A Travellerspoint blog

Dijon Aujourd'hui, Roma Domani

The adventure begins.

overcast 65 °F

So much has happened since I wrote last that it's hard to remember where I left off, so I'll start with Saturday. Saturday I went on a pretty cool wine tour of the Burgundy region. Unfortunately, it was more a vines tour sans the wine, but was nonetheless fun and exciting. It was an absolutely beautiful day with nothing but blue skies from start to finish, which made for phenomenal pictures all day. I also realized that 85 degrees, it was the hottest weather I had felt in a full 12 months thanks to Denver fall/winter/spring and summer in Vail. Not a bad way to live. I have attached a few pictures below as well as a link to the full gallery I posted on Facebook to the pictures from the wine tour. It's pretty unbelievable how much wine and vineyards there are here... It was almost as though I had traded a skyline full of mountains for a skyline full of vineyards as far as the eye could see at times. Pretty awesome. I got to see my first two castles here in France, which was AWESOME!! It absolutely blows my mind, still, to think about those. How long they've been around, how long they will probably still be here because of the protection and acknowledgement of their historic significance, how much they've probably seen, from wars to plagues and famine, to drought, harsh winters, etc, the architects that designed them, the fact that they were probably built by HAND over a thousand years ago, the wars they've fought and seen, so on and so on. It just blows my mind. So so cool, and they're everywhere over here! It's awesome. On the tour we also got to visit the Hotel Dieu in Beaune, which you may not know by name, but I'm sure you've seen pictures do to its famous rooftop tiles, and I took a 360 shot from inside the courtyard as well because I thought it was just too cool. We were then given a couple of hours to explore Beaune after visting Hotel Dieu, which is a very cool, cute, small town about 30 mins by train from Dijon. It's definitely on my list of places to day explore and also to take my girlfriend for a day when she comes here to visit in a couple of months.

Sunday was mainly just a lazy day. I didn't realize how much is actually closed around here on Sundays until I tried to find things to do here. I've heard from many that the French have a great appreciation and respect for the family and self time and long lunches and relaxing and so on, so everything was closed on Sunday. The one highlight on Sunday was the 9/11 service held for the handful of Americans who live in the city. The ironic part of it was that 9/11 is also the anniversary of the liberation of Dijon during World War II, so it was really more of a celebration than remembrance for us, full of a full band, soldiers, the mayor of Dijon, and so on. Pretty cool, and we got to see the inside of the town hall here, absolutely gorgeous as you would expect, and we got to be interviewed by a news reporter for TV as American students on our reaction to 9/11 then now. Cool fact related to that also, I have now been in all forms of news media: print, online, radio, and TV. Weird, but cool. No one I know personally can say the same. There are pictures of that as well in my gallery, Daily Life in Dijon, France, link is below.

Yesterday was another adventure, although stressful at times. It was a combination of more exploring, which led to more pictures of Cathedrals since they're everywhere and super photogenic and a new 360. I haven't fully explored it yet, but from the campus tour, the ESC gym is tiny. It makes me respect, appreciate, and miss the Ritchie Center SO much. I'll be looking forward to coming home to that, both for fitness and job's sake. As a result, I looked up a bunch of "home gym" body weight exercises and made a long list before going to work. I worked out for about two hours since it's been almost 10 days since the gym at home, doing everything from dips with a chair and my bed, to pull ups on the back of the door, to push ups, sit ups, and a variety of other things. It's going to be interesting for sure, but another kid I met from Germany wants to explore the gym too since he works out a lot at home, so maybe next week I'll give that a go with him. Monday was also a bunch of running around trying to figure out my bank situation. Long story short and many hours of walking later, I've been to the bank five times in the last two days, and I finally have money here. Just in time before my last meal was eaten too. Also yesterday, my girlfriend bought a ticket to come visit for a week over Thanksgiving break in the States. I am too excited and can't wait to have her over here. This has been a bit of a roller coaster ride and an adventure to say the least, but she and I are taking it step by step and week by week, and I couldn't be happier with that right now. I'll have to work out the timing while my family is here part of that week also, but I'm sure we'll find a way.

That brings things up to the present for now! Tomorrow morning I am leaving with the four kids from Kentucky and we're all going to go explore Rome for a few days before coming back on Saturday since "class" starts on Monday evening I think. I can't even begin to express my excitement to spend the next few days in Rome. Five years of Latin in high school and having just finished up 3 years of classes for my Italian minor, I am going to explode. Literally. My Osprey backpack I bought way back in April for 14ers is turning into an amazing travel pack also, and I couldn't be more satisfied with that also. I probably won't update again until I get back from Rome, full of pictures of every Roman place and artifact I studied about through high school, or at least as many as I can find while we're there! I'm hoping to get a 360 from inside the Colosseum also...so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, au revoir, arrivederci, et merci beaucoup for reading!


Daily Life in Dijon (ever growing, so bookmark it!): http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2394979315874.2138738.1292672395&l=e693c79b73&type=1
Burgundy Wine Tour: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2405930389644.2139035.1292672395&l=b843accb82&type=1


(these look better if opened on an iPhone, by the way)

Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne: http://t.co/lCij9eq
My flat in Dijon: http://360.io/Q2hnRe
Chateu Vougeot: http://360.io/PXeLpv
Hotel Dieu: http://360.io/aQWhxd

And the highlights!






I am taking my girlfriend here first thing for a date night out, and I can't wait.


Au revoir!

Posted by la vita bella 11:00 Archived in France Tagged castles cathedrals france history hotel italy rome roman dijon abroad study vail 360 beaune girlfriend esc dieu Comments (0)


Exploration of France's hidden gem

I know it's only been a few days since my last post and I normally write less frequently than that, but so much has transpired in the last few days I felt compelled to write and put some thoughts to paper and to rest.

After a rougher than anticipated transition, things are beginning to settle and are looking up. I met a really awesome group of kids from the Philippines, who I've spent most of my time hanging out with lately since they speak English and are very outgoing and fun to be around. I had dinner the other night as well with a girl who apparently knows me on Facebook even though I'm not totally sure I know her, and she's from Brazil. Two girls form South Korea joined us as well along with a girl from London. This has truly been a pretty eye opening experience for me to get to meet people form around the world, literally, and to hear their thoughts and views and hear about their cultures. It's pretty fascinating to me, really. Speaking of different views, this morning myself and two other American students from Kentucky were interviewed by a French radio reporter about our thoughts and reactions to 9/11. He was very curious to know about where we were, what we were doing, what we thought then and now, and if we thought the 10th anniversary of it posed a threat at all. Afterwards, I asked him what he thought and what the general French reaction was to the incident when it happened, and it was very interesting to hear. World views fascinate me, so it's been really cool to hear. Many of the people I've met flew west to east to get here, instead of east to west, so it's been interesting to hear about their journeys as well. It's weird to me how few Americans are here also. Four from Kentucky, one from Dallas, and myself. That's it. I'm hoping to meet a few more when we all go to the event that the city of Dijon is hosting on Sunday morning for all Americans in the city in honor of 9/11 and make some more connections there.

The orientation stuff has been going very well so far also. Sanaa has been very helpful, and I find it funny that when we pass in the halls she knows my face, even though I've had very little interaction with her here in France. Not surprising, but slightly funny given how much trouble we had with housing. Things in the flat are starting to get settled and the only thing left here is to sort out electricity with EDF. There are still a few cultural differences in the flat that I'm getting used to I think, but so far everything has been nice here and I'm happy to call it my home for four months, if I actually spend that much time in here.

Other bizarre things:

My brain has started to function in French half the time I think. If I know how to say it in French, construct the sentence in French, know the voacb word in French, etc, I'll generally think it in French and I've had to stop myself a few times when writing emails or messages to friends and home to write something in English. It's very very weird to me, but very cool too, and hopefully when I leave in four months I'll be able to speak much better. I don't expect to become fluent, but almost no one here speaks English, which is good for me.

My class schedule: I don't yet how much outside class work is expected, but most of my classes only require 15 hours of in class time, spread across the entire semester. Lots and lots and lots of free time it seems and time for travel. No class is on a set schedule, it changes every week. And, at least one maybe two of my classes haven't been scheduled yet. They're happening, they just simply haven't been "scheduled" yet. Seems odd to me, but I'm just trying to roll with the punches as best I can and learning as much as I can from everything. I'll find out more in the coming weeks i guess, but it all seems odd. And, I have no classes the week of my birthday! I hope that stays true, because I want to be traveling on my birthday if I can!

Other odds and ends:

I opened a French bank account this week with BNP, but I'm out of euros until Monday it seems unless the wire transfer miraculously appears tomorrow when I think banks here are closed. I bought a French mobicarte phone yesterday. I spoke nothing but French from the minute I walked into the Orange store to the minute I walked out with the phone because the lady spoke no English, so I was excited about that. There were times where it was awkward, difficult, and I'm sure she didn't fully understand my French, but nonetheless, mission accomplished. I fried my electric razor. Totally fried. I forgot to use the converter one morning I think, and killed it. So, I'm waiting on another one from the States (as we say here) and doing my best to get by until then. I haven't worked out since arriving, and it's driving me crazy (although probably good for my STILL sprained wrist...) and hopefully I can give the tiny school gym a try next week on Monday. Wifi is impossible to find over here. I've only found one place across the city in my wandering so far that has had free Wifi, which means their business is probably about to increase also. The girlfriend situation is working out well so far, and we've managed to skype a fair amount. It's hard, it's tough, and at times it sucks, but we're working it out day by day, and working on a plane ticket for her to come out and visit for a week, which should be fun especially if I have very few if any classes.

Last but not least... PICTURES!! All of these, the 360s included, have been taken with my iPhone 4 while out wandering the streets of Dijon using the 360 and Camera+ apps. Can't say enough good things about either of them.

360 of Square Darcy today: http://t.co/sLRdObc
360 of Square Grangier: http://t.co/F7QRCGJ
Facebook photo album (and growing): http://t.co/loFDirB

And a few of my favorite highlights!


Posted by la vita bella 13:35 Archived in France Comments (0)

Hello, France.

The journey across the pond to explore new places.

So much and so little to say at the same time.

Moving home from Vail was bittersweet. I am going to miss living in such an awesome place so much, and hope to return there again in the future. Driving out of that Valley was a bummer, but the excitement for what lay ahead was amazing. I'll miss being in the best shape of my life while living there this summer, but maybe I can return to that next year. Spending my last few days in the States at home was great, and although I thought I appreciated them then, I still don't think I did now. Spending time with my mom, my dad, my brother, and my grandparents was awesome. I miss them all more than I expected I would, and I can't wait for the family to come visit over their Thanksgiving break. Packing was a challenge, but having been here in Dijon for almost 2 days now, I think I did pretty well. It definitely took the full three days to pack, unpack, and repack, as I did this 4 times total to get everything I desired into two suitcases, a midsize backpacking pack, and a Timbuk 2 bag. The mine stereo my parents claimed wouldn't work works perfectly, and has made a huge difference in allowing me to listen to music while enduring this initial emotional roller coaster of adjustment. I doubted the satchel bag because I never used it much, but it has been the best thing I brought with me so far.

Amazingly smooth travels from start to finish. I had enough things packed into my two carryons it would've taken my half an hour to repack them had TSA decided they were worth a look, but luckily they made it through fine. No major flight delays other than 90 minutes in Dallas once already on the plane to Paris, and all went well once I landed. No lost baggage (hooray!), the cab driver to train station number one was very nice, informative, and complimented my French. Train ride was smooth, and wow are those TGV trains fast! Zip zip. The gentleman next to me on the train was very kind and helpful, and the train ride was gorgeous, even at 200 some odd kilometers an hour. The castles you pass, old villages, the pastures and rolling hills, rivers, etc are all incredibly beautiful. I arrived in Dijon safely with all of my stuff, and then took another cab fare to my residence where I again conversed with my driver in some French. I'm sure my level of speaking is poor right now, but I can already tell the improvements because of the application of words instead of studying textbooks or flashcards is tremendous.

I arrived yesterday evening, and began to set up my things, not taking note of time. I hadn't eaten since my flight landed at around 10am, and by the time I went out to grab food at about 8pm, everything was closed except a lone burger place. Not the best food in the world, but it passed for how hungry I was. Today was much better as I was able to get out and explore the city this afternoon after a skype date with my girlfriend. I stumbled upon a super market, which was ideal for how much food I needed for my flat and no meal plan. I then made it home and after talking with my parents on skype for a bit, I went back out to try to find the university, since I have to be there tomorrow morning for orientation. Got totally lost, and I'm sure I looked it and looked American. But, eventually after two hours I found my way home again, and found a much closer super market, the university, and an Orange store, where I plan to get some kind of cell phone soon. It was an adventurous day for sure, and I'm starting to adjust a little to the time change. Last night was painfully hard, between hunger with no food, jet lag, a little lonely, missing friends and family, and my body thinking it should be daylight when it wasn't, but today was much better and I'm looking forward to things once I get better adjusted.

That's the gist of things for now, but stay tuned for when I begin to venture out and travel more. No pictures yet, as I'm trying hard to avoid the "idiot American tourist" look for a bit, but I'm sure I'll have the chance to snap some photos soon. Cool side note: I made the front page of du.edu today in the States for my lifesaving story, check out the article if you have time! Link: http://blogs.du.edu/today/news/student-saves-man%E2%80%99s-life-receives-award-for-heroism

Posted by la vita bella 12:39 Archived in France Comments (0)

One week.

Europe here I come!

overcast 65 °F

There are really only a few things on my mind as I write this, so here we go.

Yesterday, I was honored in Salida by the Sheriff's department with an Award of Distinguished Service. After months of being in the press, newspapers, telling the story of how I saved a man's life while hiking to friends, and receiving more attention than I'm used to in general, I was able to accept the award yesterday. I was interviewed after the ceremony by a very nice gentleman from the Mountain Mail, which was cool. I was in their paper the week everything happened, and it looks like I'll be in the paper again. I hoped that they published papers on Sundays, but they don't so I'll be looking for something in the next couple days online I guess. The Sheriff's office put me up in a hotel for the night too, which was very nice. Not the nicest hotel in town, but plenty nice and the gesture was very much appreciated. I was also lucky enough to have my best friend Zach and my family there as well, which was amazing. I was very happy to have all of them there, and for them to be able to meet the people who were part of the story that day I was out hiking. For pictures of the ceremony, visit my Facebook album: http://t.co/tjQl4eI

The other major things on my mind: France and the new girlfriend. It's been a while since I've been in a serious relationship with someone, so it's both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time I guess. I can't remember if this is what it always feels like when starting out with something new, but either way we're both excited to give it a try. I'm a little nervous given that I leave for Europe in 7 days, fresh into a new relationship, but we've both agreed to give it our best and set it aside for later if it doesn't work out right away. I'm pretty excited and hoping for the best. That said, I leave for study abroad in 7 days. I'm terrified, excited, nervous, anxious, and so on. I feel like I'm walking off a cliff into the unknown on my own on this one because I'm the only DU student headed to Dijon this fall, so it's scary, but exciting. I realized the other night that I thought the train from Charles de Gaulle Airport went to Dijon, but was wrong, so now I'm scrambling last minute to sort out how to get from Paris to Dijon when I arrive. I am very much looking forward to my studio when I arrive, and am pretty excited to have my own space and live on my own for a bit. I also can't wait to travel. The overnight train from Dijon to Milan looks pretty tempting for an every weekend trip, but we'll have to see. There are too many places to visit and explore across Europe, so we'll just have to see where I end up. Either way, I'm planning to take and post lots of pictures here, so stay tuned! I'm definitely going to miss these mountains of Colorado, but the travels ahead promise to be equally amazing. So until then, here's a picture of a sunset over Mt. Shavano from the town of Salida taken last night. IMG_1491.jpg

Posted by la vita bella 16:29 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises mountains snow france ski mtn dijon vista buena vail 14ers shavano buena_vista scouting Comments (0)


Some chapters are ending as others are just beginning...

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What a roller coaster ride my life can be sometimes. The last couple weeks have been crazy, and the next few promise to be just as crazy. Last week was awesome. I think at the end of the week I felt like a true mountain man, and living the mountain lifestyle has become the greatest thing in my life. I lifted weights a couple days, spent two days biking 20+ miles all over Vail, climbed Vail Mountain in record time, and went rafting down the Arkansas River in Buena Vista under a full moon. Full moon rafting was a bit of an adventure, after all rafting class IV rapids under the moon is a bit challenging, and I got thrown out of the boat once, but it was an absolute blast. Truly, a once in a lifetime experience. The unfortunate news is that my knee is still not healed and the future of it is unknown, pending a doctor's visit at some point, so it looks like I'm done hiking for the summer. This is my last week of biking for the summer as well, and I'm hoping to make the most of that. Vail continues to have me in the best shape of my life, and I think that alone is worth coming back here for in the future, someday.

France. Wow. As I write this, I'm 13 days from departure. It still feels like it'll never actually happen because it's such a big deal and so many words describe it. Nervous. Terrified. Excited. Anxious. That's just the surface. Hopefully I can embrace it enough to make the most of it. I'm most looking forward to growing more as a person during my stay there, the adventures I'll have, people I'll meet, and what I'll be able to take away from it. You'll definitely want to stay tuned here once I get over there for pictures, panoramas, 360 views, and blogs on all of my adventures. I can't wait, and I can't believe it's finally actually here.

And as I continue to be surprised and flattered by this, it looks like I may end up in yet another publication somewhere for my lifesaving story. My university, Denver, has already spoken to me, and now it appears my high school out here in Colorado is interested as well. It's so flattering to me, and more attention than I ever expected to receive for what I did. Lucky guy in the right place at the right time I guess. This weekend on Saturday I'll be receiving my Award of Distinguished Service from the Chaffee County Sheriff's Department at their banquet, which I'm looking forward to. I'll finally get to meet the gentleman's wife who I saved, and the other guy's wife as well who was there that day. My best friend Zach will be there as will my family to spend some time together and spend the night in Salida. It should be a great day all around, and I'm really excited for all of it.

And as I said, as some chapters are ending while others are beginning. This summer's time in Vail is coming to a close much too quickly, while my time abroad is about to begin. Call me crazy, but I'll be leaving for France while in a brand new relationship, which will make things even more interesting, but we're both excited for the future and giving this a try. I'll leave it there for now, with this beautiful picture of the double rainbow I caught over Vail tonight. Until next time... Double Rainbow over Vail tonight, 8/22/11

Double Rainbow over Vail tonight, 8/22/11

Posted by la vita bella 19:00 Archived in USA Tagged mountains hiking france village hike bike mtn dijon lionshead vista buena vail prepared buena_vista antero rmvr Comments (0)

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