For my first weekend trip, my roommate and I went to Nantes, a 45-minute train ride away. It’s about twice the size of Angers, so there was plenty to do. We walked to our hostel and put our stuff in the room and then walked to l’Île de Nantes, a big island between two branches of the Loire, to go to the Parc de Beaulieu. We walked around along the river and found a little playground. We rode on a zipline and teeter-totter, which I think was just what I needed after a long week of classes!
Next, we walked to l’Île de Versailles and walked through the Japanese gardens.
We walked back and sat on the steps of the cathedral while we searched online for a restaurant. We ended up going to an Italian place. I got penne with chicken and peppers and then we split a pear tart for dessert. I tried gambas (similar to shrimp or lobster) and ate the tail. My roommate, who grew up in a fishing village, laughed and explained that most people don’t eat the tail. Oops. We walked back to the hostel after dinner and found that a French girl was staying in our room with us. She was nice and said she goes to school in Angers, too.
We ate breakfast at the hostel Saturday morning (baguette with strawberry jam and cereal). We walked through the Jardin des Plantes, a big park with a birdhouse and some ponds.
After the park, we walked through the cathedral, which had the most colorful stained-glass windows I’ve seen.
We ate lunch at a small French restaurant and I had a ham and egg galette and we split a chocolate almond banana ice cream crêpe. That was a mouthful (no pun intended).
We went back to l’Île de Nantes to Les Machines de l’Île, a museum of machines made to look like animals.
While walking around downtown, we heard a a few street performers (some violinists and a band singing English songs and playing drums and guitar). We walked through a mall called Passage Pommeraye and then went to an Irish pub for dinner where I tried a battered calamari appetizer.
On Sunday, we went to the Natural History Museum and saw live snakes and stuffed birds and other animals from around the world.
We went to a sushi place for lunch (I had never tried sushi before). The appetizers were a cabbage salad and miso soup with mushrooms, tofu, and seaweed. I tried cheese, salmon, tuna, and fish eggs sushi. The cheese and fish egg rolls were my favorite.
We ended our trip by walking around the castle.