Etretat 

Hi y’all! Welcome to my very first photo blog post! I’m clearly not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination. However, I wanted to give you all a glimpse of my time in Etretat and Honfleur. These French cities are simply too lovely and charming not to share photos from!

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Sorry mom, I definitely had to pass the guardrail for this shot!

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If you’re looking for a sandy beach, this is not your destination. However the large rocks are surprisingly comfortable to sprawl out on!

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My wild hair sure loved the wind on top of the cliff.

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What other places would you like to see photo posts from?

Leah

 

Bayeux & Normandy 

It was a cold and rainy morning in Normandy when I went to Bayeux and the Beaches of Normandy. Not atypical to the region. We hopped on a bus and made our way over to Bayeux to first see the tapestry. Fun fact: it’s not actually a tapestry, it’s an embroidery! This ancient tapestry is incredibly long and stretched throughout a dark room on display. 


The tapestry is beautiful and the audioguide helps you to understand what you’re actually looking at beyond the fact that it’s something old and lovely. After the length of the embroidery, we were guided to the museum area to learn more about the history of this ancient object. In afdition to the museum itself, there was a small theatre within to describe, in even greater detail, the story and time period.
Afterwards, we walked around in the drizzle to admire the charming town and its grand cathedral. Note: they have great sandwiches there. It’s a fact, so please try one. 


We then made our way to the beaches of Normandy. Most of our time was spent traipsing along the beaches themselves. At other times, we explored the old bunkers abandoned in the hills.


Finally, we boarded the smelly, damp bus, and made our way to the American Cemetery. There are many elements to take into account when visiting here, but I’ll keep it simple for the moment. If you are going here in search of someone, go to the museum first. I would suggest going to the museum first in general, but especially if you’re looking for a specific person. They have databases to tell you exactly where to find their plot in the cemetery. There are several monuments within the cemetery itself and they are beautiful and worth checking out. Many of them also contain maps to get your history lesson in for the day. 


This area itself is gorgeous and very ready for a picnic, so if you’re planning on making a day of it, a picnic by the sea could be a lovely break! 

Paris Nightmare Part 2

I’m sure you’re dying to hear the other part of my story, so here you go! 


After a wonderful day spent roaming the louvre and wandering Montmartre, it was time to head back to Caen. We had ended our time in the center of Montmartre at a small restaurant overlooking the square of artists. We checked the time as we finished our crepes and found that we had an hour until our bus left. Our naive selves thought this was plenty of time. We paid quickly and left the building. We realized that we had no idea where the nearest metro stop was and it turned into quite an endeavor filled with many stairs and many cars nearly crashing into us before we finally made it. We found our metro and to our dismay it was clear that this was going to be a long ride. However we didn’t start worrying until we realized that our bus left five minutes sooner than we originally thought. Frantically we looked back and forth between the metro stops and the time. It wasn’t long before we knew we weren’t going to make it. After what felt like the longest metro ride of my life, we got off with only ten minutes until our bus left. And we had no idea where the bus station was located inside the bustling metro station. We ran up and down to different floors and across the building a couple times – I realized that I needed to work out more – before we finally made it to the correct bus stop with a minute before the bus departed. There was no bus. About three minutes later, a bus pulled up next to us…as it turned out, the bus was late, not us! Finally we were able to settle in, hearts still racing, and go home to Caen. 


But the story doesn’t end there. When we returned we had to wait for about 15 minutes for the next tram. So we waited. And by the time the next one came, one of my travel pals felt too uncomfortable about getting on this bus and wanted to wait for the next one-in forty minutes. So we went to a kebab place and got some french fries as we waited. Eventually it was time to go back out, but when we got to the stop, a few guys started harassing us. I spoke german to get them to leave and eventually we just walked back anyway. So, at long last, we all made it home safely. 
Do you have any ridiculous travel stories? Share them in the comments!

Paris Transportation Nightmare Part 1

Let this story be your warning that, while booking last minute can work out fantastically and save a lot of money, use caution when you decide to do last minute trips. It was one of my first weekends of my study abroad experience and I wanted to travel. Rounding up any new friends I could, I tried to plan a trip to Brussels, but alas, by the time people committed it was simply too late.


Eventually, we decided that Paris would be just fine the day before we left. So, I booked the bus tickets mere hours before we left. Oh, and I couldn’t book a hostel or AirB&B, so a friend ended up booking us a hotel before just before we left.


We got to the bus station without a hitch and prepared for our three hour bus ride. Eventually we arrived in Paris! Unfortunately it was farther away than where we anticipated. We bought metro tickets and tried to get on. Until a man told us that it wasn’t going to work until the following morning. So we gave up and got a taxi.


I struck up a conversation with the man, and we had a great chat! He warned us that the area of our hotel wasn’t very safe and to be careful because we were nice girls. As it turns out we were in the red light district right near Moulin Rouge.

We went to the hotel and found out that it was fully booked and that our American credit card payments didn’t go through over the phone. So this man told us that his was the only safe hotel in the area, and to take the metro to Gare du Nord to get a hotel there as it was close to 1am at this point. After much insisting he still wouldn’t call us a taxi, and we ended up walking until we found one.


We ended up in Gare du Nord where we got french fries, and then walked around until we got a hotel. It was there that our guardian angel hooked us up with a great room and a great deal.

Stay tuned for the next episode!

Leah

 

Nous Restons Uni: Pray for Paris

I stand with Paris, deeply saddened, heart aching, and tears dripping. I eagerly await the news to hear that all my friends currently in Paris are safe. The world stands in solidarity with you, Paris.

All this being said, my heart goes out to the daily tragedies that go unannounced or under-attended to. Terrorist attacks on third world countries, genocide, and human trafficking, innumerable racial injustices, to name a few. DAILY terror and violation of human rights that we are so often guilty of sweeping under the rug because our media deems this less important. I would like to stress the importance and urgency of sharing this pain and loss for Paris with the rest of the world as well.

In addition, please remember that, undoubtedly, the power of prayer is enormous, but you also have the option of helping with your dollars and time. I beg you to seek out ways to help our world, our people, in whatever way you are able.

 Nous Restons Uni. 

We stay united.

Love and hope,

Leah