So, the past moth has been pretty eventful. I have good and a bad news for you. Good news first: I passed my driving test and got my driver’s licence. And now the bad news: on my birthday I went climbing in the evening, trying out my new shoes and equipment. I was climbing on of my favorite but demanding pitches when I heard something cracking in my knee and it suddenly felt weird. Turns out, I torn my right meniscus. I never ever even broke a bone or got seriously hurt so that was quite a shock for me. Honestly, when the doctor told me “oh you won’t be able to do sports for at least 6 months” I was close to passing out. Thanks to my mom and a friend of ours, only one week later I got surgery on my knee. But it turned out that it was more complicated that the surgeon had expected. But one of the many things my exchange year had taught me, is to never question “what would’ve been if…”. Basically I can be happy that it happened now because before or during my exchange year would’ve been fatal and the time range in about a year would’ve been really bad too because I have to be able to do sports to graduate. So all in all it’s ok. My recovery is going well, but I’m already counting down the days when I’ll be able to be back at the climbing gym. The worst about the whole meniscus situation is that I won’t be able to go on the climbing trip with my climbing group. I really was looking forward that. Also not being able to do sports as someone how just enjoys all kinds of exercise is really sad.
Anyway besides my health situation WE WENT TO FRANCE! In Germany we get out of school at the end of July so we have a two weeks “pre summer vacation” which is really cool. My family and I went to Les Beauset in Southern France for two weeks.
For the first couple of days we didn’t to anything special, we just settled down, relaxed at the pool, read books or went swimming in the sea.
On Friday we drove to Cassis, a beautiful city with a harbour and lots of tourists. We had to stop couple time on the way there because the scenery was just so pretty.
In Cassis we met up with or neighbors from Germany and then my family and them went on a hike which leads you to the beautiful bays of Cassis. In the meantime I went on a two hour boat tour by myself to see the bays, which are called “calanques” in French, too since I’m still walking on crunches. The boat tour was fun and seeing the coasts with its bays and nature was really cool. Like seriously, I was really impressed by how massive and gigantic the mountains were. Some of them made me think about how I would climb then because there were some parts you could only reach by climbing. And also I instantly was looking for climbers but couldn’t spot any.
After the boat tour I just went to the beach, relaxed there and waited for the others to return. In the evening we went to a restaurant at the habour where we saw some traditional boat fights whichreminded me of knight fights.
Then my sisters and I went to the beach again and I ended up being the photographer for her gymnastic session which did and didn’t turn out working.
Trip to Île de Porquerolles:
One morning we got up like usual, had those delicious french pastries and we thought about what to do today. My dad suggested to visit an island he had been before many years ago. So we got on the way to Île de Porquerolles. I honestly didn’t expect anything and got completely blown away. First when we arrived at the ferry station we were surrounded by fog and couldn’t even see more than 50m. While on the ferry you couldn’t see anything else than deep, blue water and the fog but when we were getting closer to the island suddenly the fog disappeared and the sun was shining as bright as nothing had happened before.
The island had a beautiful habor with lots of sailing boats and palm trees. There are no cars allowed but you can rent bikes everywhere to explore the island. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do because of me… So we found out where the nearest beach is and walked there (Well I got pushed in my wheelchair) I felt like I was in a country I’ve never been before. It looked so exotic with the palms trees and the bright colors of the nature.
And when the ocean appeared I thought I’d be at the Maldives or something. It just looked like a paradise. I loved it. It’s such a great feeling to get surprised by things like that. We spent the rest of the day at the beach, snorkeling in the clearest water I’ve even swam in and we were able to see so many different fish and corals. I also was taking some pictures and my dad was drawing.
Île de Porquerolles is definitely a place I want to come back because I feel like I’ve only seen such a little part of such an amazing and special place. I was thinking about how much fun it would be to discover the island by bike at day and sleep in a tent at night for couple of days. I’d strongly recommend you to visit Île de Porquerolles if you are in this area. I promise, you won’t be disappointed at all!
Aix en Provence:
Instead of visiting Marseilles, where we’ve been before, we decided to visit a small French village called Aix en Provence. When we got there, we walked through the small streets enjoying the French atmosphere, and stopped at a beautiful park called “Chardin de roses” where an old man was playing the trumpet which was really cool to watch and listen to. Then went to a land house which used to be outside of the town but now is in the center of Aix en Provence and then we got something to eat at a cute, tiny marketplace. In France, my sisters and me always drink a French soft drink called “Oasis” so we got it at a grocery store and I -let’s say- decorated my sister with it. Even though I didn’t even walk, I was the one of my family who was the most exhausted and suddenly fell asleep when we got to the car. But Aix en Provence was definitely a really nice day trip to explore a typical southern French village.
In between our day trips we sometimes went to markets where they sell all sorts of things like olive or tomato tapenade, fruits and vegetables from the area, soaps, clothes, baskets and other more or less useful things.
While the girls of the family went shopping my dad sat down somewhere to draw. He’s such talented! So I asked him if I could post his drawing on my blog and he agreed.
Some afternoons we also went to the beach to snorkel and swim in the sea and we also watched beautiful sunsets in the evenings.
At one of the last evenings we went out for dinner at a nice restaurant next to the sea where my parents ordered something with fish and so did I. Usually I’m not into fish but somehow every time I smell the ocean breeze I get into the mood to order “fish”. I put the fish into exclamation marks because I ate fried fish with fires which I think you can’t consider “real” fish but that’s as far as I go when I’m in this ocean breeze mood. We also got to see a beautiful sunset that night.
In my opinion, we found a good mix between relaxing and taking a break of daily work and chores and also exploring the nearby cities and nice places like Île de Porquerolles. I really enjoyed the two weeks in Les Beauset because I got to take a break of school, spent time at and in the pool and sea, got to eat fantastic tasting pasties and the freshest and most delicious baguettes I ever had, was able to take pictures (even though the angle out of the wheelchair isn’t the best but at least I didn’t have to make my family wait all the time because I want to take pictures), the weather couldn’t have been better with no rain at all and up to 34*C (94 degrees) and I got to spend time with my family. But one there is also one thing I didn’t like; even though I had more than 5 years of French in school I wasn’t really able to communicate that much because I can barely remember all the different times and grammar rules or the thousands of vocab words I studied the past years. This made me sad.
I’d love to fnish this blogpost by showing you the drawings my dad made. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.