Tuesday, June 5, 2012

À bientôt...

Hello everyone. As I am writing probably the last post on the blog, I'd like to thank Dr. Donovan for putting on this trip for all of us. She has worked harder than any of us could even imagine just to insure that we learn about Paris and have a great time. By now, we've all gone our separate ways. Some have gone home, and others have decided to continue our time away from home. Whenever we return, it is important to remember that we are no longer the same person as before we left. Living in another culture changes one's perspective of everything. We learned to live in the modest sized apartments and navigate the métro (subway) system. We experienced different foods (duck is delicious!), shopped at different stores, and ate at different restaurants. All of these things together will be forever etched in our minds and forever change who we are. Don't be scared, we're still the ones you loved before, but more cultured and cognizant of the world instead of just America. It's a big world out there, and I recommend that everyone has our experiences at some point in their lives. To all those at home, see you soon!

Chris Kurensky
Current Location: Lyon, France

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last Friday we went to four chateaux (castles). Our excursion to the chateaux in the Loire River valley was one of my favorite days of our trip. We caught an early train to Tours and made our way to the vans. First we saw Clos Lucé, the home of Leonardo da Vinci. One of the rooms we visited in the chateau was his bedroom, and they also had an exhibit of models of his inventions. The park next to the chateau was full of larger versions of his inventions, including a catapult, a "helicopter," paddle boats, and many more. Loved the interactive features of the park. Next we went to Amboise. The majority of the chateau has been destroyed, and little is left. I really enjoyed the gardens there and the view of the river. The chateau is situated right in the town of Amboise, and we had lunch in a cafe after visiting the chateau. I had confit de canard avec frites (duck with fries). It was really good! Next we went to Chambord, a chateau with a renaissance architecture style. When we first walked in it smelled like a campfire inside...I was thinking, let's make some s'mores! It had a double helix staircase, which means two people can walk up the stair case without seeing each other.  The last chateau that we went to was Chenonceau. I liked this one the best out of all that we saw because it rests over a river where it reflects in the water and because it has some nice Italian-style gardens. I really enjoyed seeing the French countryside and the small towns through which we drove to get to the chateaux. We went back to Tours and had a nice dinner. Afterwards they gave us some tutti fruti candy. We arrived in Paris at a late hour and we slept in the next day. I loved the chateaux!