Monday, October 3, 2011

the day i fell in love with vieux lille

i can't decide if i'm used to the daily struggle of living in the high school or if things really are getting easier. i do know that my french is getting much better. all of the assistants living at the high school have arrived. there are 4 americans now, 2 argentinians, and 2 germans. one of the german girls just arrived tonight so i'm not sure if she speaks english or not, but sabine (the one who arrived on friday) doesn't speak any english, so we all try to speak french when we're together.

yesterday we decided to take a day trip to lille. one of the teachers at gustave eiffel (the high school) invited joe to spend the day there with him and he would give him a tour and show him around, and he extended the invitation to us all which was so kind. we took the train from armentières to lille a bit before 11:45 and got to lille-flandres just before noon.

we ate lunch..i don't really know if i would call it that though. a few of us ordered the same thing--le welsh--it sounded so appealing. here's what i pictured in my head: bread topped with ham and a piece of cheese nicely melted/browned on top. what i got: stale bread topped with gross ham swimming in thick cheese soup. the first few bites were manageable. then it turned heavy and kind of gross. maybe it'd be a good dish to have in the dead of winter. we'll see..i don't know if i'll be able to bring myself to eat it again. it was also served with a side of fries. so healthy. they love fries in the north. it's so strange, they're not even that good. usually when a place is famous for something, or everyone always eats something it's the most amazing version of whatever that thing is. i have had better fries before. many many times.

after we finished lunch, we started walking around. i could have walked for days. it was so absolutely beautiful. we went to the town center then walked to an area of the city called 'vieux lille' (old lille). all of  the streets are cobblestone, all of the architecture is heavily dutch influenced. there are flower boxes from almost every window, cafes on almost every street, chocolatiers and pattisiers everywhere. it's so charming. it also helps that the weather was utterly perfect. not a cloud in the sky and 75 degrees.

we went to the zoo (which is free) and saw tons of birds, rhino's, snakes, the cutest little monkeys that did tricks when they saw it got a reaction from the people watching, zebras, and the sweetest looking red panda sleeping in a tree. we walked all over the place. we mapped it out later and walked 7.5 miles. we had dinner at a chinese place and then went to see our first french film. l'apollonide: souvenire d'une maison close.

it was the perfect day. lille is such a wonderful place and i am so thankful to be living somewhere so great.

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