What better way to understand a culture than through food?
Although I did plenty of other things while in Europe, food was a focus for me. Food represents a large part of European culture. The market in Montpellier, where I lived, was every Tuesday and Saturday, and it was one of my favorite places to visit. Most of European communities shop in markets, and they did not seem overpriced and exclusive like some markets can be in parts of the U.S.. Over the weeks, I bought amazing olive tapenade, eggs (kept at room temperature in Europe), melons, apricots, plums, peaches, cheese, and bread. My favorite bread from my whole trip came from the Montpellier market. It was a whole wheat loaf overflowing with dried apricots, raisins, nuts and a tiny bit of orange zest. Thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
On the weekends, my friends and I traveled.
Our last night in Montpellier, the whole study program had a goodbye dinner at a winery near our apartments. It was a great end to an amazing trip with some of my best friends and new friends too!
Barcelona was one of my favorite weekends! Nora and I stayed in an Airbnb in the middle of the city. We ate amazing paella, tapas, and food in general. The coffee and the kombucha were also quite delicious! La Sagrada Familia was breathtaking. We also walked to the a pinnicle point in the city that gave an expansive view of Barcelona.
Overall, the food in France was phenominal. A great baguette was 90 cents at the bakery around the corner. The fruits and vegetables had so much flavor and were also inexpensively priced and local. One of my favorite cheeses, called fleur de sauge, was a cow’s milk cheese with sage covering the bottom of the wheel (pictured above). It was sticky and gooey and perfect on bread with fig jam.
Paris was where I went for the first and last weekends during the program. There is so much to explore in and outside of the city. The first weekend, my friends and I went to museums, shopped, and wandered. The second weekend, we went on a day trip to Giverney in Normandy. We spent the afternoon walking around town, Monet’s garden, and Monet’s house. That night, we ate dinner in Paris at a restaurant called Big Mama. The pizza, salad, and drinks were all amazing. It was a great way to end our travels through France.
Nora and I had an 18 hour layover in London on our way home. Our best friend, Cat, was studying abroad in London so we had a tasty breakfast with her and walked to Kensington Palace (where William and Kate live!). It was a quick visit before we headed to the airport for our 8 hour flight home, but well worth it! Miss you Cat!
The five weeks I was in Montpellier flew by and I had an extraordinary study abroad experience. I met some great people in the program from both Drexel and University of New Orleans. Now, I am home and ready to start an internship for the next four weeks before Drexel’s fall quarter begins in late September.