Fortress Europa Day 3: Normandy

Sorry for the delay, the wifi wanes and crawls here.

We started early this morning as we had to be packed and out of the hostel by 8:00, and close to nobody packed anything the night before. Seeing as how I was in London for only two days, I had little packing to do because I unpacked next to nothing. We headed out of the hostel, our stomachs unsatisfied by the meager breakfast, and lumbered like bison towards the Metro, baggage in tow. Businessmen and women stuffed the subway and the group had to split up into small contingents of scared foreigners. Normans individually pushed their way inside the tube and we all miraculously ended up at the right place, the Eurostar station.

               We waited at the Eurostar station and took care of last minute British Pound disposal by either buying useless things, excess food, or trading them for Euros (which surprisingly few people did). We boarded the train and rode for two hours. It was cramped and not as romantic as the Hogwarts Express, but the construction was the same with the small enclaves of four seats, two facing two. I tried talking, then reading, then sleeping, all to no avail. The dimensions of the train squished me into listlessness, so I mostly sat idly for the trip.

               We got off and were in Paris: it was fantastic; everything I hoped it would be and more. Sadly, we only passed through Paris on our way to Normandy. We boarded a bus and the 25 of us were driven for an hour and a half until we reached Monet’s Gardens. Monet, the famous French painter, drew many nature scenes of his ornate home garden, and so his estate became famous for its aesthetic foliage, and now it acts as a tourist hotspot. People from all over the world were there, and the garden really looked surreal. The flowers were huge and vibrant, and it reminded me constantly of Alice in Wonderland. The pictures don’t do it justice, and they don’t pay homage to how kooky of a character Monet himself was. His house is part of the exhibition, and it stuns as much as the garden because he painted every room a different color and filled it with Japanese art. Literally, only Japanese art. The famous picture of the wave crashing over a Japanese boat? Dozens of pictures just like that were his only decorations. Inexplicable.

               We got back on the bus and drove two hours until we reached Bayeaux, which is essentially “Normandy.” We stay at Bayeaux and travel to Normandy, and I’m not mad because the digs we have here are cushy. The guys have practically their own house, and the girls are in two groups and have two guest houses. We have delightful beds and kitchens and normal things! Quite an improvement from the hostel. The professors bunk right next to us in a house to themselves, and they’re almost all here. We got to eat dinner as a group tonight, and we spent most of the night walking or talking as a group. They guys bond more every day, and the jokes become funnier as everyone comes out of their shell. Things really just keep getting better in every way.

               Tomorrow we have a late start, and then we head to a museum, followed by grocery shopping in the afternoon. We’re finished by 4:00, and then we have the night to ourselves. I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight, as starting tomorrow we begin 9 days of revelry in Normandy.

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Our chateau
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Fortress Europa Day 3: Normandy

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