In Lille! Day 1

August 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm (French, Lille, Study Abroad) (, , , , , )

My apologizes for not announcing my arrival before, but as I’m sure you can imagine, it has been a bit crazy.

My uncle H and I left London on Sunday around 2pm for a 3:30 train to Lille.  I knew the train was going to be fast, but I didn’t realize how fast!  I mean, I had time to look out the window and watch the countryside go by, and if my camera wasn’t packed, I could have taken a few pictures, but I feel like I only had time to read a few chapters of my book before we arrived!

In Lille, we took a quick cab ride to the hotel, where we essentially dumped our stuff and headed out to walk around Lille and figure out where we needed to go the following day to sign in and everything.  Luckily, our hotel was about half way between the school and my dorm, though a bit more to the east, so the three landmarks formed a triangle.  Since it was a Sunday in August, almost nothing was opened.  The French take their vacations very seriously, as my uncle and I laughed about many times.

After finding the school (which is much like UR in that it is almost all red brick in the Gothic style – pictures to come later) and my dorm (which is a 25 min walk from the school – ick!), we returned to the hotel and asked for a good French restaurant that would be open.  Once we got a reservation, we went up to the hotel room so my uncle could rest his knee that he had injured a week or two ago.

At 8pm, we headed out to the restaurant, which was only a few minutes from the hotel.  If was a really sweet little restaurant, with only about 5 tables total.  It was located in a house that was inhabited by the Knights Templar in the 16th century, and still had their motto carved into the wall.  After that, it was used to house some other historical figure(s) that for the life of me I cannot remember.  The architecture was gorgeous, as befits a 500-year-old building!

We both started off with some champagne, which was palatable, though my hate-affair with alcohol continues.  For dinner, I had some fabulous lamb medallions and my uncle had some sort of fish.  He ordered a wine that apparently is the absolute best wine to go with lamb (he used to work in the wine industry and absolutely loves wine and knows so much about it), but I unfortunately still could not appreciate it.  Dessert was yummy expresso mousse dollops sandwiched between wafer-thin pieces of dark chocolate – so yummy!  Definitely going to be the best meal I’ll have here in Lille, as I don’t think my bank account will support anything even close to it…

After dinner (which, in traditional French fashion, lasted about 2 hours), we headed back to the hotel as we were going to get an early start the next morning.  Unfortunately, I think I got about 4 hours of sleep as a result of the combination of jet lag catching up with me + expresso mousse for dinner + my uncle snoring.

And so my first few hours in Lille were pretty much a success.  I got to use my French a few small times, translating some for the taxi driver, which was also good.  And I didn’t freak out.  Too much….

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