Friday, May 23, 2008
Today we went to an awesome castle in France! It is a huge medieval castle/cathedral on the top of a very tall island of stone. It is so awesome! A must see! I am sorry but the pics will have to wait.....but they are coming soon! Then, we drove to Paris (their roads are so slow!) and we are here for a few days. Tomorrow my Mom gets to celebrate her b-day in Paris!
During WWII Mitch's grandpa was a B-17 pilot (they were very high-tech planes that could fly at very high altitudes and they carried bombs) and his mission was to fly from England and bomb the German submarines on the coast of northern France near Brest. Well, unfortunately things went awry and all of the men in his plane had to bail out and parachute down...into German occupied territory. Long story short he ended landing in the city of Saint Quay and his plane crashed near the shore. All of the town saw him coming down and he was rescued by the underground French resistance. He basically escaped death many times. He eventually made it out of France into Spain and then back to England all due to the help of the underground. It all took several months in hiding. So, we went there to meet many of the people that helped him and their families. What an amazing experience! Unfortunately, one of the main rescuers that we were to meet was very ill and we could not meet him. The main rescuer (he was not part of the resistance but a farm boy who first helped Mitch's grandpa when he landed) died a few years ago but Mitch's family is still very close to his kids and grandkids. They showed us around to all of the important sites. There is a monument to Mitch's grandpa and the resistance members (two of which were sent to concentration camps and killed when the resistance networks were found out). The monument is one of the propellers that was still intact and was pulled out of the water. Amazing!
Another thing that is amazing is French food! The daughter made us homemade french food for all the meals! Not only did each meal have about 5 courses but it was all divine and there was so much fresh seafood! Real, homemade French food is amazing!
It was such a special experience and when we left we all cried. The spirit was so strong. I can't wait to go back already! It was truly a tender experience for Mitch. Sadly, Mitch's grandpa died a few years ago so this was great for him to remember his Grandpa.
1st is the tree where my grandpa landed, 2nd, 3rd and 4th are in front on the monument,
5th and 6th are us saying goodbye to Andre and Agnes, and their daughter (Florence), 7th is me standing on the beach overlooking the bay where the plane crashed, 8th is standing in front of the tree that my grandpa and his parachute landed in.
We went to Normandie to visit many of the WWII sites. I am sorry I don't have pictures yet. Anyways, it was amazing! We went to the American cemetary, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach (of course we all got a picture there), pointe du Hoc, St. Mere Eglis (a church where a paratrooper got caught on the top when he parachuted down), and St Marie Du Mont. It was amazing! Luckily, my dad knows EVERYTHING about WWII, especially Normandie, so we had our own tour guide. I really can't explain the feelings one feels. You must visit Normandie! Oh, and to top it off of course it is on the coast so the view of the English Channel is beautiful!
1-B-17 bomber painting on the ceiling in a memorial at the US cemetery, 2-US Cemetery, 3-Utahns on Utah beach, 4-St. Mere Eglis, 5-Omaha beach, 6-Bomb crater
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Today we drove from Germany, through the Netherlands and Belgium and then we ended up in northern France. It was so long but fun to go through four countries. We visited some WWII stuff in the Netherlands (again, my Dad is completely fascinated with WWII). We drove for about 10 hours today! The freeways in the U.S. are a lot faster! Though, we drove through many small towns and it was great to see the French countryside. I have some pics to post but that will have to wait as it is very late here!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
My Mom served her mission in the Dusseldord,
Another interesting fact about
Ok, I have been to soooooo many cathedrals. Seriously, from going to Europe last year, spending time in
As we were walking through the city by all of the shops there were the FUNNIEST guys ever! Oh my hanna days! One guy was dressed up like a woman: blonde curly hair in pig-tails, short and plaid skirt, a stuffed bra under a tight t-shirt. I mean it was just funny. Then, there were all of these other guys dressed in the same t-shirts. It turns out after talking to this woman/man that it was part of his bachelor party. It is a tradition there. He had to get 10 male words of advice and 10 from females. I can’t even describe how funny it was. The Germans have such fun traditions! All I can say is Americans are stale. Oh, and the first cologne was made here for the stinky royalty who barely bathed! Hence the name for cologne!
liters of wine! They love to drink!
I am a big loser and when we got to Heidelburg I took a 3 ½ hour nap! (For the record, I was sick with stupid allergies! Also, we had been driving for a few hours and I get pure motion sickness. I really needed a nap!) So, while I was napping my family went out to see the castle there and a cathedral with a bell tower. The castle was really cool and was very old. It was started in the 1230’s. Oh, and while Mitch was there taking pictures, a huge Asian tourist group swarmed him! There were about 40 of them in a small space. He says it was pretty funny. We like to call them the Asian persuasion. Then, after we ate that night Mitch and I went out for a walk along the river. It is a college town and all of the students and teens were along the lawn next to the river and it was a party! There were so many people out. We saw everything from sand volleyball, yo-yoing, boozin’ it up, and last but not least some teens smoking a pipe! Gotta love
This is where the prisoner had to line up each day.
We went to the
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today, Thursday, we went to Rothenburg which is supposedly the best preserved medieval city in Europe. It is so cool! I will just have to show pictures when we can get faster internet. There is a wall all around the city which we walked on, a moat and the buildings are just picturesque. Oh, and there are so many shops everywhere which sell Lederhosen and all. I loved this city!
We rented a huge van starting in Munich for the rest of our trip. It is the ugliest thing ever! I can't wait to put a picture up. First of all, all cars in Europe are small and so we just look like idiots in our monstrous van. Second, being so big it is so hard to drive in the small streets on cobblestone. Let's just say that are often very tense times on the drive...a.k.a. everyone yelling at each other!
Neuschwanstein castle a.k.a the "Disneyland" castle
So, on Wednesday we went to the castle after which the Disneyland castle was patterned. It is so beautiful! We also went on a tour of another castle, Hohenschwangua which is very close. Hohenschwangau was a castle used by the rulers of Bavaria and the Neuschwanstein castle was built by the son, Ludwig II of Bavaria. He only lived in it for 170 days until his mysterious death where he and his physician were found in a river. The day before his death he was declared mentally ill and could no longer be the ruler of Bavaria. So, at the time that this castle was being built, starting in the late 1800's, everyone thought Ludwig to be crazy. So, he actually was but they could not have predicted that Neuschwanstein was going to be the number 1 tourist attraction in Germany. So, he really wasn't crazy, he was just preparing for Germany's economic future. It was so beautiful and at some angles looked just like the Disneyland castle!