after getting home to lyon, i had a week before i had to take my finals. i hung out with friends, studied, hung out some more.... i had my two hardest finals on monday of finals week. not my favorite, but at least i got to get them over with (and they were at the same campus). and then i had the last one on thursday, which was easy.
overall, i think i did my best, even though i really couldn't recall some things because it had been over a month since we had even talked about these things. thank goodness i was allowed to use a dictionary though!
on the saturday after finals, i went on a day trip to marseille with zoe (from UCSD). it was my first encounter with the mediterranean, and i boy was i impressed. it was a freaking gorgeous day. sunny, breezy, 65 degrees. so nice compared to the weather i'd been in, where 45 is "nice" weather. we walked around everywhere exploring the city, but there really wasn't much to it, which is surprising considering it was a major port city settled by the greeks (i think? maybe it was the romans?). we went up a crazy hill to the basilica, where the view was amazing.
we walked around vieux-port, "old port" and looked at boats.
we got a fantastic breakfast and a crêpe dinner (i know we ate lunch but i can't remember what it was).
we wandered along the seaside just before sunset, and i bravely put my finger in the mediterranean! it was cold, i will say.
all in all, it was a beautiful escape and day to defrost and relax!
then, 2 weeks later, i went on a daytrip with juan and hayley (who would be leaving a few days later) to grenoble, a little city at the foot of the alps. it was a charming town, with history around every corner. i liked how the architecture had a clear italian influence, much like you see in lyon. we grabbed a boulangerie lunch and later spent about an hour in a café hiding from the cold.
we went up the mountain via the "télépherique" (cable cars) -- this was a rather terrifying experience for me: i don't like heights, i don't like moving water under me, and i don't like being suspended in the air by a cable, where the wind can move things. so, i may have been freaking out the whole time, but at least i did it.
at the top there was a bastille (not the one from paris), a military stronghold/fort. there were viewpoints, which would probably be so awesome in the summer when there isn't fog.
and there was random art that i wish i understood (but there's a contemporary art gallery up there, so i guess that's explanation enough).
and then there were the caves, which started as a tunnel and then became so many stairs that led to a big room with windows. juan and hayley sang the marseillaise (french national anthem) and it was really good, especially with the acoustics of the cave.
we slowly but surely made our way back down, and then to the train station. it was a pretty fulfilling and cheap (25€) day trip, i'll say!
so now i've touched the major lowest and highest(ish) places in france! yay!