Friday, May 25, 2012

Au Revoir Paris!

Tonight we had a very special last evening in Paris with a lovely dinner on the Eiffel tour and for most of us, a visit to the second and then the top levels. We will all miss Paris when we leave tomorrow! Thanks to all of the students for being flexible and enthusiastic travellers and to our amazing faculty leaders, Jeff and Nancy, for inspiring us along the way!  Here is the light show as we were leaving!

Melissa- staff leader

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stained Glass Storytelling

Although the trip to the medieval French city-Chartres- was a gloomy one, full of cold, rain, wind, wet clothing, and broken umbrellas, there was still much to be appreciated. Between shivers and sniffles we were still able to appreciate the intricate detail of the Cathedral windows and the stories they told. I for one never knew that these windows told stories; I've always admired them for their beauty. The thought of taking hours to cover a few windows seemed silly to me initially but by the end of the tour I could see that I was wrong. Stained glass speaks volumes.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Other Notre Dame: a Delightful Man and His Cathedral

On Monday, we took the train (the first time on a train for many of the students) to Chartres.  This small town with a population of only 30,000 people (smaller than Newark, OH) and  has one of the most significant Gothic cathedrals in the world. It was built between 1194 and 1230 and has many of the best-preserved 12th century stained glass windows in the world.

Malcolm Miller (from England) visited Chartres as a young man of 24. He was entranced by the cathedral and has studied it and given tours of the building for over 50 years. We were lucky to have him as our tour guide. He described the building as a book and the windows and sculpture as the  stories. He showed us windows that told important stories from both the Old and New Testaments.

It was rainy and chilly, but everyone was a good sport!

Jeff and Nancy (course instructors)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Locks of Love

Paris has long been known as the "city of love," and French as one of the most beautiful of the romantic languages. Home to 27 bridges that cross the Seine River, these bridges are now playing a major role in the relationships of Parisians and those who come to Paris from all over the world. Padlocks, commonly used to secure lockers, bicycles, and shed doors, are finding a place in the tradition of love in Paris. Affixed to various bridges all over the city, padlocks with couples names either written or engraved on them are becoming more and more prevalent. These "locks of love" are believed to lock a couple forever in love, and have become an outward symbol of love in Paris.

Kaylin Hunsaker

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tuileries Palace

On Wednesday, (5/16/12) we went to the Tuileries Palace to eat lunch before we headed to the Louvre. This was a beautiful garden with lovely floral and tree arrangements everywhere. The Palace had many food stands where many of us excitedly ate crepes or sandwiches. We had the pleasure of enjoying a lovely day eating next to a fountain and eventually walking around the gardens. It was a lovely way to spend lunch and rest our feet.


Parisians on the Move

Over the course of the last week, we have seen Parisians use their public spaces (churches, cemeteries, parks, gardens, squares, metro and train stations) for a variety purposes and activities. From morning jogs and family strolls, to shopping at food carts and walking the dog, Parisians are always out-and-about. They tend to have a knack for the arts as well :).

Kaylin Hunsaker

Trains, Books, God & Gardens

Today we started off at going to one of the major train stations in Paris. From here, you are able to get to pretty much anywhere in Europe you want to go. Jeff told us all about the high speed trains and how they travel up to 200 mph! In perspective, a plane takes off at 180 mph. After that, we took the metro to Notre Dame and over to the left bank where we visited Shakespear and Company and some of the cathedrals that are in Paris. Then it was on to the Luxembourg gardens! On our way there we passed a man who was painting part of a poem on a city brick wall, when translated it reads: 

"i do and then more bathed in like you, o blades, 
remove their wake to the bearers of cotton swabs, 
or cross the pride of the flags and flame 
nor swim under the eyes of the pontoons horrible."

-Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat)

I saw this old man playing guitar in the streets, reminded me of Picasso's The Old Guitarist