Day 6: Trip to Arcachon

Saturday, March 18th 2017

Flight cancelled… what’s our backup plan?

Sometime yesterday, we found out that our flight to Paris got cancelled. There was some good news and bad news that followed. The bad news is that we would have to leave sooner than we had planned. The good news is that we wouldn’t have to wake up at 4 in the morning and that we were going to be taking the TGV!! TGV stands for “Train à Grande Vitesse” and is a high speed train. I learned about it in high school French class, but never thought I would have a chance to experience it myself on this trip. 😮 I was psyched!

What the TGV looks like

Dune du Pilat

I quickly grabbed a sandwich from the boulangerie and my can of Orangina to take with me to the beach. We were going into separate vehicles this time in order to drive to Arcachon. I joined seven others in a large van and off we went.

The Dune du Pilat is the tallest sand dune in all of Europe. And one of the most challenging walks upward I have ever done in my entire life. As we made our way down the inital path before the dunes, we stopped to remove our shoes. I was relieved to take my shoes off because my feet were covered with blisters, and my pinky toes kept getting squished inside. I gasped with relief as my feet sunk into the cool grains of sand.

And now the enormous mountain of sand stood in front of me in all of its grandeur and extravagance. I joined my friends, and we marched onward up the hill. My legs were undeniably burning at this point, but I had to keep moving forward (with some short breaks every couple of minutes too). Gravity was mercilessly pushing me down for every advance I made as well as the sand slipping between my feet.

And just when I thought I had reached the top… yep. There was another hill to go up. >o<

Our brave hike up the Dune du Pilat.

When I finally reached the top, I let out a huge sigh of relief and looked at the magnificent view around me. It was totally worth the struggle of getting all the way up here.


I have never seen the ocean in real life before. Seriously. So it was a big deal for me to see how amazing and vast the ocean is. A huge blanket of water full of so much wonder and mystery. All I could hear were lyrics from the song from Moana when she sings, “See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me!~

Well, it was definitely calling out to me. Because I wanted to get a closer look at the ocean from the shore. I held my friend Bing’s hand and we trekked down the hill. The way down was much easier than going up. I loved the rush of the wind running through my hair as we slid down. I almost wished I had a sled with me.

On my way down to the shore.

As I was about to run over to the shore, something in the sand caught my attention. It was a large, strange-looking pale pink blob with some limbs sticking out of it. Oh my gosh, that’s a jellyfish!

I stuck my feet into the water. And, as expected, it was freezing. After we were ready the head back, I realized that we’d have to make the dreaded hike back up the hills. Again. I attempted to keep a steady pace, but I would have to keep taking breaks every so often. As I walked, Professor Bobet told me that the ocean was the prime location for getting fresh oysters. He also jokingly told me if I needed a break from walking, I could just use it as an excuse to take a look at the ocean. So that’s what I did.

We took a break for lunch. I took large bites out of my delicious chicken sandwich and just felt so relaxed. The world felt so far away.


Afterwards, I wanted to check out the souvenir shops to buy some potential gifts for my friends back home. There were a lot of trinkets, postcards, and personalized gifts either sitting on the shelves or hanging from above. I was intrigued by this frame of colorful sand and water that made a sort of a waterfall when you turned it on its axis. So, of course, I had to buy one.


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