Hey. It’s been an awkwardly quiet time on the blog. I know, even right now I still don’t have an excuse. But I apologize and I’ll improve by trying to write at least one newbie series every month.
As you can imagine I’ve now settled into Athens, Greece after about 4-5months so all new things have now become old (pun intended..lol)
To the post of the day. I went to Franceeeee!!!!
Why France? I signed up for a week-long program at Burgundy School of Business (BSB) in Dijon, France. I thought it was a great opportunity to visit another part of Europe, you bet it was.
The adventure begins!
Day 1 (We move)
I set off on Saturday morning from Athens to France. There was no direct flight to Dijon from Athens. So first I touched down at Paris (actually first Rome, had a transit flight for an hour, I barely saw anything save for the airport staff, so I do need to visit Rome for real..yes!!). Landed at about 6pm Paris time (1hour difference from Athens) and took a 2-hour long train by 8pm from Paris to Dijon.
Train ride: I must say this was super comfy since I had prebooked on the SNCF website. At first though, I was worried about missing my stop as I was not exactly sure of the station (I thought it was a direct train to Dijon but there were several stops) and all the announcements were in French (This was the part where I wish I listened more in my French High School class. In my mind, I’m like hope I won’t get lost or get off at the wrong stop). Thankfully, there was a lady sitting in front of me who I showed my stop (via Google Translate), additionally the train wifi had a distance tracker so I could tell how far we had gone and how much time was left to get to Dijon, I only found this out after I had given myself some false panic attack.
I had the best AirBnB deal, my hosts were already waiting for me at the train station so it was an easy peasy ride home from there. I was so knackered from the long flight/train ride and carrying my heavy laptop bag (I really do need to learn to travel lightly)
Day 2 (Welcome, Dijon)
Next day was a Sunday and the weather was super rainy so I slept and slept and slept some more. And then hunger struck, I wasn’t quite prepared for this. I was now home alone and didn’t exactly have anything to cook. Rummaged the fridge and nibbled on a few leftovers from the night before (crepes, croissant, and what have you)
Day 3 (1st School day)
Almost missed the bus. In fact got on the wrong bus, was heading back to the same direction I came from. Hahaha…And then I noticed the signs on an oncoming bus and hurriedly got down from the wrong bus and got on the right bus. (covers face).
The lectures were quite enlightening, I took a good tour of the school and made loads of new friends including Africans who were surprisingly shocked that I could speak English well and not a word of French..oh well, I was equally shocked they could speak French so fluently and yet struggle with speaking English. I need to know Africa more…maybe plan an African tour🤔🤷🏼♀️
Day 4 – 5 (Settling in)
Foooddd!!! Finally found a Carrefour supermarket, got a few groceries and got back home in time to cook meatless pasta.Don’t blame me, I wasn’t sure what was what and I thought 1week was too short to invest in too much meat, so I supplemented with eggs.
I got off pretty early on Wednesday and even though I had all these deadlines pulling me back and forth I really wanted to do something more
with my life. My AirBnB hostess offered me her bike, so I took a good ride around the neighborhood, got lost a few times and finally made it back home unhurt ( I had not ridden a bike in forever so I struggled a bit at the start)
Day 6 (Short trip to Beaune)
I went to Beaune, well spelled in French as Bourgogne💃🏾. This one was a super experience for me ‘cos I hadn’t done anything for myself, you should have seen my face in the mirror when I finally got on the train. I honestly almost canceled the trip because I had all sort of deadlines (both at school in Burgundy and school in Greece, honestly at some point I started regretting why I had signed up for the Exchange program). So I gave myself a deadline and just decided to structure my work better instead of getting worked up with analysis-paralysis. I finished up a draft of one of my papers and set out for Beaune. Gosh, what a beauty!!! These pictures don’t do justice honestly but I was really glad I consciously went out of my way to have fun by myself.
Beaune was only 20 minutes from Dijon so I got in at about 5:30pm, walked a lot around the city (It’s a really small one) and just took in the sight. I got hungry eventually and so took myself to eat at Le Carnot. Got back to Dijon at about 8:30pm and again my lovely hostess got me at the train station to home sweet home.
Day 7 (Last Day in Dijon)
Boy was I knackered from the long week. Got into BSB pretty early and tried to download all the necessary materials needed before getting off the campus..and got my certificate, yay!!! I took a final mini-tour of town before going home to crunch up books. Got back home early and got to finish my paper in time. In fact, I think getting out of my day-to-day also helped me get ideas to finish my paper.
Day 8 (Enroute Paris)
Early day out. I’m glad I got up in time (I mean like 5:30a.m) Trust me I had snoozed alarms for the best part of the week, I was not sure I would get up in time. I guess the financial weight of missing my train had a toll on my undisciplined self and did a reset. Made it in time for my train at 7ish, and I set off from CDG to Gare Du Nord, Paris!!!
First settled into the hotel. And then my friend, Oge and I set out for a quick walk. Lafayette mall.. the grandeur of this architecture. After lots of window shopping and actual shopping (Oge bought one item..lol) we got exhausted and went back home before we set out for a night out (after a shitload of pizza)
Day 9 (Paris tour!!!)
Oh wait, before the tour, we went out for brunch at Chez Vouz. Arguably one of the best brunches I’ve had all for €24. I got so stuffed up, yet I couldn’t help myself from over-eating these soft amazing bread varieties (I’m a bread lover). What a day!!
Day 10 (Back to the Grind)
We outta here! My outbound flight was for 12 noon, and I had a test at school the next day, so I got some books in before getting ready for the airport. And chop, chop, chop. Landed in Athens before 5 (now that 1-hour time difference made it feel like time had flown a long way). Couldn’t wait to get home to my bed and just shower and sleep.
My 10-day visit to France eventually had me touring 3 cities: Paris, Dijon, and Beaune. Transportation was pretty organized, once I knew my stop it was easy to get around. My elementary French somewhat came to life (all I could say was merci, oui, non, bonjour, bonsoir…haha), and now I know Je me souviens.
Most of all, I loved that my mini-getaway helped me refresh and see beauty in the tiniest things. And that’s how I fell in love with France (don’t tell me you were thinking something else).
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