Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saturday, March 24th, 2012












Namaste,

Up for our last full day in France. Down to breakfast and then back on the bus. We headed the Renne to the village where Joan of Arc ruled. We went to her cathedral, walked the village she lived in and then went to the place where she was burned at the stake. We did a little shopping too! ;-) Back on the bus and back towards Versailles... By this time we were all exhausted! Versailles is so over the top, that it was almost fake. Everything is gilded in gold and the opulence gives you an idea why the French revolution happened. We spent about four hours there before heading to the hotel for our last night. We checked into the hotel and then took the subway back to Notre Dame. We had dinner and then we all split to finish our shopping. Sherrie and I had to buy a giant duffel bag to bring home all the stuff we bought! On the way back to the hotel there were a couple drunk French guys that started yelling on the metro. I had to puff up and show them who was boss! Don't try to intimidate me or my kid's.... I break you off at the knee's! Just sayin! Back to the hotel to finish packing for the early departure!

Love you all!

Mat

Friday, March 23rd, 2012















Namaste,

Up and straight to the breakfast room. Coffee, coffee, coffee! ;-) We had breakfast and then I ran out to the beach. The sun was just coming up and the sky was beautiful. We loaded the bus and headed up to Point Du Hoc. This was the German lookout point for the D-Day invasion. We were about 110 feet above the water and it was hard to fathom how that place was taken. We left there and headed to the American Cemetery at Normandy. It was so crazy to be there. I always knew that someday I would be there. Sherrie and I went the opposite direction from the rest of the group. We walked the whole place and I took 100 pictures. We only had an hour and a half but it was enough..... We loaded the bus and headed to Omaha Beach. The village there was just beautiful and we all stopped in little deli's for lunch. We made our way to the Canadian Cemetery and museum there. It was much smaller but very beautiful. From there we headed to the Peace Museum in Caen. We had dinner in the museum and then went to check in at our hotel. Our guide Gills (Jill) has an apartment there and several kid's including Trey went for a couple hour walk with him. I had planned on staying at the hotel and editing pictures but the group from Springfield wanted to go for a walk and their teacher didn't! We walked for miles and miles. These kids were older than all of the other kids they were hilarious. We got back to the hotel and I crashed!

Love you all!

Mat

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012











Namaste,

We had breakfast and left Loches for the coast. It was a three and a half hour bus ride. I edited pictures and listened to music. Our guide Gills (Jill) had us stop at a market and buy stuff for a pik-nik. Sherrie and I bought some croissants, nutella, bananas, and  cheese. We stopped at a park on the outside of Mont Saint-Michel. This is a place where I have seen in pictures and always thought it would be cool to visit. I wish we could have been there at night. The sun was very direct and the pictures did not come out very good. We made our way to the island. The village is situated in the middle of the tidal pool, and it has the fastest moving tide in the world. There are pilgrims that walk from the coast to the island across the tidal shores, and the bad part is there are areas of quick sand, so it is a journey of faith. We went to the cathedral to find out there was a government strike and the cathedral was closed. We walked around the island for an hour and then back to the bus. From there we went to the fishing village of St Malo. This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Chateaubriand ruled this area and is buried just off the coast on an island. Sherrie and I walked the village wall, and I took some great pictures. We found more chocolate and then headed back to the bus. We went up the coast to the Saint-Cast Le Guildo. The hotel was hundreds of years old and we were on the fourth floor. The beach was awesome and after dinner several of us went out and walked down the beach. It was a busy day...

Love you all!

Mat

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012












Namaste,

Up and across the street for breakfast. We got smart and got to breakfast before the rest of the group. We loaded the bus and headed up the road to the village of Amboise. We went to Clos-Luce which is the chateaux where Leonardo DaVinci spent the last three years of his life. It was really cool, and I don't think anyone really knows how much he did. He was a weird dude, but made all kinds of things that we still use today. We walked around Amboise and found some chocolate. We loaded back up on the bus and went to a winery. It was Plou & Bils.... We went through the factory and then the tasting room. Everyone, and I mean everyone tasted about seven wines. The kids were funny! We headed back to Amboise for lunch and then to Chateaux De Chenonceau. This was my favorite chateaux. It is built over a river and has a beautiful garden. We only had a couple of hours there before loading the bus. Our last Chateauxof the day we visited was Amboise. This has a cool little chapel where Da Vinci is burried. We had dinner in troglodyte. Basically a cave! I honestly an tell you dinner was gross. It was pork pate but the atmosphere was cool. We headed back to Loches and then crashed out.

Love you all!

Mat

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012








Namaste,

Well breakfast in France consist of very small cups of coffee, baguette's, and a croissant. We loaded the bus and headed out. Our first stop was about an hour and a half to the east of Paris. We went to the cathedral of Chartes. There are several spectacular things about Chartes.... One the Cathedral was built in 743AD, and has been burned several times over the years Chartes has one of the most amazing displays of stained glass in the world. The blues are a deeper blue than they can even produce with today's technology. We had free time in the village for a couple of hours. Sherrie and I did some shopping and then found a Brasserie (Bakery). We had sandwiches and pastry.... We loaded back up on the bus and went to Chambord. We had a couple of hours there to tour the Chateau... It was massive. We walked and walked, and walked! I ran down the road and took several pictures before loading back on the bus and heading to the hotel in Loches. Loches was a cool little village.... We had these awesome little condos and the village was old and historic. We had raw egg crepes for dinner and then back to the condo.

Love you all!

Mat

Monday, March 19th, 2012






Namaste,

There is no way I can detail everything but I will try to hit the highlights. Soooo up at the butt crack of dawn, and down for coffee. We had breakfast and then onto the bus. We had a guide that came with us, and we took a bus tour of the Champs-√Člys√©es,  Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, &  Eiffel Tower. We begged and they stopped the bus at The Eiffel Tower and we had 20 minutes to take pictures. I left Trey and Sherrie and ran almost all the way to the tower to take pictures. We got back on the bus and went to lunch. We took a walking tour around the area and ended up at the Louvre. We only had two hours there but Sherrie and I made it to the Mona Lisa, The Coronation of Napoleon, and then to the Statue Gallery. We met back in the lobby and walked to the Eiffel Tower for a couple more hours. Some of the kids climbed the tower but Sherrie and I made our way all around the area to get the best views. We met back and went to dinner, and then we had the opportunity to do a night tour, which was the top of a 55 story tower, and then a boat ride down the Seine River passing the Tower, and Notre Dame at night. It was beautiful. We got back to the hotel and packed to head to the Lorie Valley.

That's all I have time for right now... I have a pounding headache and have to get to work!

Love you all!

Mat

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just a note....





Namaste,

WiFi has been difficult and slow.... I will detail the trip when I get home... I have taken over 2,000 images and have edited 603 so far. There are some really special ones, and some that are going to take a lot of work. I have met some awesome people on this trip. I just returned from a walk with a group of high school kids from Springfield, Missouri. They are some real funny kids. I will post a couple pics now to tease you!

:-)  Love you!

Mat