All posts tagged: tourists

Train Wreck

DC has the Tourist Trolley. Boston has the Duck Boat. France (and many countries in Western Europe) has the Petit Train. These are two- or three-car tiny trains that would fit in at an amusement park or an especially large zoo, meant to drive tourists past notable attractions in any given city.Walk around the city center anywhere in France, no matter the size of the town, and you are likely to hear the clang of the little train’s bell beckoning tourists far and wide to climb aboard. Chambéry has one of these “Petits Trains Touristiques“and from my arrival, I was dying to take a ride on it. Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s a ridiculous tourist attraction. But, c’mon! It’s just so darn cute! Not too long after I arrived, the train sadly went on haitus, making way for the Christmas market and waiting for the snow to clear up. It is very difficult to understand why and how these trains became such a weird obsession for me. Any time one passed, it gave me a little burst of joy. I think the thing …

Three Girls Go on Spring Break. What Happens Next Will Surprise You!

In Chambéry, I was blessed to have several groups of friends who I adore and hope to stay in contact with for many more years to come. Two of them you may be familiar with, as they are frequently mentioned on my blog. First is Hannah, my Beyoncé dance party room/soul mate (too bad she’s already taken!), and second is Uptown Julia, queen of the swine-dune and my heart. Both have also been blogging with me all year, and to be honest, I think we’ve really kept each other on track, constantly bragging to one another about how we just finished writing a post or taking bets on who’s gonna write their account of any given weekend first. I LOVE reading these girls’ blogs: they are colorful and hilarious and it’s so fun to read about similar events from our different perspectives. I’m sure that in a few months, when my “homesickness” for Chambéry is flaring up, my first stop will be their blogs.

Five Things to Do With Your Free Time Instead of Travelling

A few weeks ago, a fellow TAPIF assistant and blogger, Anne à l’aventure, published a post about reasons NOT to travel, which got me thinking… It may not be a popular opinion, especially in the Instagram Age where #wanderlust is the most noble of ambitions, but I am increasingly coming to terms with the notion that I’m simply not cut out for the “traveller lifestyle.” One look around my bedroom will tell you why: I have only lived here six months and already my walls are covered in postcards, train tickets and children’s drawings. Dozens of books are stacked on the floor next to the slowly growing pile of flashcards and worksheets used at school. Markers, pens, post-it notes and girl scout cookies clutter my desk and my window sill is home to not one but two plants. This is not the kind of place that you can easily pack into a backpack.

Marseille: city of contradictions

Another six weeks of school, another two week vacation. And this time we wanted to get the heck out of the snow and mountains, so we booked a TGV to MARSEILLE! Marseille has a certain reputation in France… the kind of reputation that made our friends’ eyes widen and say,  “Attention, hein?! Be careful!” when we announced our trip. So then when there were reports of a shooting there the day before our planned departure, we had to make a serious game plan, which essentially boiled down to “DON’T BE AN IDIOT” (sidebar: the shooting was non-fatal and most likely a result of the visit to the city of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. My favorite part of the story is that Valls was in Marseille to congratulate the city for their recently reduced crime rates.) And anyway, when has the threat of a little street violence ever been good reason to cancel a trip?! If that were the case, no one would ever go….to most major cities in the US……

City of Masks: Unmasked, or Christmas in Venice

Ahhh January 25th. The perfect day to talk about December 25th! The holidays can be a tricky time of year when you’re away from home. All of the European assistants I know went home, and some of the Americans as well. But as for me, Home came to France!! My family and sister arrived in Chambéry after a much delayed flight on December 22nd. We walked around the town, got some snacks at the market and they got to meet one of the teachers I work with, which was especially nice since my mom is doing a pen pal exchange with her class! The next day we set off in our rented car for Venice, Italy!!! The drive was long, but as we keep reminding people here, driving 6 hours in the US doesn’t get you all that far, so the fact that we made it through the Alps and across nearly all of northern Italy in that amount of time was actually pretty thrilling. And when I say we went through the Alps, I mean we …

Benvenuti in Italia

As brilliantly put by my good friend Julia: “Useful Italian words known: 0 Italian swearwords known: 6788984765658 Hello Turin!” The pack of Italian friends I have made here are very enthusiastic about teaching me Italian words, and I am more than happy to learn them. I have learned about 15 ways to use the word cazzo (Italian for dick, which is used in at least 50 expressions, to convey any emotion under the sun. I have learned how to say that something is disgusting, in a way that literally means, “it makes me shit” (or the even more vulgar “it makes me shit a dick”. Just one example of the many uses of cazzo!). And there’s the old standby I learned from my dad: Andiamo?! Unfortunately, very few of these phrases came in handy during our recent trip to Torino, Italy. Being the brilliant planner that I am,  I managed to make a slew of Italian friends and then leave them all behind in France while I travelled to Italy with three anglophones who speak even less Italian than …