After spending last weekend at Disneyland Paris (you are never too old for Disneyland!) I figured that this weekend I should probably spend my time doing something a little more educational. With 50 other BIA students I left Paris behind (way too early in the morning in my opinion) for a weekend adventure to Normandy.
Our first stop was the Memorial de Caen, a museum dedicated to the history of WWI and WWII. It has been years since I have taken a history class, so I definitely needed the refresher. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I got to the part of the museum about D-Day (or Jour J as it is called here in France).
From Caen we went on to the little town of Asnelles-sur-Mer, right on the coast. Staying with everyone in the hostel felt like back in elementary school when we went on field camping trips. We had the afternoon free to spend on the beach in the surprisingly beautiful weather (it is supposed to rain all the time in Normandy, but it was sunny and warm-ish the whole time we were there!) The tide was way out, exposing the remnants of the artificial harbour built by the British during WWII. For dinner, we ate sting ray (or in my case, tasted) which is a traditional food in Normandy. I really wanted to like it, but I kept picturing a live sting ray and it freaked me out!
In the morning, we toured the D-Day Museum in Arromanches where we learned how to artificial harbours were built. It really is amazing that they managed to put together an entire harbour in a matter of days. Our last stop of the weekend was the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville. The cemetery was a very poignant reminder of all those who died fighting for the world as we know it. World War II had always seemed like such a distant event, completely detached from my life. I knew that an extraordinary number of people lost their lives in the conflict, but seeing the seemingly endless rows of white crosses, it all seemed so much more real. Normandy still bears the scars of the past, from it’s memorials for lost soldiers to it’s beaches strewn with pieces of history.
While parts of the weekend were more somber, I had an amazing time bonding with my fellow IES students. It is amazing how much you learn about people when you are on a four hour bus ride. Normandy was just the first of many adventures!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Mimi Price and I am a junior at Santa Clara University where I study French, Economics and International Business. I have been looking forward to study abroad my whole life and I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to study in Paris. By the end of my program, I hope that I no longer feel like a tourist, but feel that Paris is my home. My goal is to embrace all that Paris has to offer from the language to the culture to the history. My hobbies include shopping and eating, so I think that Paris will be a good place for me!</span></p>