For some of my friends and I who aren’t on campus this J-Term, there’s a familiar catchphrase trending on our Facebook feeds lately. Whenever we see posts from our friends about how brutal winter is back in Decorah, we’re quick to tease, “Hellooo from the other siiiiide”... Thanks to being in warmer climates! Well actually, it does sometimes gets really cold and windy here in Tours and let me not forget to mention how less heated many French homes are compared to the heating systems I know of back in Decorah. I’m always in my warm apparel whether at home or outside, but the coldness here is definitely not same when held against places like Iowa. The weather in Tours since our group arrived has fairly been what we’ve anticipated; rain showers, cloudy skies, and some sunshine… but little did we expect snowfall.
Today we had a mixture of snow, ice, and rain with a brief shower or two by evening time. I for one was a little surprised to see snow showers this morning on my way to work. Why? Because I recall randomly asking during the first week of my trip if it ever snowed in Tours. I could vouch hearing someone say “It never snows in Tours” and another “Oh it does… only once in like forever”. Truth is, snow used to be very rare in Tours and it’s only until recent years that snow has fallen regularly. Precipitation rather comes in the form of light rain showers on over half of the day each month. Given how rarely it snows here in Tours, there aren’t many systems in place to handle huge snowfalls. Usually schools get closed, public buses and transports get halted even with light snowfalls.
This morning we had about two to three inches of snow but I was glad to see things move on as usual. The director of the institute where I was studying expressed concern about me not making it to work today due to the snow, but thankfully all the bus systems (FilBleu) were still operating. However, I didn’t see any snowplows on the streets, (although I think there should have been a few) so vehicles just moved on the snowy streets with very reduced speeds to avoid gliding. For most parts of nearby towns in and around Tours, snow covered the streets and sidewalks for most part of the day until they begun to melt into ice and water by evening time. However, something interesting happened that would have never happened back in Decorah- the snow caused a citywide blackout. It didn’t last long, less than an hour, but it was incredibly interesting to see how little Tours was prepared for snow.
I think this was a great experience sharing the mixed feelings of snow showers with many people Tours. The wet snow left very beautiful sceneries in some parts of town that I couldn’t help but capture on camera. I must be lucky… For I have seen snow in Tours for which many, both in the past and perhaps now, have longed to see.
Today I woke up to fresh white snow falling just outside my window, and thought “am I back in Decorah already?”
The answer was no. Here in Tours, snow fell all morning and afternoon, which is pretty rare for this part of France. I, not being a snow-lover, was not excited to go outside and trudge through it. But, I overlooked the differences between when it snows here versus at home. Unlike at home, I have to walk everywhere instead of drive, which is definitely less fun when snow is flying in your face and your boots are getting wet. Here, no one is really accustomed to or equipped for this type of weather, so a lot of things were cancelled, and a lot of places were closed for the day.
A couple of friends and I decided to make the most of the snow day, and have lunch together at a nice crêperie. Even though it was a long walk from my house, I decided that if I could survive Midwest winters, I could survive a 35-minute walk in the snow. I’m glad that I did, because the crêpes were absolutely delicious, and of course I always enjoy the company of good friends.
After lunch, I still had to go work, because my internship is at an opera house, and it’s tech week for “La Cenerentola,” by Rossini. Even though the snow affected most of Tours, it wouldn’t shake the musicians who had a premier in a few days! Today was a dress rehearsal, and the weather caused the power to go out in the middle of rehearsal. The musicians kept singing and playing as if nothing were happening, (there were emergency lights that came on, so you could still see,) while all of the people backstage were freaking out. It lasted about five minutes, and then the power came back on. It was cool to see the way the musicians handled something they weren’t used to, because the show was more important to them.
Although we had to endure the unexpected and unfavorable snow, we are all still very excited to be here and face new challenges. I’m happy to be able to have this experience and to learn something new everyday.