Well, yesterday our group had its second of four pre-trip meetings...although I don't know if you could call what we did a meeting! The group met out at Lake Wauberg, a UF outdoor recreation facility that has a ropes course and staff that leads team-building activities. Despite the sprinkles (we scared the rain off until later in the day), we had an outstanding time! It was really a great chance to get to meet many of the other students and get (and give) a little razzing to the fun faculty and staff members also going on the trip.
Afterwards, I came back to the office (I practically live at my desk, both during the week and on the weekends - what can I say? I'm a doctoral student!) and did a little research about the cities we're going to in France. I've been to Paris before, but not for a long time, so I'm excited to get the chance to see and do some things there as an adult - things always look different through your childhood eyes compared to your adult eyes. But I've not been to Lyon and Bordeaux, so I sought out some information about each city.
I'm a big fan of Catholic cathedrals, having visited a great many of them as a kid when on trips with my parents, so I'm looking forward to seeing the Saint Jean Cathedral in Lyon. Also in Lyon is Euronews, a European news organization known for its different style of news - they don't use news anchors! Instead, they voice over the images in eight different languages. They're considered the leading news organization in Europe and have a higher number number of viewers than CNN International. Check out their website!
In Bordeaux I'm excited to see the Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux (told you I'm into cathedrals) where Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII. The city is actually referred to as the "City of Art and History" - a great place for a closet art history lover like myself. There are numerous museums, so I think I'll have to have a plan of action for seeing as many as possible while still making sure to do all of my classwork and studying!
Closer to my area of study, I'm interested in the agricultural products of the region. With a world-wide reputation for some of the best wine and cheese, I know Bordeaux will be a fabulous place to explore French food. One of my hopes is that I'll find a way to get out into the French countryside and maybe see some farms or vineyards....