After almost 5 weeks in Czech Republic, I decided to head over to France to visit some old friends who were leaving the country soon. Realizing that I had already spent more than a third of my 90 day allowance(what Australians get on entry to the Schengen area) in one country, I thought it better to decline the tempting offer of a fourth camp in Czech.
Before starting my trip in Europe, I had vaguely envisioned my trip as me staying a couple days in each country, or major city, busking and earning heaps of money, and then moving on to the next one. Constantly on the move, exploring new cities and scenes every day… But real life always turns out quite different from how we imagine it. So far I have 2 weeks of my 90 day allowance left, and I’ve only really been in Czech and France. At first I was a bit disappointed, thinking about how little time I had left , but then I was reminded that it takes time to really experience a place, and it’s not just about how many countries you can check off the list.
On my way to France I decided to take a little stop over in Germany: Prague to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Paris. Both were overnight buses. The great thing about overnight buses is that you save on accommodation costs for one night by sleeping on the bus. During the one day I spent in Frankfurt, I found it to be much quieter than I expected; especially for the size of the city. I also got a solemn, and slightly indifferent feeling from the place; I’m not sure if it was just me, or just that city, or something else, but I shall have to be back for a proper stay in Germany some time to get a better feel for the place.
I arrived in Paris on the 31st of July. There I met up with one of my friends who showed me around some of the main attractions in Paris before we headed out to their place in Normandy. I stayed there for the next 2 weeks, enjoying the company, the area, and also helping out a bit with some projects they had going on.
My next destination was a small city near Lyon called Saint-Etienne. There I met up with a good friend I had met in New Zealand, a French traveler/adventurer with whom I had done a fair bit of cycling and sports. It was great to catch up with him again and hear about his recent ocean rowing expedition(check it out if interested —> https://clementmas.com/). So the next 10 days or so were spent eating baguettes(also a ton of “real cheese” haha), doing plenty of sports, and working on my blog. He also happens to be a web developer so it was a good chance to get some tips for my rookie WordPress website.
From Saint-Etienne I made my way South to another Helpx experience in a small town near Aix-en-Provence. It was a home stay, and my host had just moved house; so most of the work was general handyman jobs like building furniture, cleaning, painting, etc. It was a good two weeks. In my spare time I did some busking in the nearby city, climbed some mountains, and had fun hanging out with the teenage kids.
Here’s a short montage of some random video clips I took during my stay in Southern France 🙂
(getting some experience points in my video editing skills! 🙂 though I’m thinking I might have to upgrade to a more powerful program than Windows Movie Maker…)