We are finally in the groove of school now that we have been here for a week and are starting to have real lectures and quizzes. The lectures here are so long. We have two classes daily, three hours for each. It’s pretty painful for us all to sit in the same spots for that long. Our professors really know what they’re talking about and speak English very well even though they are embarrassed by their English. The lecture topics are pretty general agricultural topics and this week we are talking mostly about animals in agriculture.
Tuesday we didn’t have class (yay!) and went on a field trip instead. We visited two places, one was a sheep farm and the other was a Roquefort cheese cave. The day was so long due to about 7 hours of driving and only around 3 hours of actual field trip activities. The farm we went to had about 700 ewes that are milked. Their milk is mostly used to produce cheese, and in this specific area it’s used mostly to make Roquefort. The farm is about a century old and the owners were very hospitable and provided us with wine, cheese, and two different desserts to go with the food we had brought already. The farm life isn’t really my thing, but it was interesting to learn about the sheep!
Roquefort cheese is special to the area of France that we are near. Actually, it is the only place in the world that makes this kind of cheese and it is illegal to make it elsewhere because it isn’t authentic. If you haven’t had Roquefort before…it is an extremely strong blue cheese. I think it’s great although I sometimes eat around the parts that are too “blue” because too much of it freaks me out. The flavor is excellent though if you like strong cheese. The legend of Roquefort goes something like this: there was a guy and he was in a cave getting ready to eat some bread and cheese when he saw a beautiful woman and he followed her for a very long time. He eventually came back to see that his cheese had mold on it but he ate it anyways and realized it was delicious. Did he get the girl? I don’t know, but he got the cheese so that’s a positive. The caves were freezing and smelled as musty as one would expect. We learned all about the cheese making process and how long it takes for the Roquefort to ripen. We also found out that there are three types of Roquefort and one of them is pretty rare but we were lucky enough to try it!
Things I’ve Noticed:
French people stare at us…especially our shoes
Food delivery is done by mopeds
French people love to say “no problem”
Charter buses are terribly uncomfortable for more than half an hour
Croissants are good anywhere over here…even out of vending machines