France: My Solo Adventure

 

This past weekend I decided that I would go on a solo adventure because of a class trip I had on Friday, which hindered me from traveling with anyone else.  Most of our trips we leave on Thursday after class but because of my class trip I wasn’t able to. First, I want to tell you about the class trip.  To begin we traveled about 30 minutes from town to see a church called Basilique Sainte Marie Madeleine. The story of this church is that is holds Mary Magdalene’s skull and a few pieces of her body. People come from all over the world on religious pilgrimages to see it. They have the skull set up in a gold miniature body barricaded behind a gold gate. I didn’t know what to expect but it was truly an amazing site to see. Included with the skull was a piece of her forehead that Jesus supposedly touched and had some significance.  In the pictures I took it is hard to get a good look at the skull but if you Google the church you can see it in great detail. Next we traveled up into the mountain rage of Sainte-Baume, which surround the town. The story is that when the three Mary’s came from the Middle East on a boat then came to France. Mary Magdalene then came across a cave up in the Sainte-Baume Mountains and lived inside for 30 years until her death.  My teacher guided us on a hike up to the cave. The area where the cave is is really in the middle of nowhere. The mountain is covered with this amazing mystical forest that sets up the serious tone while you hike to the cave. The cave looks like it has been magically placed in in the side of the mountain and they have built a monastery next to it. After lots of sweat and effort we arrived at our destination. Inside the cave they have placed benches and shrines to many saints. Almost everything was in puddles of water just through natural causes.

 

IMG_5985There is so much I could say about this but it would take 10 pages to share it all so I will save it for another conversation. But, on the lower level of the cave there was a beautiful statue of Mary where people had written prayers or lit candles. I decided I would light my candle here for all my friends and family. Candles in churches here stay burring 24/7 until it has no ability left to burn. I like to think that mine is still lit in that amazing cave lost in a forest in the south of France.  I am so glad my teacher took us on this excursion because it was something I would never know to do on my own.

After my class trip was over my solo adventure truly began. I had made plans to travel to Disneyland Paris for the weekend! Yes, an odd place to go by yourself but I was following the advice given by my mother, which was something along the lines of, “ you cant wait for other people to do what you want to do, you just have to do it.” So I decided what the heck, I will regret it if I don’t go so I will go make the most of it! This was my first solo trip so it was a little nerve racking but thankfully everything went smoothly. I think the overflowing joy I had started when I arrived at my hotel Friday evening. I had a room with an amazing king bed all to my self!  This was a big step up from my Ikea bought twin bed in my apartment.  I also did not have to worry about hot water in the shower, which is another thing that has become a delicacy here. I honestly could of stayed in my hotel room all weekend and been happy, but I knew the parks were waiting for me. Saturday morning I woke myself up early and made my way to Disneyland just in time for opening.  I ended up spending 12 hours at the park on Saturday. It was really cool to see the different things they had to offer and how the portrayed the America rides.  I got a laugh out of the ride It’s a Small World, because when they were portraying America they had New York City, the Hollywood sign, and two people at a baseball game cheering rah.

IMG_6051            The fact that most people were speaking languages other than English made the line waiting process pretty boring, because not only could I not communicate I couldn’t even eavesdrop on people conversations! The language became a real issue when I went to the Walt Disney Studio’s park on Sunday. This park had more intense rollercoasters. I was brave and rode the big rides myself, which was quiet comical for me. On Tower of Terror (this ride normally freaks me out enough when I’m not riding alone so it was a big deal I survived alone) they tell a spooky story about the haunted hotel. The story gives you verbal preparation for the elevator free fall that’s about to happen. Since I could not understand the story I just had a death grip on the handles the entire ride.  This made for a great picture of my fearing for my death on the ride. I was sad to leave Sunday but I knew I had to get back, because my parents will be arriving on Wednesday! Next week we have the week off school so we will be traveling around Europe for 10 days together!

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