Rebecca in France Spain

Rebecca is a President’s Scholar and a triple major in art history in Meadows School of the Arts and Spanish and French in Dedman College. In Summer 2009, she will begin her travels in the sunny South of France on the Cote d’Azur before continuing to Barcelona. There, she will pursue a Richter research project, studying the relationship between nationalized Catholicism, the Franco regime and parish church architecture in the Catalunya region of northeastern Spain. After Barcelona, Rebecca will continue to the Burgundy region of France, where she will volunteer as a guest worker on an organic vegetable farm before settling down for Fall 2009 in Madrid.

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A very graceful Saturday

This Saturday I was pleased beyond words to visit Monaco, the second smallest sovereign nation in the world occupying just over one square mile of precious space on the Cote d’Azur, the principality that happened to be home to my favorite actress, princess, and long-time paragon Grace Kelly.

DSC_0324.jpgIt is difficult to express how much I enjoyed my trip to Monaco. We arrived by bus early Saturday morning, all the glory and glamour of Monaco tumbling down the side of the hill our colorful bus climbed. Have I forgotten to mention our bus? It is shockingly turquoise, adorned with airbrushed space-odyssey scenes, a Venetian canal complete with gondolier, and a gap-toothed Farrah Fawcett look-alike. Only in France, the land of contradictions, would this gauche bus be captained by a delicate and cultivated woman named Francoise. I digress only because Francoise has been our driver, ambassador, historian, and friend on each and every expedition we have taken on this trip, accepting even the most unpleasant of French pronunciation with a generous smile.

Monaco was most certainly the crown jewel of the Cote d’Azur, as ironic as it may be. The inhabitants were delightful–I was even permitted to use the bathroom in a cafe without first buying something, an achievement unheard of in a corner of the world where D’abord il faut consommer! follows every request to use the facilities. I visited the Prince’s Palace, the gardens, the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, and Monte Carlo and, sick of salade nicoise, feasted on aigneau and chocolat ad nauseum.

DSC_0040.jpgIt was wonderful to follow the steps of Princesse Grace, especially to glimpse the interior of the Cathedral in which she was married in April of 1956. So popular was this Cathedral that I witnessed no fewer than three brides emerging from the church as I passed it throughout the day!

A further highlight was the principality’s aquarium which housed a wide array of both tropical and Mediterranean fish, although some of the creatures exhibited in the tanks tempted me to regret all those times I took a dip in the sea this trip.

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Before saying goodbye to Monaco (for now at least), I closed the day lounging in the principality’s official chocolaterie, musing over princesses, palaces, and, of course, dark chocolate.

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    One Response to A very graceful Saturday

    1. Ava says:

      Rebecca,

      Sounds like a dream opportunity for you. I did not study abroad during college, but was able to live in Europe for a while upon graduation. It was a life-changing experience! I have maintained those friendships and travel back for vacation when I can.

      I am interested to spend time in the places you are travling in. I can’t wait to read about your upcoming adventures. (I guess I will start to brush up on my Spanish and French by taking Continuing Ed Courses now.)

      Bon Voyage and

      Ha det sa bra (Swedish for ‘have a good time’)

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