? The dam actually isn’t as intimidating as the name leads you to believe.
I’ve also had some visitors during my time abroad. My friend Vanessa and her sister Kendra paid me a visit a couple of months ago. I met up with them in Annecy, a gorgeous fairy tale looking town about two hours from St. Etienne.
Afterwards, the girls came back with me to St. Etienne and tried out some famous French delicacies; frog legs and snails! The girls then introduced the family I lived with to an American delicacy; Oreos and peanut butter. I don’t indulge in this American treat, but I’m glad Vanessa and Kendra thought about sharing this idea.
Musée de la Mine, or the Mine Museum, was where Dimitri and I spent last Saturday afternoon. St. Etienne used to be a huge mining town, but the mine closed down in the 70’s. Today it is a museum which takes you through a replica of the mine and lets you walk through the work rooms. I personally liked the “salle des pendus” (the hanging room) where the miners literally hanged their clothes and personal affairs from the ceiling. They did this to conserve space and to assure that their clothes dried properly. I also liked the intimidating signs warning the miners to be careful while working.
My time left in France is growing short. I’m now in the “what things did I say I was going to do but haven’t yet?” phase. Most of this list includes eating my fill of French food and trying to savor as much wine as I can! I’m still planning on writing a couple more blogs, so keep checking back!