This weekend was the icing on top of a very busy and eventful week. First, let me start by talking about Friday night. After dinner, I explored the city and took pictures from when the sun was setting until about 10:00 p.m. (22h). Though most of the shops were closed, the city was quite lively. Everywhere there were lights and French people celebrating to be done with another week of work. Most of the cafés and bars (obviously) were open to customers itching for a nighttime snack or espresso shot. (For more pictures, check out the “La Vie en Avignon” album.)
Saturday morning came very early, as I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to shower and get ready to meet the bus, which was leaving for the Alps at 7:00. When we were told to meet the bus, I was picturing a dinky school bus, and honestly, I was dreading driving four hours on windy mountain roads in a school bus. I was anticipating lots of motion sickness. However, thankfully the bus was a tour bus with comfy, reclining seats, and because there are only 20 of us, we each had our own seats. I only got about four hours of sleep the night before, so I was happy to take up an entire seat to nap.
The trip was unexpectedly smooth, and the scenery was phenomenal. My pictures certainly don’t give the landscape justice. About two hours into the trip, we stopped at a seemingly nice rest stop. However, we soon found out that no janitor had been in building for years. I wish I would’ve had my camera inside, because it truly looked like the abandoned museum at the end of Jurassic Park. Alex said he expected an enormous T-Rex to be lurking around the corner. The restrooms were taped off, but apparently people before us broke through the tape. Thankfully, there was running water to flush the toilets and rinse our hands. Let’s just say we all used sanitizer.
When we arrived in Briançon, we had about an hour to explore the shops inside the walled city, where I purchased the best chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) I’ve ever had. It was dark-chocolate flavored, and the thickness resembled fondue. After touring the city a bit, we were able to play in the Alps. We took the sky lift up the mountain, where it started to snow.
After two runs, I went inside and sipped hot chocolate until we left for our hotel. Our hotel was a little less luxurious than I imagined, but at least we received a hot meal, the place was clean, and I had my own bed with fresh sheets. When we walked into the Petit Phoque (Little Seal), we were required to remove our shoes and pick out slippers from three giant bins. There were three rooms for the 20 of us. The girls were split into two rooms, and in my room I had 11 girls. The room looked like an orphan scene from Annie. The walls were all concrete, and there was no heat. Luckily, I had about four layers of clothing and extra blankets piled on top of me.
The next morning (yesterday, Easter Sunday), we woke up to five inches of snow on the ground, which was absolutely gorgeous! Breakfast was served at 8:00 a.m., and we had little Easter chocolates waiting for us at each place setting. I had coffee for the first time since Ash Wednesday. And though it was a little too strong, I drank it anyway. I think over the last few weeks, I lost the acquired taste I had for it, which kind of makes me sad, but I’m sure I’ll pick up back up. After all, I am in Europe, where coffee is 100 times better than American coffee. About an hour after breakfast, we left to return to Avignon.
On the return voyage, we made a slight detour to the Château des Images, a museum in the Alpines. The museum is built into the mountain, or rather stone was cut strategically so that the walls are the mountain. It’s really hard to describe, I apologize. Nonetheless, a picture show, with the theme “Australia,” was projected on each wall.
After arriving in Avignon, Sammi and I desperately tried to find a church to attend Easter service. We searched for an hour, but most of the churches here were turned into museums or offices, which is extremely sad. We decided to listen to Paul Risler’s Easter service podcast from Central in Athens. Hooray for a taste of home! It was rough not being home for Easter and not being with my family, but thank God for the internet. I hope everyone had a joyous Easter!