Monday, November 2, 2009

Normandie et Mont St Michel

I should have put this up earlier, but I just kept putting it off. Anywho, I went to Normandy and Mont St Michel last weekend! It was a GW affair, so we were with all the GW kids that are in a GW program and are all best friends, etc. It was free travel, room, and food! Again, GW bought me mussels. Delicious.

First we drove up to Normandy and went to a war museum. I think it should have just been about WWII, but it went all the way up to the end of the cold war. The had letters from soldiers that you were able to read. Oh my lord, heart wrenching. One that I read was only to be sent if he was killed. It was very eerie to read it, knowing that this poor man's parents had to read the letter knowing he was dead. Reading the letters made everything much more tangible.

We also watched a movie that was footage from the storming of the beaches. You see the soldiers jumping out of the boats into the ocean, climbing up cliffs, shooting, some of them dying. Very intense. The whole time I kept wondering who was shooting the movie and whether they survived.

Then we went to Omaha beach where they have put up this cool, but rather violent memorial statue. I don't think it was the best statue to memorialize the battle, but I like the way it looks.

Next, we went to Pointe du Hoc where there are these huge craters left over from all the bombs. It's hard to tell in pictures how deep it is, but it looks like someone took 20 feet ice cream scoops out of the earth there.

We also went to the American cemetery. I hate military cemeteries. It's hard for me to take it all in, i just get very overwhelmed and sad. Something about them all being lined up perfectly, with the same grave just doesn't seem right, makes it too abstract. There were lots of flowers on graves, which surprised me, but was very sweet.

After our afternoon in Normandy we drove to Mount St Michel which is this teeny island (23 people live there) in the middle of the ocean that is home to a giant abbey. It basically looks like something out of Hogwarts. So beautiful! The abbey wasn't especially beautiful, very cold and grey, but the fact that someone had such intense faith to build this enormous church on this tiny island is pretty incredible. You're out of breath walking up the little town to the church, I can't imagine what it would have been like to be carrying building supplies on your back.

I'm really happy I went. I don't think I would have been able to get to either of those places if it wasn't for the GW trip because it's far and you need a car to see everything. So, I would say thanks GW, but I'm not going to because they're taking my tuition money while I am at another school in another country. So there GW, hope your feelings are hurt.

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