Network International Trip by Rebecca Hardcastle
On 28th May 2017, four of us Network members (as the fifth would be joining later) began our journey to a small town in France called Besancon. We chose the location based on the local culture and the availability of places to visit, which were all within walking distance.
After a very long journey, we arrived at our apartment and started to compose a list of items we would need to buy. After getting some help from Google, we made our way to the nearest shop. We had decided to cook two nights and eat out for the rest so that we could get a taste of the local culture.
When we got up the next morning, we discussed what we wanted to do for the day. Before we left England, we had created a list of places to visit, however it was all weather dependant so we didn’t want to make too many plans before arriving. We ended up deciding to get to know the local area in the morning and to see where things were. In the afternoon, we all decided to go and see the Astrological Clock. It was magnificent and very impressive, however the tour guide spoke very little English so she wasn’t able to tell us much about it. She had a small print out, but it didn’t really cover much about the history of the Clock, which was a shame. This made us realise how much of a barrier there was by us not speaking French.
Our third day in Besancon consisted of lots of walking. The purpose was to see a fort which was the last point to fall to the American Liberation during the Second World War. The views were amazing, which made the hike worthwhile, however we weren’t allowed inside the fort as it was being used for military training. We also visited the FRAC Museum – a local museum that had lots of artwork and sculptures to view.
Our fourth day took us to the Citadelle, where we went to the zoo and visited the Museum of Deportation. As this was a tourist attraction, there were audio guides available in English, so it meant we could actually understand and take in what the museum was about. It was fascinating to see the French’s view on the Second World War and how the Jewish were treated in Concentration Camps.
Overall, the trip was amazing and a great experience. It showed that we could all work together to make decisions and it made us aware of what we would want out of any future international trips. We would definitely go to an area that spoke English, as the language barrier was an issue on a few occasions during the trip. We would also research the area a little better to find out opening times of stores and places to visit, as many places were shut due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend. However, we liked the length of time that we went for, and the size of apartment worked really well as it meant that we could have our own space if we needed it.