The past two weekends have been incredible because I’ve got to spend them with family!  Since I do not have any classes on Fridays, I had a three-day weekend to travel to Munich for a “family” reunion on September 15!  My parents, my brother, and my extended family all traveled from California for the special weekend together.  I say “family” reunion because German and American friends also came along, it was incredible!  We spent Friday and Saturday exploring the city, and on Sunday we travelled to a small village about an hour and a half from the city for the formal reunion.  I studied in Paris during the summer before my UCEAP program started in Bordeaux, so it was so nice to be with loved ones after three months apart.   

This was my first major trip from Bordeaux, so I had the opportunity to better learn how to use the airport here!  The bus line 1 takes riders to the airport, and the ride was free with my Bordeaux public transit card (or the TBM card as they’d call it here).  Volotea is the only airline that flies directly from Bordeaux to Munich, but their flights only run once on Fridays and once on Mondays.  Unfortunately, the timing didn’t’ work out for me, so I had to fly with Air France and stopover in Paris…which is where I had my first major travel problem.  It was only after leaving Bordeaux that I realized I was traveling to the Paris Orly Airport, and that my connecting flight from Paris to Munich would be leaving from Charles de Gaulle…which is a completely different airport.  Oops!  Luckily I figured out how to take the one-hour bus ride between the airports pretty easily after the panic subsided.  I even made my second flight (which was delayed to my advantage)!  

I went back to Bordeaux that Sunday evening, but luckily for me, Munich wouldn’t be the last place I’d see my parents!  They came to Bordeaux on September 21 for another three-day weekend together!  

We spent one day in the beautiful village of Saint-Emilion, about a one-hour trip outside of Bordeaux by train.  Even better, the train tickets were only €7.50 each way!  This is a trip you must make during your stay in Bordeaux.  The charming medieval village is surrounded by beautiful vineyards, and is the home of the original macarons in France, brought over by nuns.  

Our other two days were well-spent in Bordeaux.  I shopped for some much-needed winter clothes on the famous Rue Saint-Catherine with my mom, and I got to take her to my favorite crêperie in the city.  We also took advantage of the VCub city bike rental system offered here in Bordeaux.  For €1.50 for 24 hours, you can rent a bike and park it at the various stations which can be easily found all over the city.  We rode to the beautiful Jardin Public, and then along the paths next to the Garonne until we reached la Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s museum on the history of wine.   

 Needless to say, it was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to my parents at the train station last Sunday, but I am beyond thankful that they had the opportunity to come to Bordeaux.  It was so much fun to show them around my new home!  

Natasha Szombathy studied abroad in Bordeaux, France in 2017: