Friday, April 10, 2009

Framerica...the perfect place! - Europe Tour 4.1

Day two in Montpellier was another day of exploration and discovery. We found a different hotel (the first one was great but way out of our budget), got some laundry done (a challenge in itself) and still managed to get outside for more walking. The hotel we're at now, Citea Coupole, is a little bit away from the city center so we're getting a feel for the train system. It also has small kitchens in the room so we will be able to save some dough and cook a few meals.

We walked leisurely along an aquauct through a residential development noted for its successful mix of low-and-high income housing, around the massive 14th century Catedrale St-Pierre and into the Jardin des Plantes - a botanical garden dedicated to Henry IV in the 1500s. I am absolutely enjoying being back in France - I love that people take time to relax and appreciate a beautiful flower or striking piece of art. Kids play soccer wherever the mood strikes (provided there is room), couples enjoy lunch on park benches and everywhere I look it seems as though people are completely engaged in conversation.

On the other hand, I remember how frustrating it was to actually have to get work done when I was studying here - most likely for the exact same reason. People here just dont operate the same way we do back home and it can be extremely difficult to accomplish even the smallest task. I guess it's a catch-22. Either you live in a society focused on work and productivity that tries to make time for family and relationships, or you live in a society where relationships and relaxation are most important with work just being a means to an end. I can see the pros and cons of either side after trying them both, I'm just not convinced there can't be a happy medium.

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