Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Weekend in Cluny

This weekend wasn't filled with glorious trips out into the French countryside or interesting tours through ancient buildings, but it was still very exciting. I interacted with many of the locals while in town buying souvenirs or just walking around and those experiences were quite special. Not only did I finally justify my six years of study in French, but I felt a special connection to several people from halfway across the world.

The weekend started Saturday morning with a trip to the farmer's market that is a weekly event for the locals in Cluny where they meet their friends and buy their produce for the week. The market was filled with vendors from all over the area selling fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, clothes, jams, and more. The list of what was there really goes on and on, and for some of the vendors it's their main way of selling their merchandise. There was even someone there selling chinese food (which was quite good actually). I thought it was interesting that these farmer's markets are so important to the locals as well as the vendors because in the US everyone just goes to Shoprite or Acme and maybe goes to the farmer's market every now and then. It's quite the opposite here.

After exploring the farmer's market and buying several gifts for my family I was off to the rest of the shops in town to finish looking for gifts for everyone else. I met a huge variety of shopkeepers that I was able to have full conversations with in French. Invariably I ended up telling all of them that I was from New Jersey and my family owned a winery and I think that a lot of them really appreciated that. That is, after their initial astonishment passed. I got a lot of, "What?? No way!!" and some people even told me about their families and their history. It was a really eye opening day for me. Being immersed in a culture so different from your own is an experience like no other.

Sunday was our "free day" of the class where were left to our own devices and were allowed to do as we pleased. Most of the class went on a bike ride out into the country towards a chateau where they would picnic. Feeling tired, I took the day to relax, finally shake off the jet lag, and get my laundry done. So I'll spare you those details and just say that my weekend was very enjoyable. One thing that occurred to me is that at this point in the course were halfway done! Agh!!! I might just have to stay here a little longer, haha.

1 comment:

  1. You should have come with us to the Chateau of Cormatin. Then you would have seen the interior of a pretty neat mid-century construction. To bad Omid was feeling bad. Without you two, we would never have found out what those robes meant.