Today was pretty eventful and exciting. I slept fairly well last night, only waking up once and then going back to sleep pretty quickly. I woke up early (around 8:15 or so) and had a European breakfast... a wonderful croissant! Then all but one of our group met up to go down to Gare du Midi for the open market that they have every Sunday. We rode a tram, which is basically a trolley but more modern looking, into Gare du Midi. There, we stopped into a cafe and most of us had some coffee and the people who hadn't eaten had some breakfast. I'm not a huge fan of coffee to begin with and this stuff was very strong, but it did the trick and woke me right up. Then, we went exploring through the market.
The market is basically like a giant flea market with people selling everything from knockoff purses to clothing to books. However, there are also lots of stands which sell food like fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and breads. The food at these stands, especially the fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper and fresher than most of the grocery stores here so this was wonderful. Many of them have samples of the foods that you can try. I sampled an orange and just had to buy some because it was one of the best oranges I've ever had. This seems quite odd because being from Florida, one would expect that the oranges here would not be quite as good, but the one I had was amazing. I bought three of them and conversed a little bit with the vendor in French, which was also quite exciting. (More on the whole language thing to come.) Hopefully these oranges will be as good as the one I tasted.
After the market, we rode the tram back a ways and got off at a big street sale that the neighborhood of Ixelles was having. Apparently they hold this sale every year and we just happened to be passing that way at the right time. Most of the stuff was second hand, but it is just neat to walk along the streets, watch people, and "window" shop at all the different stalls.
After walking up this street, we came back home where most people proceeded to take naps. I decided not to and decided instead to call my parents. We all got cheap cell phones yesterday which use SIM cards, which run on a prepaid minutes type plan. It is very expensive to call the US, but I thought it would be good to at least talk to my parents.
After that, Jessie came over to our apartment to hang out and we started to hear some music. It turns out that the Jazz Festival which we missed last night was continuing this afternoon. Three of us went down to the Place de Ferdinand du Cocq and listened to some pretty great bands. The music wasn't really jazz music, it was more just all different kinds of music. The weather was great and we just sat and listened to the different bands. It was wonderful.
Well, we have an early day tomorrow with classes starting so I've got to end this post for now. More later.
Love to all,