La and I got up bright and early (dark and early? It was before sunrise) to walk to the train station and head to Lille. During the 3-hour, 18-minute journey, when La and I weren’t excitedly talking in French, I returned to my nerd roots and spent the train rides brainstorming ideas for my letter of motivation for grad school.
Upon arriving at Lille, La and I got distracted by blue skies and sunshine, a phenomenon we hadn’t seen for days in Laon. We waited for C to arrive from Amiens, and then the three of us were awestruck by how big and lively and diverse Lille is compared to Amiens and Laon.
After grabbing sandwiches for lunch, we sat by the fountain in la Grande’Place, taking in the city’s gorgeous architecture before leaving our stuff at our hostel and wandering into FNAC, where I was in pure nerd heaven as I gazed at stacks of French literature. I’m not a nerd if I spend all my money on French books, am I?
Our next destination was Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille, which was an odd mixture of modern and ancient.
Eventually, we went to a Tex Mex restaurant for dinner, where I managed to drop my knife onto the floor–and the worst part is that this was before I started coughing like mad after trying my first shot ever because the owner gave it to us for free. I guess I’m a natural klutz.
C, La, and I started the day off by having breakfast at one of the ubiquitous Pauls scattered throughout the city and then walking to the Citadelle, where we embarked on a scenic walk, absorbing nature, sunshine, and the adorably tiny dog that kept trying to pick up a stick that was too big for its mouth. (I empathized on a deep level. I once tried to stuff an entire Reese’s in my mouth but it barely fit.)
Next, at the Parc Zoologique, I think I was honestly more intrigued by the hordes of French children who’re more stylish than I am, with their perfectly coordinated glasses and scarves and pants, than the animals.
Inspired by the greenery around the Citadelle, we headed over to the equally verdant Jardin Vauban. Although it did briefly rain, we lucked out because it happened while we were chilling in the lobby of the Palais des Beaux-Arts and making the most of the free Wi-Fi.
Next destination: Notting Hill Coffee, where we met up with K, a fellow Yellow Jacket studying abroad in Lille, and one of her friends. Except the conversation that was supposed to be about TAPIF digressed into K and me gushing about a favorite mutual professor for an hour-and-a-half.
Then we parted ways; C, La, and I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant; and then we met up with K again and brought her to our hostel, where she, C, and I had a lovely minority salt/rage party until 2am.
Anyways, it’s time for me to shut up now–today at noon, C and I are popping over to Belgium for two nights, and I can finally cross the country off of my bucket list of places I want to travel.