Ashley's European Odyssey


Ashley's European Odyssey

Ashley E. Williams is a student at Agnes Scott College. She is currently doing a semester abroad in Besancon, France at UFC studying art history and archeology.

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris May 22nd 2010

My last four days in France were spent with PJ in Paris. Our hotel was in Montmartre--and I was very pleased with myself for making such a good selection once we got there! Just for anyone who's interested, the Comfort Hotel Place du Tertre is excellent! It was in a charming part of the quarter, with lots of street side cafes and food stores. Up in our room, I was thrilled to see that not only were we on the top floor with a balcony, but from outside we could see the Eiffel tower and les Invalides in the distance! Our first night there we made the short stroll to Sacre Coeur, which was lovely against the evening sky. The next day we went non-stop from 10am to 8pm! It was incredible how much we saw ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté » Besançon May 18th 2010

Saying goodbye to Besancon was not easy. After five months, this place had become my home. And it's people had become my friends. The streets are worn into my mind like a spider web. I'm going to let these pictures speak for themselves. They are of a trip to Arc-en-Senans, scenes from campus, random outtakes, and pics from my last day in Besancon when I visited my favorite spots in town one last time.... read more

Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Martigny May 15th 2010

On this my last weekend in Saint Lupicin, we decided to take a day trip to Switzerland! Yesterday we piled into two cars and drove the two and half hours up through the Jura mountains and across the Swiss border into the Alps. Martigny, is a small city located in the valley de Valies, a valley that lies nestled in between two lines of Alpatian mountains, and that follows the Rhone. Because of it's unique location, it is actually a micro-climate, and is excellent for growing fruits. So what's in Martigny, you may ask? There is an excellent museum called Le Fondation Pierre Gianadda AND some world class thermal baths. We started at the museum and saw and exposition on gallo-romain artifacts found in Martigny, a collection of old cars dating between 1904 and 1933, and ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté » Besançon May 13th 2010

OK! HOLD THE PHONE! WHO AM I? AND HOW DID I ACQUIRE SUCH AMAZING FRIENDS? Soooo, last night I got ready for girls night out. Charline, Aurore, Pauline, and I had been planning on having a little soiree together before I left. They invited Rejane too, since I'd introduced them. I was excited, thinking: yeah! girls night! woo! At 9pm, Charline came and picked me up in her car and drove us to Pauline's place in town. We walk in and Pauline and I do bisous, and they say Aurore is in the living room. I thought it was a little odd that the door was closed, but then Pauline threw it open and inside.... WERE ALL OF MY FRIENDS YELLING "SURPRISE!" with balloons! AH!!! I was totally in shock, and I looked around and saw ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté » Belfort May 10th 2010

For those of you who don't know, my lovely region of Franche-Comte is divided into four departments: Doubs (where Besancon is), Haute-Saone, Jura (where Saint Lupicin is), and the Territory of Belfort. For this weekend adventure, Charline led us into the Territory of Belfort, a department I hadn't visited before. Friday, May 7 I wasn't sure I was going with Charline because I had been sick the past couple of days. I went to the doctor Friday morning and she said I had a "gastro", which I guess just means a gastro-intestinal virus. She sent me to the pharmacy, and after taking the first doses of medicine, I started to feel better. Charline convinced me to come for the weekend since I was starting to feel better. Originally other friends were supposed to come, but plans ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté May 2nd 2010

The weekend of Friday 30th to Sunday 2nd, Cyntia and I went with Christine to Saint Lupicin for one last visit! Friday night, we ate with Joachim, Fannie, and the Netto boys and then we headed to a concert in a tiny village nestled in the mountains. It was a choir concert with Rejane and Delphine's parents--they sang French classics, mass standards, and some older American songs, too. My favorite was "Hit to Road Jack", which, with an adorable French accent becomes: " 'it zee rohd Jaques". Cyntia and I tried not to giggle too loudly. It was just too cute. Saturday it rained. I tried to be productive and work on my medieval art paper and study for my exam. We hung out at the house, and then took a drive to a nearby village ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté » Besançon April 23rd 2010

Friday, April 23 Hey! That's today! We woke early and had a quick breakfast at the hostel. We took the metro to Gare de Lyon and tried to get refunded for our original ticket to return to Besancon that were for Monday. They gave me a claims form to fill out, though I think I'll go to the SNCF office here and see what I can do. It seemed like we were home free on the ride to Besancon, until the Conductor announced that we would be delayed 20 minutes due to a fire near the train tracks in Dijon. Between broke-down buses, volcanoes, train strikes, faulty planes, metro accidents, and fires it really is a miracle that I made it back in one piece! Needless to say, at approximately 1:15pm today, Cyntia and I ... read more

Europe » France » Paris April 22nd 2010

Thursday, April 22 We woke earlier than usual to make sure we were packed and ready to go. We left our gifts and a home made card on the dining room table, expressing our thanks for their kindness. After an early lunch at El Corta Ingles with Payardo we headed to the airport. It was markedly less hectic than when we were there several days before, but the line for our flight's luggage drop off was still 30 minutes long despite the fact that the flight was more than two hours away! We said our good byes with Payardo and gave him a card we'd made for him. After almost a week of seeing him every day, I had come to appreciate his gentle nature and funny jokes (which Cyntia kindly translated). We waited for ... read more

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid April 21st 2010

Wednesday, April 21 I slept late again, letting my body recover from over two weeks of traveling. In the early afternoon, Cyntia and I met Payardo for breakfast at El Corta Ingles. Afterward, C. and I decided to stroll around Madrid again. We walked to the Plaza del Sol and saw the Cervantes monument again. Then we went through the Parque del Retiro again, and stopped to take a nap on one of the many lushly green lawns. After a coffee near the lake of the park, we continued on to see the Palace again as well as the Cathedral. Often, Cyntia and I's gastronomical inspirations are at odds, so we found a kebab place for her and then a tapas place for me, where I had tortilla espanola and patatas bravas. YUM. We decided ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo April 20th 2010

Tuesday, April 20 With no where to be, and no alarm to set, I slept like a rock. It was 11:00am when Cyntia woke me, and I swear I could have slept longer. Payardo was waiting for us, so I quickly got ready and then we went out to breakfast at a local cafe. The Spanish typically eat a light breakfast, a big lunch around 3:00pm with lots of tapas-like things, and a light dinner around 10:00pm. I chose a cafe con leche and a big chocolate croissant. YUM. Afterwards, Payardo had to go to work, so Cyntia and I went to the Atocha train station to see about buying our tickets to Toledo, since we'd decided to take a day trip there. Because of all the travel chaos, the waiting room was full to ... read more

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