Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
Well, we made it to Paris! Evryone is currently safe in their Hotel Campanile rooms. Many are even headed off to sweet dreamland. :-)
Today was a very interesting day. Chris stated that he learned more today than he did all year in history. It is amazing how being able to see it brings it all home.
We began by saying goodbye to the host families. They were great! Jessica and Alex cried. Then we headed off to Verdun. Verdun is the sight of the Battle of Verdun from WW1. It lasted over 300 days and cost almost 700000 lives one way or another. At the memorial, they showed us a film and allowed us to view the memorabilia. When the soldiers were not fighting, they did artwork! They also had a life size version of a trench. Then we headed to the Ossuary - the home of the bones. They had over 130000 bones of unknown soldiers - both French and German. We watched another and then climbed to the top. By this time it was pouring down rain.
We walked the chapel and the halls with the plaques fo rthe dead. It was very moving. The kids will never look at the landscape the same way again. They were shown how warfare can literally change the shape of the land. We finished at the Bayonet Trench. This is where they found bayonets sticking up out of the ground. It was the indication that below were dead men. The tanks rolled over the trench burying the soldiers alive.
Finally we set off for Paris in the rain.
Mohammed - our driver - managed to get us here in one piece. There was a problem with the rooms that was managed and then we headed out. We saw the outside of Notre Dame. We saw the Latin Quarter - named after the language that was tought there - not the Latino race. :-)
We had a lovely dinner of either salmon, steak or vegetarian. Many tried snails for the first time. Yummy! Then we did some shopping and headed back to the hotel.
Tomorrow, we head for the Arc d' Triomphe, a river cruise, the Louvre and everything else we can fit in.
Have a great day,