Monday, June 13, 2011

Our first day of class

The 13th was our first full day in of class in Cluny and it was a rough one! I've never been to Europe before, and the six hour time difference here from the east coast of the US is a killer. Here in Cluny were six hours ahead of the east coast so when you wake up at 8am it feels like 2am. We woke up bright and early so that we could get breakfast at the hostel before our class that started at 9 o'clock, but breakfast for the french is far from what were used to. When you think of complimentary breakfast at a hotel you might think of sausage links, eggs, bacon, muffins, bagels, maybe a waffle iron, some yogurt, etc. Breakfast in France is baguette with butter and jam and to drink you get coffee or tea and I have to say that it's going to take some getting used to because by 10 o'clock my stomach was growling!

So, with all that in mind, the first full day of talking about fermentation pathways and microbial activity was a little difficult. But, one good thing about France is that lunch is two hours long. I think we have breakfast figured out pretty well, but two hour lunches are awesome. During lunchtime everyone shuts down their businesses except restaurants, of course. All the little shops, the post office, the banks, everyone takes off and goes out to eat for lunch. So from twelve to two we joined the people of Cluny by going out to a cafe where we ate lunch outside in the beautiful weather and enjoyed the atmosphere of the quaint little town. The townspeople are all familiar with one another, so when we come along speaking English and probably acting very strangely in their eyes we get some odd looks. I'm certainly not used to being looked at like that so often, but I'm sure it won't be the last time, so I might as well get used to it for a while.

After lunch we continued with our class on microbiology and biochemistry until it was time for us to take a historical tour of the town with another one of our professors, Dr. Reinert. Professor Reinert led us on a tour of Cluny where we visited its important monuments and attractions and learned some history about them. I thought that the most interesting part of the tour was about the abbey of Cluny. Built in 910, and at its height of power in the mid 12th century, the abbey was once magnificent, but today much of it has been destroyed. During the French Revolution all religious orders were dissolved and forced to leave their respective monasteries and churches. At the time of the revolution there were only ten monks left in the abbey of Cluny, but still, the loss of what was once a great monastery is a shame. After the tour wrapped up we were left to go about as we pleased for the first time and explore the town to our heart's desire. Here are some pictures from the days adventures:

That night, all of us climbed to the top of Cluny and sat on the wall watching the sunset over the beautiful Burgundian countryside. It was a beautiful sight and unfortunately I forgot my camera, but it's a memory that I doubt I'll forget, with or without a picture.

1 comment:

  1. Where are all the people? In the photos taken by you, Preshita and Daniel there are so few people. Is it lunch time?