Normandy – Day 2

Êtretat

Êtretat

We had a wonderful day today touring some of the gorgeous towns in Upper Normandy today. Our day started with a drive to Etretat to see the amazing cliffs! We all had a good workout hiking to the top to take some pictures before walking along the rocky beach. We then continued on to Honfleur (birth place of Samuel de Champlain – founder of Quebec City). In this port town, we had lunch and then we had some free time to tour around and buy some souvenirs. We then drove on to Deauville where we were able to walk along one of the biggest sand beaches we’d ever seen! Now we are now back at the hotel packing our bags so we can get some sleep before heading off on the war part of our tour tomorrow morning. Luckily, today I remembered to take pictures with my phone to have some pictures to attach to this post!

Twister

Twister

This morning after breakfast we left Paris and headed out to the Normandy Region. When we arrived in Rouen, Easter Sunday mass was just beginning in the old cathedral so some of us chose to attend it. Following that, we had some free time in Rouen (where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake) so we had lunch at an outdoor cafe and then toured around. Afterwards, we took the bus to the cheese factory where we took a self-guided tour and we were able to sample some local, non-pasteurized cheeses. They were very strong! We came to the new hotel in Caen after supper where we are now enjoying some VERY competitive games of Twister! Since most of Caen was destroyed during world war 1, the hotel we’re in is much newer than the last one and has a nice unheated, outdoor pool – a few of our students took a nice polar dip as its been a bit cooler and rainy today!

Eiffel Tower Group

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Good morning and Happy Easter everyone! Our crew here is starting to get up for the day, getting ready to head out of Paris and go to Rouen. I forgot to add our group picture from the Eiffel Tower yesterday so here it is! Everyone is here except Larry (who is taking the picture) and Winston, Lois, and Gloria (who were souvenir shopping)!

Paris – Day 2

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

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We had another fantastic day of touring today! We started our day with a bus tour – we drove through many of the 20 different districts in Paris as well as by a HUGE variety of historical monuments. We drove past the bridge that is now made out of the original stones from the Bastille that was taken down during the French Revolution brick-by-brick as well as the crowded “Bridge of Love” where couples ‘seal’ their love by placing a padlock on the bridge and throwing the key into the River Seine. After our bus tour (that included a stop at Les Invalides and a coffee break across the street at the cafe), we continued on to Versailles. There we visited both the Palace as well as the gardens – we all wished we had more time it was so beautiful! When we returned to Paris, we visited Notre Dame Cathedral – it was very busy and crowded since they were preparing for the Easter Vigil. After a wonderful supper at Flam’s, we continued on to our river boat cruise. We also were able to see the light show on the Eiffel Tower…as we stood right in front of the Eiffel Tower! We returned to our hotel about an hour ago (shortly after 11pm). Tomorrow, we will be leaving Paris to go to the Normandy region.

La belle ville de Paris

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We had a fantastic first day touring in Paris yesterday! Sebastian picked us up at the airport and brought us directly to the hotel so we could drop off our luggage. Then our bus driver dropped us off right on the Champs d’Elysees. The weather was beautiful and the streets not too crowded so we walked up the street to the Arc de Triomphe to take some pictures. A few of us were able to walk the steps up the Arc to take in the view. After 1 1/2 hours there, we took the subway to the Opera Garnier and had some time to tour there. From there, we took the metro to the Louvre museum where we had about 2 hours – most of us were able to check out the Mona Lisa! By this point, many in our group were extremely tired! After a wonderful supper of Boeuf Bourginon, we were able to come back to the hotel for a well-deserved sleep! We have now all had breakfast here at the hotel and are gearing up to leave in 1/2 hour for our driving tour of Paris this morning followed by an afternoon at Versailles.

Paris, France!

We have arrived!! After a long overnight flight from Minneapolis and a shorter flight from Amsterdam, we have all arrived safely and are awaiting our luggage. The photo is from the Amsterdam airport. We are almost ready to start our full day here (it is currently 9am). More updates will follow tonight!image

Waiting…

Our connecting flight doesn’t leave for another 3 1/2 hours. So far, we’ve all had lunch, some students participated in a rousing game of Twister, and most are now playing “Cheat” with cards. I thought I would try that picture again since the first came in upside down… I think… Here’s hoping the other picture works better!image

Minneapolis MN Arrival!

We have safely arrived in Minneapolis after an uneventful flight. We had a couple of queasy stomachs but everyone is now looking for food here in the airport. Breakfast was a while ago! Hopefully my attempt at attaching our group picture (taken in Saskatoon just before we boarded our 5:38 flight) works!

ONE DAY UNTIL DEPARTURE!

Well, here it is folks!  One more sleep until we leave for France and England!  Just a reminder that we are going to meet at the airport at 3:45am tomorrow morning.  A couple of things to remember:

1) Bring your passport

2) Wear your travel jacket and comfortable travelling clothes

3) Weigh your luggage – it cannot weigh more than 50lbs (per piece)

I’m can’t wait to go! Our itinerary is full but what a great way to see a new country (or two)!