Saturday, July 20, 2013

L'Île de Ré

Yesterday we went on our final excursion before Versailles and Paris and headed to the Ile de Ré, an island on the Atlantic. The idea was to take a break together before the final week, as well as to see another part of the country. It started to rain a bit in the bus, but when we got to the island, the rain had stopped and there was a nice light breeze.

On the island, we first went to a town called Saint-Martin-de-Ré where the students ate their lunches their host families had prepared for them along the ramparts. They then had a couple hours to explore the city, which is known for its production of sea salt.  At first, I was confused when all the tourist shops in the city had donkey stuffed animals in stripped pants and suspenders. I then learned that donkeys were also a large part of the sea salt business, as they pulled salt wagons.  Because of the many insects, donkeys were dressed in that attire to protect against bug bites.  Here's an image I found online:

The students seemed to enjoy the visit; for example, I ran into Kim, Will, Luis, and Reid who had just split 25 ice-cream filled macaroons! What a way to enjoy the afternoon!

We then headed to another spot on the island, called Rivedoux.  By this time the sun had come out and a lot of us went in the water.  Luckily, both the weather and the water were much much warmer than when in Normandy!  From playing "chicken" and frisbee in the water, to investigating the large jellyfish that had washed ashore, to playing volleyball and soccer in the sand, to building sandcastles and just laying out, they really seemed to enjoy the last trip together.  On the way home, we watched the Lion King in French...I can't even count how many times I've seen it, but it never gets old!

Believe it or not, this is the last weekend that the students have with their host families! After, we have two more days of classes, then on Wednesday we'll have them take the same exam they originally did (to mark their progress), and on Thursday we'll be practicing for the Farewell Show on Thursday evening. Friday we'll be giving the students a day to pack their bags and spend one last day with their families, and on Saturday we'll head for Versailles and Paris! We've certainly had lots of adventures so far, but this week is promising to be no less exciting (not to mention emotional)! 

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