Onto bigger and better things, Dan and I head to Marseille, having lined up a host job at a field centre ‘in the middle of nowhere.”
The Eagles Nest is a field centre run by Discover LTD, who run another field centre similar, in Morocco. The centre is located 4 hours from Marseille, in the Parc National Des Cèvennes, 1300 metres high (nearly as high as Ben Nevis) halfway up Mont Lozere.
The centre hosts up to 96 students, plus teachers, and is fitted out to accommodate the masses, with everything you could possibly need, “in the middle of nowhere.” A bar, a games room, several common rooms, staff lodges, a kitchen that tickles any foodies fancy, a view to die for, and a forest/mountain on your doorstep, waiting to be climbed.
Students studying geography, geology and Eco-stuff come to the centre as part of a high school trip, or university trip, some compulsory to pass, some voluntary.
As you may be able to tell due to my lack of ‘lingo’ or science interest, Dan and I were not hired as teachers or tutors. We were hired as ‘domestic staff’, cleaning, washing, folding, carrying etc…fairly basic and right up our alley. Not that we’re basic…
Our first batch of students arrive and the procedures commence abruptly, “Stand and wave as the bus pulls up.”
30 Edinburgh University students step off, looking a tad worse for wear after their 24 hour bus journey…
The concept of driving from England to France is baffling to me…
I have been asked if there are tunnels from New Zealand to Australia.. And NO there aren’t! To get out of New Zealand a flight commending of a minimum of 2 1/2 hours is in order. In Europe, it seems you can drive everywhere… It’s brilliant!
Anyway, the students arrive and the following week enlightens us as to what we’ve got ourselves in for, for the next 5 months.
The work is fairly basic and we cruise through it, morning shift beginning at 6am (with a wee drive to the local baker, a crazy French man!) finishing at 11am or 12pm. Beginning again at 6, depending on how many schools we have in, finishing around 9, and bar duty twice a week until 11pm.
We spend our days hiking up the fabulous Mont Lozere, which, if it’s a clear day, provides the perfect spot to see the French Alps.
Using the Staff car to explore the local towns, which are FABULOUS.
The closest village is Pont, with a population of 14. Then there’s hippie central, Florac, which hosts a great Thursday Market, and Mont which is the ‘big’ village which has a supermarket and shops. That’s as far as we’ve got so far, but I’m sure we’ll branch out as summer creeps up.
Talking of weather, because we’re at such a high altitude, the weather is fairly erratic. The first four days were sunny, with temperatures around 24. The day Edinburgh university arrived, it decided to snow!
It snowed for two days, then rained for two days, and now the sun has come back to say a brief hello… And it’s back to thunderstorms!
The photos are of our visit to Florac, and Saint Enimie.