Written by SU Strasbourg student Charlotte Stone.
Who ever said field trips were overrated?
This past weekend, students from the Strasbourg program ventured on a tri-city cultural excursion to Nancy, Reims, and Champagne. Although the rain put a damper on most of our outdoor explorations, the group made up for it in laughter and study. Mostly mixing the two. Except during the tour of Verdun.
Unfortunately, the trip began with a rocky start due to the unfortunate reality that our beloved bus driver, Pierre, was unable to join us on our school trip. Tears and fists were flying, but we managed to hold it together thanks to the support to our pseudo-tour guide-professors, M. Bach and M. Marxer.We set off for the rain filled horizon with hopes that our adventure would improve. Thankfully, the sun was on our side.
We began our tour in Nancy. Due to its size, we were able to see most of the town on our hour and a half tour. Sprinkled with classical French architecture and gold leafing, the town center echoed the regal and splendor of Versailles. Like kings and queens, the group paraded through the streets while learning the history of Nancy.
We ended the night with a group dinner. Lucky for us, the Strasbourg Center never skimps on group dinners. We were graced with a delicious four course meal lit by what seemed to be candle light, but proved to be the glow of friendship and conversation.
Saturday we set off bright and early for our next destination. Thankfully, no one was late (excluding the one or two whom never fail to oversleep or overstep their shower time on every trip.) Despite the symphony of several sonorous sleepers, most of us were able to grab some shut eye on our two hour bus ride to Verdun.
Winding through the rain drenched battle field, scarred by shells dropped decades earlier, the reality of war and this region’s history woke us without question. After a short film and a tour through one of the destroyed villages, it seemed fitting that the clouds hailed rain and wind.
Later that day, we ventured into a side of France most tourists overlook: hypermarche. Graced with a carb-filled cafeteria and a stocked supermarket, the students struggled to maintain their composure.
The nightlife of Reims proved to be a wonderful setting for students to wind down and find new experiences worthy of Moleskin documentation. The classy main streets bustled with locals and tourists alike searching for a street side table to enjoy the clear skies after a weekend of dreariness.
The following morning continued with a tour of a local Champagne Cave. Our sleepy eyes were once again revitalized by the twists and turns of the underground cave leading us to our champagne tasting destination. Pictures were snapped and giggles were plenty, even as our three day excursion came to an end.
Though traveling options are far and numerous in Europe, take advantage of opportunities with new friends in new cities. Traveling with the center is a great way to solidify life long friendships and share some laughs along the way. Not to mention, it’s always nice to relax and enjoy pre-organized tours instead of Google-searching “Things to do in the city of ‘X’ “ ‘til your fingers fall off.
I would say that studying abroad has its ups and downs, but one of the best parts of this trip has been meeting new people and traveling with these new friends. Even when the weather doesn’t seem to agree, travels are always enjoyable thanks to new found friendships and the jokes we share based on our shared experiences here in Strasbourg.