Tonight all of the GTL students were taken to Metz (20 min bus ride) for a tour of the city and a free pizza dinner. Besides seeing the train station, this was the first time we really got a chance to check it out.
We were dropped off in a square by the city's main cathedral and our guide (a student who's been over here for 2 years working on her masters degree) showed us some of the highlights of the city, as well as some pubs to check out. The cities old buildings were made out of a yellowish/orangish stone (or at least it's that color now) and it all had a antiquated look to it like most european cities. There are some cool squares with outdoor seating restaurants, and our guide told us to come back and try this fondu restaurant that is all you can eat for 15 euros. The highlight of the city were the churches (of course as Mom would think). We didn't go into any, but the 3 cool ones we saw from the outside were: the main cathedral-huge, the Protestant temple-sits on the river w/ swans below, and this other one that has 2 towers and a purple gate the color of Barney.
We then were the first group to the restaurant and had a deliciously, filling, free pizza dinner. Afterwards, we went searching for a bar that John mentioned sold beer by the meter...some background on people because I know Mom likes to hear about our friends: John and Erin (in the blog picture) are both EE's, Erin is in Laura's sorority, John is a Senior and this is his 2nd summer in Metz). We were bar hoping with like 10 people...some of whom we tried to ditch, but were unsuccessful. So we went to an irish pub first, not the right bar, but beer is beer. Then we went to the next pub, called O'Caroline's and bingo, found the meter long containers called 'La Girafe' - 83 oz of beer later, everyone was too tired to stay out so we headed back on the late bus.
As far as our campus goes...it's nice, we are lucky b/c we have the dorms closer to the classroom building. It's about a 5 minute walk around the lake to the building that holds the 3 classrooms, computer room, student lounge, professor offices, and 2 research labs. It's no Oxford, w/ lush gardening and a well kept quad, but still nice. Laura and I have gone on 2 runs in the morning (we don't have class until 11 am, so that allows us to go running and shower and eat before classes). On our second run (the first was a little rough after not running for weeks-months)-we headed towards the city center and came across this really big, old cemetary with huge family gravesites. We learned later from our tour guide that a lot of the families left and never came back after the German occupation in WWII, so a lot of the stones are falling over. Metz-Technopole is an area devoted to technology study and development. There are 2 French engineering schools here...both in the top 5 in France, and several research companies (I think from the building names). However, the French students have a very interesting way of school life, very different from us. They have a very intense 2 years of study (maybe similar to our freshmen/sophmore weedout years), which I think determines what schools they can get into. Then they only have to pass the remainder of the classes w/ a 10/20. They have no homeworks or projects throughout the semester...only exams at the end, which they can retake several times if need be. So they are constantly out at night in the public area of our dorm, drinking and having fun b/c they don't do work. Anyways, their students at our dorms our holding a big DJ party in a few weeks in the common room (it's a room in the dorms that has a bar, pool tables, foosball table, ping pong table...). Anyways they are very friendly and like talking to us-they had a meet and greet and several of them approached us and initiated conversations.
Well I'm probably leaving out a lot of stuff, so there will be more blogs about Metz hopefully...