This is it people. The final week of the best trip of my life. Am I crying as I type? Well no but I might as well be.
The third week was mainly France with a quick stop in Geneva, Switzerland and Monaco. In France we went to Nice, Avignon, and finally Paris. The week went by fast which is never good when you want something to last forever and ever. But alas, you can't always get what you want.
We started week three in Nice which was my second favorite city of tour. Nice is on the coast of France which meant beach. It was the city I was most looking forward to before tour because well, I like the beach. It was rocky rather than sandy but I wasn't disappointed.
My favorite memory from Nice was buying a subway sandwich and slice of cheesecake from a local bagel shop and having a makeshift picnic on the beach with my best friend. We sat right along the water and just hung out for awhile. Also the cheesecake was amazing so that was a huge plus.
My other favorite memory was running into the freezing Mediterranean Sea hurting my feet all the way on the horrible rocks. I was so cold and my friend forced me to dunk completely under with her. I screamed but did it. Being in the Mediterranean even for that short time was so worth it. Everyone was yelling and laughing and we were all so proud because Rotex was sure we would chicken out and go in for only a second. We refused to leave until we absolutely had to just to prove them wrong and when we got out we tried to hug everyone who was still dry which they definitely didn't appreciate. We were all smiles that day, and every day of tour. *Nostalgia hits yet again*
Not only was the coast beautiful but the city streets as well. All the buildings were different colors of a sunset which I loved. Check out the pictures to see what I mean. Nice was, if you don't mind me saying, quite...nice. Come on, you had to have seen that one coming.
On our second day in Nice we took a day trip to Monaco. What is one thing Monaco is not lacking? Money and yachts. I discovered I would never want to live there but it sure was pretty...from a distance.
In Monaco's defense I took some of my best photos of tour there. I'm just saying the fancy yacht lifestyle isn't for me, but it sure was fun to pretend it was just for a day.
Anddd next on the list we have Avignon. What do I remember from this city? McDonald's and a relaxing tanning session.
Why McDonald's? Plans don't always work out because you know, life. So sometimes you have to made do. For us that "plan" that didn't work out was eating our two nights in Avignon at the hostel. We had to look elsewhere and the only place that could accommodate 61 people on short notice for not that much money was McDonald's. We're teenagers, we didn't care, we got free chicken nuggets and fries out of the deal.
The tanning occurred at the Pont du Gard along the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring to Nemausus (a Roman colony). The aqueduct also functioned as a three tiered bridge. The aqueduct fell into disuse between the 4th and 6th centuries but continued to be used as a toll bridge for much longer. It became a tourist attraction during the 18th century.
The last significant thing that happened in Avignon was our district talent show and man are we talented. That actually wasn't sarcasm because a lot of people had real talents they shared, mainly musical with singing and dancing because that's almost all we exchange students ever do. Taylor and I rolled around on the floor to some awesome Crazy Frog music because that's real talent. Okay that time I was using sarcasm. But that's a true story we really did that and I have zero shame.
Next stop, Geneva.
We drove five hours to Geneva from Avignon and ended up seeing the city for a solid two hours. From what I saw it was beautiful. From what I learned it was expensive. The next day we drove to Paris and that's when the real fun began.
Final city, Paris. Man was it a good end to an out of this world awesome three weeks. We saw quite a bit in Paris so I'm skipping some words and sticking mostly with pictures. Two significant touristy things we did in Paris were go up the Eiffel tower (yes it was as awesome as it sounds) and take a tour of the city by boat.
We saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Eiffel tower, city hall, clock tower, the Louvre (I did more than see it, I went in.), the first American church ever built outside of the US, and many but not all of the 37 bridges in Paris.
Did I mention I took lots of pictures? Did I mention I had a photo shoot of me holding up my macarons in front of the Eiffel tower to show how "French" I was? Well either way it happened. Here's your proof.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it doesn't matter where you are but who you are with. We could have visited the dumpsters of Paris and if I had my group of exchange students I would've been happy. Tour coming to an end was only depressing because it meant I wouldn't get to see those 52 faces every day. This was the last time we'd all be together and that hurt but I can say it was one of the best experiences of my life. So thanks to Rotary and Rotex and my Rotary family for making this tour more than incredible. It's something I'll never forget. Part of me is scared to ever come back to the places we've visited because it will never be the same as doing it with all of you.
My final goodbye to Europe tour -KAJ