The last few days have been characterized by unexpected and unusual surprises. Nîmes likes to be unpredictable. For instance, you may go to do some grocery shopping and see a new sculpture being installed at a museum. Or you may run into the person who was to be the DJ at the Rotaract Club event at the bank because when not a DJ, he’s a teller at Crédit Agricole. Or you may be walking in town with a friend who runs into a guy she met at L’Instant T and has since seen several times in town. This guy will then show you where the aqueduct arrived in Nîmes (it’s the Castelleum by the fac Vauban). Then he may introduce you to some friends of his who happen to be going to l’Ardèche the next day, which happens to be where you’re going. They may offer to drive you to the town where you’re meeting your friend who rented the car for your journey. They may turn out not to be murders and get you there safely and be very nice people. Or you may become a unicorn. Wait, what? Lauren, is there something you’re not telling us about yourself? It happened like this. I was at school walking to the teacher’s lounge and I overheard one high school girl tell her friend “Ooooo, c’est l’Américaine!” (Ooooo, it’s the American girl!). I cannot describe to you just how in awe she sounded. I turned around and said “hello”. Her jaw dropped all the way to the ground. I have decided that I became a magical unicorn because really, only a unicorn sighting should have provoked such a reaction. It was rather hilarious and kind of adorable in a sort of awkward way.
And the goats? I’m getting there. Friday, my friend Stevie rented a car and Mary and I joined her and went to the Ardèche. Thankfully, Stevie knew how to drive manual! The Ardèche is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been and one day was simply nowhere near long enough to discover it. The mountains are incredible and the gorges awe-inspiring. Once you get up high enough, suddenly, unexpectedly, mountain goats with luscious beards appear. GOATee is truly an apt name for the style. We also stopped and went on a tour of La Grotte de la Madeleine. It was really awesome. I really want to go back to the region, maybe when it gets warmer, and either go hiking or kayaking.