For the last two weekends, I have left my house early in the morning on Sunday to meet my classmates at the university, take a two and a half hour bus ride, and end up in a new, always beautiful region of France. We only spend about six hours in our destination once we finally reach it, but I still find these trips incredibly worth the money, the drive, and yes— even worth the motion sickness.
The first day trip we took was to Annecy. Annecy is a small lake region in France, with intricate, historical buildings, narrow, winding streets, and an abundance of unique charm. In Annecy, my classmates and I spent about an hour touring the village, including stops at a farmer’s market and a gorgeous, ancient church. However, of course the biggest and most well-known attraction in Annecy is its lake. Due to the lake, Annecy is one of the most popular places for French people to retire. My friends and I laid in the sun, swam, and enjoyed a peaceful, relaxing afternoon. We finished the trip with a visit to a crêperie (my crêpe of choice? Nutella and banana!) and at six pm it was time to begin the long, sleepy journey back to Lyon.
The second day trip was to Ardèche, another lake region in France— this one located in the mountains, and specifically known for kayaking. In the nearly 100 degree heat, my group sat on the rocks, put our feet in the lake, and ate a picnic style lunch. Afterwards, we rented out our kayaks, life jackets, and paddles. I had never been kayaking before in my life, making the experience intriguing, exciting, and terrifying, all at once. I was surprised by how much effort it took just to push the kayak into the water, and how easily my partner, Madi, and I got stuck on the lake’s huge rocks. A funny anecdote is that my group was being trained by a hippie/surfer kind of guy, who would kayak past us and say things like, “doucement” (French for “slowly”) or “you must feel your boat.” I did not exactly “feel” my boat… if anything, the experience clued me in that kayaking is not one of my talents! However, I was glad that I participated in something challenging and different.
Overall, I think day trips encompass and emphasize some of the key aspects of travel that are often forgotten during longer stays. With such short amounts of time in such incredible places, I was reminded to live every moment and pack in as many fun, crazy, memorable moments as possible— which is definitely what I’ll be striving to do every day now that I have less than two weeks left in Lyon!