Montpellier is absolutely incredible! Over the past week I’ve gotten a hang of the city a bit (though I honestly just got very lost before writing this. I took the wrong tram line twice!). I’m starting to feel quite affectionate towards it, but taking trips outside of the city is always refreshing. A couple days ago, after classes, we took an hour long bus ride to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert (which many of us thought was going to be an actual desert but we were very wrong).
Sometimes I forget that I am in the South of France. I’ll wake up, or even just be walking down the street, and have to remind myself where I am. Day to day life here can seem familiar to what I experience back at home, like having breakfast with my host family in the morning or waiting for the Tram to come to take me to school. In Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, however, I would never have forgotten where I was, because I’ve never seen a town like it. The town was like a fairy glen, nestled in a valley, with many little buildings all squished together, cobblestone streets, and green gardens. It smelled like wood fires and the population is less than 300. Imagine a town smaller than CSW!
After wandering around the streets and the church that is situated there, we hiked up one of the mountains that hugs the side of the town. The view was so incredible that it was almost overwhelming. I wish that I was a sponge so I could soak it all up, the view, the emotions, the people who I am so lucky to be traveling with, so that my friends and family at home can experience it as well (I picked a flower from the top of the mountain to show to people if anyone ever wants to see it. It’s a bit smushed!) The sun was behind the mountain that was across from us and created a warm glow. It was so peaceful and refreshing, a time to both appreciate and reflect on the experience we are having.
Sometimes the smallest things can remind me of home. While walking up the mountain I saw some flowers that reminded me of hiking with my family in Maine. When I was playing with a rock on the top I was brought back to fiddling with rocks on the beach at CSW. Being so far away from home can be scary, but these small things make me feel more confident and relaxed.
This trip has been incredible so far, so thank you for reading this!