26/01/2013: Trip out to Alter-Ego in Nîmes (Part 1)

Alter-Ego Nîmes:

Saturday 26th January 2013

It was finally time for the Alter-Ego trip to Nîmes that the head of the International Relations department at Lyon 2 had organised. For foreign students like me, it was a good chance to see more of France and I was really excited for this trip. Despite the fact that I hadn't been to Lyon for over a month because of the Christmas holidays, and the fact that I hadn't done much since I had been back, I felt that I needed a little break from the city.

I was expecting my second term here to be easier than the first because I already knew what to expect from the different classes and where I had to go for the different lectures because I had been doing it for a whole term before. However, it turned out being the opposite. The first few weeks were hell. I have already mentioned that my camera wasn't working thanks to an empty bottle of water in my bag so I had to buy another. I bought the first replacement from Ebay from a company in Hong Kong, but I cancelled the order because the company didn't seem very reliable so I eventually bought from from the shopping centre at Part Dieu in time for the trip to Nîmes the following day. This wasn't the case. It was really bad weather so it was a few days before I could go to the park and take some good photos. I did that on the Monday, and after having walked around the park, I went back home to put the photos on Facebook. However a message came up on my laptop that said I needed to format the memory card. It was impossible to access the photos that I had taken. I spent the afternoon trying to download different programmes that would help me to access the photos. After having downloaded 10 different programmes, I was able to download about a dozen of my photos, but it was impossible to save them without having to pay. So I went to the park the Tuesday as well, but I still felt as if I had wasted a whole day.

Another problem was that my sink was blocked. But it was fixed after a few days when I bought some expensive product from Monoprix which I left down the plug over night. The internet has been terrible here and it has been almost impossible to add photos to my blog, write a new article or watch videos on Youtube. It is really frustrating because I like to include photos on my blog and without them, they aren't as interesting or as professional.

Of course there were more problems during my few weeks of hell, like the problems I had sorting out my timetable this term. I sent numerous emails to different professors but I didn't get a single response. Some classrooms weren't marked on the campus maps either and I wasted 4 hours in a class that was ultimately too difficult for me. Going back to the residency was also horrible. The T2 tram was full of people making it difficult to breathe. Worst of all, the tram changed schedules to a T4 tram so everyone had to get off and wait for another. The next tram that arrived was full of people and it was even more difficult to breathe. I was also sat next to a girl and all I could smell was the stench of old cigarettes. It was not a pleasant experience, but I know that there are worse things that can happen in Lyon.

I wanted to change trams in Perrache so I could go to Confluence where I wanted to buy some things for the following day, such as some food and some gloves too because the ones that I had bought from H&M during the lights festival weren't very good. I had to wait on the platform for 20 minutes with other people waiting because there were some problems with the trams and there was a lot of traffic in Perrache. It was really cold and everyone was becoming really impatient.

I bought lots of things from Carrefour and eventually, after a very long day, I arrived home. I started to get my stuff ready for our trip to Nîmes the next day because I had to wake up really early the next morning. As always, the internet was really slow, it was impossible to talk to my boyfriend and I felt really alone. It was also impossible to watch more than two seconds of a streamed video. I was fed up and I had started to hate my life in Lyon all alone. I needed to get out of the city and spend a full day without anything going wrong. After having a shower and making a sandwich for the next day, I went to bed hoping that the trip would cheer me up.

I woke up at 5am to make sure I had enough time to get ready and meet at Jean Macé at 7. 30. I wasn't sure what I was going to wear and I didn't want to be in a rush. My alarm rang playing the dulcet tones of Laura Marling, I thought that the song Slow Club the night before was too harsh to listen to for an early morning. I decided to have 10 minutes longer in bed, but to make sure that I didn't fall back to sleep, I put my lamp on and switched on the radiator. Luckily, I didn't fall back to sleep because I forgot to reactivate my alarm. I thought that these ten minutes were really long but when I looked at the time, I jumped out of bed and started to get ready.

I got dressed and put my make-up on and I packed my camera, my cheese sandwich and a bottle of water that I had closed. Then, I grabbed my bag and left for the bus stop. It was 6. 45am and I hoped that there would be a bus before 7am so then I could get the T2 tram to Jean Macé. But then when I saw the times I was shocked. 20 minutes for a bus? There was a large chance that I was going to miss the bus to Nîmes if I stayed and waited for the bus so I found two girls that I had seen at the International relations office, and together, we walked to Saint Juste so we could take the cable car to Old Lyon, then a metro to Saxe Gambette where we could change to line B and get to Jean Macé.


The girls were really nice and friendly and we chatted a lot. London was a good subject. We found our other friends once we got to Jean Macé. I knew a lot of students going on this trip so I wasn't nervous about going. I spent the day with a girl called Anna and her funky friend, Clarissa, a German girl who was wearing a hat of a banana that she had made herself.


A few minutes after I arrived I said hello to everyone I knew, we were on the coach and we had started to leave Lyon. It was still dark and the streets were empty. I was happy that we didn't have to wait a long time for the coach unlike last time because my feet were freezing and my fingers too. I was glad to be comfortable inside the warm coach.


I was sat with Anna, an Irish girl that I knew from my Languages and Cultures of the World class from last term. It is easy to talk to her and it is a shame that we don't have classes together anymore. We talked about a lot of things in the coach as we passed the Stade le Gerland and the industrial neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lyon. It wasn't long before all I could see was the French countryside which was icy. Eventually, the sun came up. There were lots of farms, vineyards, orchards and big hills. It was really beautiful. After an hour, we realised that the rest of the coach were sleeping and it was silent. I thought that I wasn't tired and I boasted to Anna that I wasn't sleepy. But I'm sure that a few minutes later I fell asleep because when I woke up, we had arrived at Pont du Gard.


I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect once we got to Point du Gard except for a bridge, because I had no time to do any research on the internet. I wasn't sure why this bridge was so special so I was very surprised. You couldn't see the bridge from where we had parked. It was only once we received the information booklets that I learnt that it was an old Roman bridge and an aquaduct across the Gardon. We had an hour and a half to explore this area and visit the museum that was next to this UNESCO site.

It was sunny, but it was also cold. There wasn't any clouds in the sky and we went to look closer at the aqueduct and bridge with Clarissa, which was built at the beginning of the century. I wasn't completely sure which part of the its structure had been restored and which was part was original. However I was sure that I saw Roman graffiti inscribed onto it.


The fact that the aqueduct was built here almost two thousand years later is amazing. The views from the bridge of the beautiful scenery were also spectacular. The views of the river and the hills lit up in the sun. I would like to see these views in the summer, fields filled with flowers across the South of France. After seeing the postcards of the lavender fields in the shop there, I fell in love with the scenery here, and I knew straight away that I had to come back here later on in the summer to see the area and all of its colours. Although I was cold, an hour and a half wasn't long enough to see everything. I would like to spend more time there in the future. The air here was cooler and more refreshing than Lyon, and it was difficult to leave the Pont du Gard because of all of its surrounding beauty. We didn't even have a spare minute to see the museum because we had to go back so that we could continue our trip and make our way to Nîmes.


Like most of my week, today was about the Roman history. We often study aspects of Roman history as part of my degree. Some of my modules include Medieval Art, languages and cultures of the world and the history of the French language and poetry. It is now possible to see how Roman's have influenced the world and that fact that some Roman artefacts and traditions still influence the world today, two thousand years later... it's incredible.

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