With two weeks left in the term, and with most of our work complete everyone is looking forward to the trip to Prague. But before we left we had a few memorable days.
During our last week in Aix we not only had perfect weather, a balmy 60 degrees, but in my opinion the two best promenade art days.
Last Thursday we loaded up the van and headed out into the countryside. After driving for about 45 minutes we stopped for picnic supplies then continued on our way to a medieval town that is home to a 13th century castle which we found out you can't get to.
Afterwards we found a small road that went up into the hills.
We took about an hour and a half to do some painting, napping, and of course play some frisbee. Recently frisbee has become the group pastime.
Playing any time we have an open space, whether on the beach, going down a mountain, or at the Parc Jourdan, we always have time.
Last Saturday, all classes and work are done, and we are getting ready to leave for Prague the next morning.
The day is all about relaxation, so we headed to the beach town of Cassis. Even though the water was about 45 degrees it didn't stop any of us from going for a quick plunge. After lying on the beach for a few hours we got back in the van and made one last stop at the top of the cliffs that over look the town of Cassis.
The view was absurd, and so are the photos.
(Our mountain: Mt. Ste Victoire from a couple thousand feet)
When we first arrived in Prague everyone was a little suspect because of the trip into the city because it looked a bit sketchy.
But once we were in the actual city everybody's minds changed.
The city is beautiful, and it helped that the weather was perfect everyday.
Our days consisted of waking up at 9, grabbing breakfast at the all you can eat breakfast buffet, then heading out in our three person groups for a two hour sketching solo.
My personal favorite spot to sketch was the Charles Bridge.
(Cool sculpture made from tires)
Due to the perfect weather we spent all of our free time wandering around the city taking in all the culture because according to Dave "we may never be here again."
On Wednesday night we celebrated Connor's and Tucker's birthdays at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Beethoven lived in Prague, as did Mozart.
The night was completed when some Czech rock band came on stage and even though we couldn't understand anything it was the highlight of my night. Of course the artist we studied was Alphonse Mucha. His work is all over Prague and the world.
Connor in front of Mucha's portrait of Josephine Crane as "Slavia"
Vincent van Gogh
Our local artists Cezanne and van Gogh seem to be everywhere we go.
We see these locks of love on all bridges in our travels.
Pretty profound ideas especially during the political tension and revolution in the Ukraine, nearby neighbors
Now that we are finally back in Aix and we only have two more days we are spending our time cleaning up the house for the next group, and finalizing our book project that we have been working on for the last two months. It is going to be weird not living with this group that I have grown so close to, and even weirder thinking that a whole new group will be living here next term.
Below are closing thoughts from my friends.
My time in Europe has been amazing, I couldn't have asked for a better group or a better place to spend my senior winter. I think that rarely does a group of close friends make up an off campus program and we all felt like a hectic family from the beginning. I don't think Dave and Jen have ever had a group as rowdy as ours and I'd like to thank them for putting up with us. - Ian
I have had an amazing time in Europe during my winter term. The experiences and adventures throughout the last two months have made me love the French culture even more then I already had. I am so glad that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity because the trip was a learning experience beyond typical school boundaries. The photo shown was taken in Cassis, France and to me it is the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. The program exceeded my highest expectations, and I must thank Dave and Jen for an amazing time here in Aix-en-Provence. - Michelle
I guess words can't describe this experience. Being a part of a small intimate group of people has made not only me, but everyone grow as individuals. We all have experienced new things, whether it was trying new foods, seeing amazing places, having class at Le Festival, going on crazy excursions with Dave or hiking the Tete. Doing so, we have become more confident in ourselves and have grown as individuals. For me, coming on this program, I didn't know what it would be like because I wasn't really friends or didn't know everyone in the group. I have to admit the first two weeks were hard because we were all getting to know each other, but now on our last day I have looked back and can honestly say that I am leaving this place with a new group of friends and a new group of people I can call a family. I can't thank Dave and Jen enough for all the work and time they have put in to making our experience the best it could possibly be. I guess the saying is right "time flies when you’re having fun". I wish it wasn't true but I guess you have to face reality and make the absolute best of your time and then you will be completely satisfied. Going home is a little bittersweet, but I know I will never forget this incredible experience her in France. - Abby
I would like to thank Jen and Dave for taking care and looking after us for these last nine weeks! This experience would not have been the same without you guys. This has been some of the best two months of my life and I am so glad to have been given this amazing opportunity! Thanks so much again and we will be thinking of you next term back at Proctor! Sincerely, Sam Barrett
It's hard to believe that it's all coming to an end. Spending two months in France is a truly unique experience. I want to reflect on a painting that we did half way through the term. The painting of the bird that looks like a 1st grader painted it was my first attempt. After giving it a second attempt the middle bird is what I was able to produce. After working with Dave for hours I was able to paint a masterpiece. I'm very proud of the last bird because it reminds me of how far I have come as an artist on this experiential learning program. - Connor
We are leaving. It is done. We are going home. Our time here flew by so fast, and now it is time to pack up and say goodbye. It is hard, I’ll admit, to leave here. This beautiful place has provided so many memories that will last for my lifetime, and has been my home for the last nine weeks. Rarely is home the place you would assume it to be. Home can be many places. I have many homes. And now, this is one of them. Parallel with home is family, because they occupy your home. Over these last nine weeks Dave has become like a father, Jen a mother, Sophie a sister, Tucker a brother etc... Family does not have to be blood related, and this is the best example. Later in life I hope to return to Aix and maybe even the same house, this place is very meaningful. Thank you so much Jen and Dave, for making this so awesome and putting up with us for the last nine weeks. Family! - Sam Fisher
I may look depressed in this picture, but that is not true. European Art Classroom was awesome. I chose this picture because I think I look deep in thought, which makes sense. EAC was a time of reflection and discovery for me. And through this experience, I will come back a new man. Thanks Jen and Dave! - Tucker Peters
Euro has been the best experience of my life. I know that might be cliché but it is true. I've been able to live with 10 other amazing people and I get to be a part of a big family. I was able to come into a situation uncomfortable and leave with a complete sense of comfort in my new home. I am saddened and happy to be heading home but I will always remember this place and hope to come back in the future. - Sophie
As our last day in Aix ends and I look back on the whole Euro experience I will always remember the group and how our dynamic was so different than anything I have dealt with. From our days in class, to promenades with Dave, and our epic trips to London, Paris, and Prague, we were laughing the whole way. It really never stopped. So looking back on the trip I think I will remember how much our group felt like a family. We all saw each other in our high's and our low's, so I think that is what really brought us together and gave us the comfort that we all had with each other. - Jonathan