After meeting with Kayden in Boston, we said our final goodbyes and began our two month journey together as a group. Our red eye flight left Boston around 7pm and we didn’t land in Marseille until late the next morning. It was such a relief to see Jen and Dave waiting for us by the baggage claim. Although the group was both excited and sleep deprived we had finally arrived and were ready to hit the ground running.
Aix was a quick bus ride from the airport and after a quick introduction to the city followed by lunch, we arrived at our house. I couldn’t believe that this was our home for the next two months. It is truly a beautiful place- from the view of Mount. Ste. Victoire from my bedroom window to the freshness of the air.
After we settled in, everyone decided that they had enough energy to hike La Tete du Marquis, the mountain that overlooks our house and the surrounding area. We reached the top just in time to catch the sunset and it was absolutely gorgeous. By the time we got home, everyone was exhausted and ready to get some much needed sleep.
The next day we packed into our van and enjoyed a picnic with a beautiful view of Mount. Ste. Victoire. The pictures, sketches and paintings we made of this mountain didn’t do it justice.
As we were getting ready to leave, Dave reminded us that we were more than likely never going to return to this place and to really appreciate what we had seen. Each day we go somewhere unique and beautiful, I try to remind myself of these words and remember that I may never find myself here again.
The next couple of days we found ourselves fully immersed in the French culture as we mapped our way around Aix. A majority of our group had previously studied Spanish, so ordering food and shopping around was our first challenge.
Most of the French people are pretty helpful and understanding toward us when it comes to having no experience with the language. Some are even eager to practice their English with us!
Saturday we took a day trip to Arles where we got to purchase our own choice of food for a picnic from the huge street market. Although very overwhelmed, we all managed to bring something unique and delicious to share with the group.
We then proceeded to visit some of the Roman ruins while Dave taught us the history of each place. Even though it was hard to picture what these ruins would have looked like after they were first built, it was amazing to see all that still remains.
We made some quick sketches in our carnets du voyage and shared them with one another. After a long day of exploring Arles, we packed up and went back to the house to catch some rest before we went back into Aix for dinner and a movie. This is art immersion at it's best.
It’s amazing to see the progress everyone has made in both their artistic skills and French skills after only being here a few days. This first week has flown by although it has been an amazing week. We continue to grow closer as a group every day and I can’t wait for all the adventures that remain!