WE WENT TO FRANCE!
Originally posted on September 19, 2016
I know that I have been too busy making music to do any blog posts, so I am going to let you know about an exciting trip we had. I have been planning on visiting my sister in Paris for many years. Life happens. Between job loss, lack of funds, time off from a new job, buying a new house, getting sick, France has been on the back burner. Until now!
We were in my hometown Philadelphia for a couple of days. Brian has never been there before, so I took him to all the fun touristy places: His first cheesesteak (not at Pat’s or Geno’s, BTW), Scrapple breakfast, soft pretzels, TastyCakes, The Philadelphia Art Museum (a.k.a The Rocky Steps), The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and great Italian food at Victor’s Cafe. We got to see some of my cousins as well. After two days of Colonial history and stuffing ourselves silly, we were ready to start our international trip.
Then we have a layover in Warsaw, Poland for a day. If you’ve seen the movie “The Pianist”, then you would be familiar with the Warsaw Uprising during WWII. We paid a local guide to take us around Warsaw, seeing the important historical sites related to this event. I know a lot about WWII history, but our guide taught us so many new things. Warsaw hasn’t really recovered from the war completely. It was eye opening and somber to see the ghetto wall, the relocation platform, what’s left of one of the ghettos, and the bunkers. We had time to have some delicious Polish pastries while we were there, and some tea. We only had 7 hours before we had to go back to the airport. Next stop-Paris!
We were in Paris for a week, visiting my sister, and a few of my friends. I had been waiting for this trip since grade school, so I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Real croissants, pain au chocolate, macarons, to start. It really is a food paradise. Of course we went to all the must see sights: The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Opera Garnier, Invalides, The Louvre, L’orangerie, Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame, and a few other places.
We saw a wonderful concert at the Sainte Chappelle Church. The stained glass is so stunning. They had a string quartet playing Bach music. It was really wonderful.
I took a tour of all the fabric store in Paris, where the haute couture houses buy their fabric. I had to buy a piece of luggage to get all the fabric home.
As you can see on the schedule, we were able to get in a music performance while we were over there.
One of my Bible college teachers, Bill Hansen, is a Pastor in Maison-Lafitte, which is outside of Paris. We spent a day with him and his church, while Brian and I performed some music for them.
Funny story is, we got lost on The RER (commuter train). We forgot our portable wifi unit on top of it, so we couldn’t phone the church to tell them we were going to be late. I was able to ask directions in French and a lot of nice people helped us get to our destination.
We had a wonderful concert, lunch afterwards, and testimony time. It was good to meet the church and spend time with my former teacher. A lady at church accompanied us back to our hotel so we wouldn’t get lost again.
After a wonderful time in Paris, we were off to Normandy.
I have a late Uncle who fought on Omaha Beach during WWII, so we went to the D-Day Beaches to pay our respects. Perhaps you have a loved one that served there? We paid for a tour guide to take us to the many historical places related to D-Day. It really was surreal to finally see the beaches and villages where it all went down. We got to see Colleville Sur La Mer, the famous American cemetery, just in time for Taps. I got to write my Uncle’s name in the sand at Omaha.
We stayed with a French family in Rouen nearby. They have a farm with horses, chickens, a walnut tree, and vegetables. It was incredible eating all the fresh food at their table. We walked around the town of Rouen, which is famous for Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake because of her great faith and visions from God. We were going to sing some music for our host family and friends, but we got the flu.
Our last leg of the trip was in Avignon, in the south of France. We stayed with another French family who are also musicians. They took us to see the Papal Palace from the 10th century. We had some delicious food and a tour of the city and villages. It was a wonderful time together. We were still sick, and got our host sick, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to perform any music with them.