If you caught my previous post, you know I did a bit of unintended running the other day for work.
Dieu, I’m such a snob for someone who doesn’t run consistently enough to really call themself that. SO, yes, yes I did go for another jog (run) 4 miles, by choice, the other day. First time in France. I thought I’d immortalize this tiny step towards independence and establishing normalcy in what is still by and large a foreign life for me (where foreign is a good thing, an occasion for growth, I digress).
By some divine reasoning, Nantes had been blessed with a bout of sunshine and warm temperatures recently (yesterday’s morning dash to work coincided with the first cloudy, freezing day in over a week). It rained torrentially the week before that and, me with no umbrella, left me looking like a drowned sewer rat whenever I ventured outdoors. Therefore, sunshine has been a wonderful gift. Last Friday it even reached 70 degrees (that’s 21C for anyone wondering). So on my day off this week, Tuesday, I took my roommate’s advice on a direction to go and started off.
It was my first time running in France, running in probably over a month actually, and it felt marvelous. I think the best way to experience a city is to run through it. I followed the gentle river Erdre through town and up to the local university. The water was sparkling in the sunshine, filled with little boats and boat houses, the banks lined by trees and old buildings. (Did you know Nantes has been called the Venice of France because of this river?) People were scattered alongside it on benches or on curbs, eating paninis on their lunch hour and gazing out across the water. I followed the cement path away from the river proper and then took a low wooden bridge through an overgrown, swampy forest. When I emerged, I hit le fac‘s campus and turned back around only when I started literally running into the tram riders. I almost ran into a couple of swans on the way back too, but they were too busy nosing through the grass to notice me. The air was a bit chilly that day, but the sun was out in full force, thus creating the perfect environment for a run.
I noticed a lot of interesting graffiti sprayed and hidden in different places along the way too (France has been spectacular for graffiti so far) so I’ll have to go back and scribble it down for future reference (the crude stick-woman with labeled parts should be especially helpful for new vocab).
The beauty of nature (ie. trees, river, swans), the loveliness of the old-world (ie. crumbly buildings, elaborate ironwork, old boats), the variety of new voices rising (ie. graffiti, snatches of overhead music), and feeling the glory of overcoming the ache in your muscles to just keep running, that’s my idea of a perfect mixed tape.
So as you might gather from my two jogging (cringe, running) stories, France is shaping up to be a grand adventure so far, filled with ups, downs, and surprises, but I’m loving the chance to be here. Till next time, adieu. (<—–My French instructor says this word is dead, so nevermind). Later.