Last Saturday, I woke up with the realization that I was going somewhat insane. Not having my own computer (my trusty Toshiba up and died on me on my second day here...this was, of course, after I spent two hours trying to rig up the battery charger so that it'd work...bleh), cell phone, or decent mode of transportation, I couldn't quite handle feeling like I was on an island. So I decided to put my legs to good use and connect myself to my surroundings!
After strolling down a lovely wooded path (and anyone who knows me well knows that I adore that sort of thing), and pondering on how much I love being in a climate that actually allows a huge variety of plants to grow wildly, I randomly stumbled across an honest-to-goodness castle!
Now, before anyone gets any ideas of princesses and gallant knights on white steeds, let's have an impromptu lesson on one of the many quirks of France and Europe in general:
castles are often not what they seem...
Rather than being historical shrines or royal fortifications, they can be anything from reception centers to insurance offices. I hate to kill the romance of it, but, thus it is. Be that as it may, this castle actually did prove to be a bastion of French culture in its own right! It's none other than the world renowned...Paul Bocuse cooking school! (For those who are interested, Paul Bocuse is France's most famous chef--and for a country known for its classy cooking, that is saying something!) I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to realize that it was just a cooking castle...but at least it's just around the corner from the mission home and lends a little intrigue to my life! I kinda want to go inside and plead American ignorance...
Following a walk around the castle in which I got as close as I dared (I didn't relish the thought of chef-hat toting students chasing after me with frying pans), I ventured further into the "downtown" area of our suburbanesque village. After being disappointed in finding that the village church wasn't open for visitors, I received some of my own schooling in French culture... A 20-something, embarrassingly shirtless young man spotted me and struck up a conversation from across the street. Now, for any young women who are considering travelling to France in the near future, allow me to pass along some wisdom that I momentarily forgot:
DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN!
Although my encounter with said creepy man put a damper on my walk, I'm proud to announce that I am no longer slipping into insanity! And my sense of adventure has definitely been awakened... :)