Is it just me or do the weeks just get crazier here? Allow me to explain: My cohort and I came here at the perfect time! This program also runs in January during winter, but now, during the June/July program, we can enjoy the French summer, as well as do summer activities in our spare time! Also, for you soccer fans out there, we’ve been here for the 2016 Euro Cup, where France was in the final with Portugal! For the semi-final earlier in the week, when France won there were fireworks, flags, music and cars driving around, and people yelling ‘Allez les bleus! Go the blues!’. For the final, everyone in Vichy was heading to the bars to watch the match from the screen, and us, having arrived a little late, were with the crowd outside the bar, craning their necks to see the screen and covering the street! We lost! Absolute mayhem ensued! We loved it! Us Aussies had half a mind to start chanting ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!’, because with all the pandemonium going on, I don’t think anyone would have noticed! Personally, I was rooting for Portugal. But that’s best kept a secret.

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And the rest of my week? Sounds a little bit ridiculous when I type it, but I climbed Puy-de-Dôme, the infamous colossal volcanic hill of Auvergne, attended a 3-hour jazz concert out of town (I KNOW, don’t even ask!), hiked through a marvellous forest by the water and went to Lyon with CAVILAM! I promise I’m getting some study in! (But do you really believe me?)

So, Puy-de-Dôme. Funny thing about having the wrong shoes and deciding to mount this volcano regardless… What’s that they say? Famous last words? Hahaha. No, really though, it was stupendous. A 100x more towering and lush than Puy-de-la-Vache! Plus it’s a UNESCO heritage site! Potentially my first! There were two whole buses full of people who went to Puy-de-Dôme, people of all ages! And the more we climbed, the more the view became one to truly behold! Once you arrive at the top, there are actually a few cafes, a gift shop, train station to get back down and also a famous Church! So we bought ourselves an icy pole, and ran the treacherous trek down whilst salsa-dancing to Enrique Iglesias. The only real way to descend a volcanic hill, am I right?

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Every Friday there is some sort of social event organised by CAVILAM, ideal for people who love singing, dancing and socialising! This week, it was a soirée dansante at a local bar! I think I’ve really found my people here, even though I live in Australia I can’t explain why I know every random Spanish and French song that the DJ plays! And a repeat of Bailando by Enrique Iglesias? Yes, please!

On Saturday, CAVILAM offered a day-trip to Lyon! For the first two hours of the trip, they’d taken us to the major sites that are a little harder to get to, and given us a guided tour. Those being, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Ancient Roman Theatre of Fourvière, and the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste with its famous astrological clock inside! Stunning. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is on a hill overlooking the entire city. It’s enveloped by greenery and descends down steps which lead to the Roman Theatre. Later, when you’re down in the city centre of Lyon, between alleyways you can see peeps of green and a corner of the church! We separated at lunchtime, and had the rest of the day to ourselves, where we then met up again at 6pm to head home! It was 36 degrees, we shopped, reaped the fruits of Lyon’s famous gastronomical reputation, and were completely worn out on the drive home. My favourite kind of day.

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And as for my Sunday? Trekking through a beautiful forest out of town and licking ice-creams all day! All in all, the days and nights are packed with activities, new smells, sights and experiences. The classes are full of learning, with just as much homework to compensate for our leisurely weekends! Our afternoons are spent perusing through Château’s, historical villages and cathedrals, and our nights spent eating and laughing with good company. Thank God I’m only halfway through. Stay tuned for more next week folks! À tout à l’heure!

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