Aero: Brent Roberts – France 2018 – Travel

Aero: Brent Roberts - France 2018 - Travel

Aero: Brent Roberts – France 2018 – Travel

Brent Roberts

Brent Roberts

Travel is something I’ve experienced much of in recent years. I’ve driven through 18 different states in a period of 2 weeks. That’s over 6,000 miles. I’ve taken buses to and from Maine multiple times. I’ve used the metro to get around Chicago. I’ve flown to different states across the U.S. numerous times. I would say that I’m a fairly experienced traveler within domestic bounds. However, as far as international travel was concerned, this was my first time traveling outside of the U.S. It’s something I’d been looking forward to for years.

The plane trip to France was the longest I’ve ever experienced. It was a two-part flight. The first part was a short trip to Detroit where we had a 4-hour layover. During the layover I enjoyed wandering around DTW (The Detroit Airport). I’ve been to many major airports in the U.S.; however, this was my first time being at this one. It was a gorgeous airport with 2 groups of 2 terminals. There was a large tunnel with colorful lighting and music connecting each group of terminals. After a while here we departed on the second, longer, flight. During this flight I watched multiple movies and listened to music. It wasn’t much to speak of except long.

When we arrived in France, we dealt with a frenzy of lines before we could go out and experience the city. The largest queue was to get through customs. There were hundreds of people in the lines and the room was very hot. The next lines were to get our train passes. The queue we dealt with to get our photos taken for the passes was extremely slow for its population. It seemed like people were taking hours just to get their picture taken in a photo booth. By this point we were completely exhausted from a mixture of standing in lines and crippling jet-lag. However, we eventually we made it onto a train heading for the inner parts of Paris.

It hadn’t really sunk in that we were in France yet. The metro ride felt like any other I’ve been on. There were people going through the train trying to win our money. Much of the city we rode through seemed no different from the slums I’ve seen in U.S. cities. Finally, we surfaced. It was then that I realized that I was no longer in the U.S. From this point much of our travels in Paris were by foot or more metro rides. We walked around 10 miles per day and rode the metro even further. Aside from our own methods of travel I noticed others riding tour buses, driving an assortment of small vehicles, and many riding bicycles. One part of Traveling through Paris that really stood out was the boat tour on the Seine. It was a fairly relaxing way to sightsee after our long and fast-paced days of walking.

Our method for leaving Paris for Rennes was awesome. To make this leg of the trip, we rode a bullet train. It’s a much more advanced and efficient method of train travel compared to anything we have in the U.S. I loved seeing the countryside of France and all it’s different cities. The train was rather comfortable and much more spacious than economy on an airplane. After arriving at Rennes, most of my traveling was done by my host, or somebody from the school driving me around. I did, however, find a chance to take a walk into the countryside outside of VitrĂ©. It was enjoyable to get out and see their countryside up close. The roads were not very developed out there. Most of them were either 1-lane or dirt roads. Their farms seemed much smaller and likely family-run. They were more old-fashioned, natural, and far less industrial than our own. There weren’t as many wooded areas in France’s countryside; however, everything seemed overgrown with ivy, mistletoe, and other parasitic greenery. Overall, it was beautiful in its own way. I really appreciated how old-fashioned and natural the atmosphere was out there.

When the time came to depart France, we went to the airport early in case of possible strikes. We took a bus to a nearby by hotel and stayed the night before our departure. The next day, we spent a few hours in the Paris airport. It was like a small shopping mall. There were shops and restaurants everywhere, and it was very clean. I explored here for a while before we set out for home. The plane trip home was similar to the first, except that it was opposite in that the longer flight came first then the shorter flight came after another 4-hour layover in DTW. The final hurdle of our trip was customs at DTW. I ended up getting pulled off to the side and forced ahead of my group because customs confiscated some sausage that my host had given me as a gift. My group didn’t realize this, and they were all waiting for me. However, I was ahead of them with no way to contact them or return because of security. I stood there watching them helplessly for a long time, hoping that they would finally look for me ahead. Eventually, they caught up and I continued home without a hitch.

Traveling out of the country and in a different country shares many similarities to domestic travel which I’m familiar with. Customs seems to be a pain no matter where you’re going through it. The metro systems and city slums seemed quite similar to our own. Also, I still did a lot of the traveling by car. However, there were also many differences. To start with, international flights are much longer than the domestic flights I’m used to. This causes the jet-lag to be far worse. We walked far more than I’m used to; however, I actually appreciated this. Their trains systems are much better than ours. Finally, the countryside seems less populated and more disconnected with modern society, which I liked. Overall, I enjoyed many of the differences which France’s travel systems offered.

Brent Roberts
Study Abroad – France 2018 @ FLCC

World Languages @ FLCC: France Study Abroad 2018

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