Monasteries, Apples, Crepes, and Rainbows!

Wow…the last few days have been so busy! Didn’t realize I hadn’t blogged in such a long time!

On Sunday, our group set out to do one of my favorite things: bike tours. Without a doubt, it’s the best way to see a city. You get to see so much more using less time, and while getting to know a new city. I also think Sundays are the best days in a new place; you get to see big, busy cities slow down. We saw a lot of historical sights because our tour guide was most interested in those things., but saw a lot of small details too. These small details make up so much personality of a city. One highlight of our Parisian bike tour was seeing the Diana Flame, the spot that marks where her fatal accident occurred.

After the bike tour, some of us (Rachel, Mary Kate, Sarah, Allie, Zach, Jacob, and Andrew) attempted to visit the Museum d’Orsay, but it was too late in the day to do it the right way. Instead, we walked along the river to the Lock Bridge (every girl’s dream), then headed to Notre Dame. I was excited to see it, and even more excited by the free admission. I love the scenery of the front and back of Notre Dame; it’s stunning. After a rainy dinner, we walked along the canals we had biked on that morning. There was a big chalkboard, games painted on the pavement, wooden bleachers…it was basically like a big playground in the middle of Paris. When people talk about rats in Paris, though, they aren’t lying. That’s all I’ll say about that.

On Monday, our group headed to Normandy for a few days. We stayed in a monastery in the town of Bayeux–a very, very small town that’s famous for its impressive tapestry. Allie, Sarah, Mary Kate, and I found the chapel at the monastery, an unexpected blessing in my day. The door was open and no was inside, so obviously we went in. This trip has given me such an appreciation for cathedrals, abbeys, etc, and getting to explore the details of this chapel was amazing. Later in the day, we walked through the Bayeux Cathedral, another beautiful masterpiece. Seeing all the different chapels, stain glass, and art within cathedrals never gets old. We found a park after that and sat in the grass soaking up in the sun and enjoying relaxing. It was a much needed, peaceful day. More peaceful than I can describe. The monastery’s atmosphere contributed to that too, a good combination. The sisters were all very nice, but looking out your window at night to see nuns walking around single-file is a little terrifying.

Being woken up on Tuesday morning by Ursula was slight torture. Hearing her German accent speaking French and English before I was fully conscious…it just wasn’t a great start to the day. For breakfast, we ate baguettes and fresh jam made by the sisters. Our group went to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, and Mont-Saint-Michele. The cemetery and memorial were pretty mind-blowing, and I felt such pride for our country when I saw the American flag waving through the air. Mont-Saint-Michele is an island that houses a cathedral, but that’s pretty much all that’s there. The island itself only has 44 inhabitants. The cathedral was much bigger than I expected, and once we were inside it felt like a maze. That night we ate dinner in Bayeux, a traditional Norman meal, aka every course had apples in it.

Yesterday (Wednesday), we had a long bus ride back to Paris but once we were back in the city, we went to the Eiffel Tower. All the way to the top! When we got off the metro, the first thing we saw was a rainbow literally going through the tower. Best scene ever. When we got to the top, the sun was setting, so we got to see another sunset plus the view with a night sky. It was pretty incredible. These are the moments I will never forget.

Tonight, we fly to Poland! Change of travel plans. Italy starting on Saturday. The fact that I can even say that is still mind-blowing. God is good!

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One thought on “Monasteries, Apples, Crepes, and Rainbows!

  1. Wow, Jenna! Sounds amazing. Sorry we missed talking while your mom and sister were here. Where will you be going in Italy? I was surprised to hear you say that you thought French was difficult. Is it the pronunciation? There’s actually a lot of similarity between French, Spanish and Italian. When I was there, kids from those countries could muddle through translating and understand the gist of the conversation.
    Love hearing all about your trip. I love you, Jenna!

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