Monthly Archives: August 2013

STTA #10

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Hi! 🙂

I know we haven’t done an STTA in a while, so here’s a question for you all.

What do you do when you’re really, REALLY bored?

I just thought I would ask because it’s funny to hear about all the weird things people do when they have absolutely no clue what to do. When I’m super bored, I usually park myself in front of my bookshelf in my room and pull out random books that catch my eye and flip through them. Sometimes I pick a book and read it cover to cover. Sometimes I just turn the book over and over, enjoying the weight of it in my hands, and quickly flip through the pages to catch a whiff of the musty book-smell that I love so much (I’ll admit it; I’m a book-smeller). Other times, when I’m bored, I find something in my room to organize (there’s usually something that could use a little cleaning up). Most of the time what eventually ends up happening is that I find myself mysteriously drawn to the computer or some other electronic device, where I fruitlessly and aimlessly surf the Web for hours on end. (Google is horribly addictive. It has the potential to be life-consuming.) And now, I need to know — what do you do when you’ve got nothing to do?

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Olivia’s Trip to France, Part 1: The Alps

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Bonjour, tout le monde! (That’s French for “Hello, everyone!”)

Long time no see! 😉 I hope you’ve been enjoying the summer! Can you believe it’s already halfway over? Eeek! I don’t know about you, but I am SO not ready to go back to school yet! Have any of you gone on any cool vacations this summer? Or have you been indulging in a relaxing staycation? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

As for me, I just got back a number of days ago from an incredibly exciting, jam-packed trip to France! It was the first time out of the good old USA for me and my brother, which made the whole ordeal all the more thrilling. My family spent three weeks in July sightseeing, drinking in history and eating good food, and we saw and did so much in those three weeks. We were also lucky enough to have family friends living in France with whom we stayed, which was a totally different experience than staying in a hotel would have been, and which gave us the opportunity to see three wildly different areas of the country — we spent our first week at their tiny alpine cottage in the Alps, the second week at a friend of our friends’ apartment in Paris, and the last week at their beach house along the coast of Normandy.  It was wonderful to be exposed to these three different areas of France, to witness the subtle changes in culture from one side of the country to another and the immensely varying geography, architecture, food, and history that can be found in France. It was an amazing trip — we got to see and do so much (and I feel I can honestly say that while even after a month in France I’m not fluent by any means, my French did drastically improve). Today I’m sharing some photos from the first stop on our vacation: the Alps. I hope you enjoy!

This is the view from the inside of our friends' cottage.

While tiny, our friends’ cottage was very cozy and comfortable, with sweet country charm and a breathtaking view of the mountains.

This was the view I woke up to every morning.

This was the view just outside my window. Pretty amazing, huh? I felt just like Heidi, waking up every morning to see rays of sun spilling over the snow-capped peaks of the Alps and down into the valley below.

The center of town with the majestic, snow-peaked Alps rising in the background,

The center of town with the Alps rising in the background. When I laid eyes on these mountains for the first time, I was at once blown away by their astonishing height and majesty.

A bustling market going on in the village's main street.

A bustling market going on in the village’s main street, lined with tiny shops, grocery stores, crêperies, and ski apparel stores, which runs through the center of town.

Walking along the main street in town.

Walking along the main street in town.

We were awakened each morning by the joyous ringing of church bells echoing throughout the valley.

We were awakened each morning by the joyous ringing of church bells echoing throughout the valley, the only sound breaking the stillness of dawn.

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We went on a five hour hike one day — yes, five hours — and on that day alone, I took over 200 photos! The view was absolutely stunning; there were just too many picture opportunities to pass up! Bright yellow wildflowers waved in the breeze while snow-peaked mountains rose on every side, and streams gurgled and whispered over the rocks on their merry way downhill. Needless to say, we were quite exhausted at the end of the five hours. We stopped to rest multiple times, but the majority of the time was spent walking, and it was rough going! The path was rocky, with edges of stones jutting out everywhere, and it was steep — which, of course, made it very much more enjoyable going down, less enjoyable going up.

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Look at the sun, throwing its rays over the top of the mountain! It almost hurts to look at this photo. 😉

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The pretty yellow wildflowers add a pop of color to this mostly green landscape.

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So great was the beauty around me, and so happy and light my soul, that I would have burst out singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!” if it weren’t for the many other hikers trekking along the path.

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We came across several pastures where cattle stood grazing or dozing in the hot sunshine, cowbells clinking and clanking, sounding quite like wind chimes in the breeze.

A beautiful church nestled in the pine trees.

A beautiful church, in solitary glory, nestled among the pine trees.

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A gurgling stream meandering through the valley.

Cheerful daisies dotted the hillsides.

Cheerful daisies dotted the hillsides, lifting their faces up to the sun.

The village as dusk began to fall.

Twinkling lights down in the valley as evening began to fall. Something I will never forget is standing on the deck, watching the sun sink beneath the mountains, the last rays of dusk setting the tops of the mountains on fire, staining the sky a deep blood red. (I wish I had a picture to show you, but you’ll have to use your imagination. This spectacular phenomenon lasts for only a few minutes before the sun disappears behind the mountains and all is dark, and I was so captivated watching that I totally forgot about my camera!)

That’s all for today, folks! I hope that these photos gave you a sense of the utterly magnificent and noble beauty of the Alps. Look out for the second installment (photos from Paris), coming soon.

Votre amie (Your friend), Olivia