Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aix Marks the Spot

As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I was lucky enough to have the chance to spend my third year of university studying in Aix  (pronounced ex) en Provence, a charming town in the South of France.    

To this day, it remains one of the best experiences of my life: I was living in a gorgeous city where I got to speak French everyday, I got to meet like-minded students from all around the world, I spent far more time galavanting and cafe hopping than I ever did studying and I had Europe at my fingertips. It was an almost entirely carefree time, a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will surely never experience again.

With so many fond memories of that year, the city of Aix held a very special place in my heart. Four years down the line I found myself on holiday with Ben's family in the French Alps, with Aix just a five hour drive away. I wanted so badly to re-visit the place I'd once called home but was also apprehensive; Would it still seem as magical as it once had? Would returning spoil the near-perfect image I had of the city, and of that year as a whole?

I decided to chance it, and so Ben and I made the five hour drive south. I was anything but disappointed. The city was every bit as wonderful and special as I remembered (and Ben enjoyed it too, which was a plus!) Some things had changed (like the addition of several bagel shops - four years ago bagels were nonexistent in Aix!) but for the most part it was just as it was when I left.

Pavillon Vendome

Place d'Albertas

Sunflowers at the market

Bagels are coming!

Whether it's sharing street food with locals in Myanmar or spotting wild cassowaries in Australia, travel experiences can rarely be replicated or recreated. They're unique, one of a kind, and my year studying abroad was no exception. Be that as it may, visiting Aix this time around was a beautiful walk down memory lane, one that I got to share with Ben. And I can't ask for much more than that.

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