My time in France was short-lived, but full of witty anecdotes. We initially drove through a part of it while getting to our camp site (just over the German/French border on the German side) and this was where things started to go very wrong. I needed to pee. I hadn’t peed in hours and, anticipating the same rest stop pattern as in Germany, that allows you to stop frequently, I was also drinking lots of water. Unlucky enough for me, France doesn’t believe in rest stops. So, after getting in a traffic jam and driving through several French towns, I realized there were no bathrooms in sight. I expressed my discomfort to my host parents, who tried their hardest to find a restroom. We eventually decided to stop in a town and ask around. We went in a small bakery and my host mom used her limited French to ask if we could use their bathroom. The answer was no. They were even a little bit offended that we asked. They pointed to a vague location somewhere in the town, but we didn’t find it. We kept driving. We went to several restaurants, all of which were closed (at about five in the evening!). I broke down and asked them to pull over next to a patch of woods. I ran.
I got to the edge of the woods, running, went down a muddy embankment, running, and found a good tree, running. Afterwards, I could actually enjoy just how beautiful the french woods are. Full of little white flowers and moss.
The next day was Strasbourg, one of the seats of the European Union and (in my opinion) a center for architectural and cultural beauty. We visited a hospital’s wine cellar (they gave out weak wine to patients back in the day), took a boat tour, and I took the most French photo ever.
Above baguette is the center of one of my more, uh, embarrassing exchange stories.
I made it clear to my host dad that I would not leave France without eating a baguette. So, the whole day he made me practice a few basic French phrases so I could order one and not look like an idiot. Well, I got up to the counter of an extremely small, pretentious French bakery and forgot everything that was drilled into my head for the last few hours. All I could muster up was simply yelling “Baguette!”. The French lady luckily understood and got me my baguette without criticizing my lack of communication skills. After relaying this story to my host mom, this story has been told and laughed about by many Germans back home in Germany. I’m quite glad. I think it’s quite funny myself.
Stay tuned in for more Europe tour adventures about toilettes, languages, and study abroad stories!