Today our group made it back safely to the United States. We had a very pleasant flight and reached Rowan University by 2:30 p.m. I would like to thank all participants for their contribution to the success of the trip.

I look forward to seeing you in the fall for our reunion.

Enjoy your summer.

Dr. L.

Greetings from Germany! We couldn’t have asked for a better, more relaxing day today! Our day was filled with a bunch of treats and surprises. It all began when Dr. Lemaire let us sleep in for an extra hour and a half, which helped us all catch up on the sleep we have been missing. We definitely all appreciated that :) The second treat was our luck with the weather today. After surviving a couple rainy days, we finally woke up to a clear sunny sky and warm temperatures.

The day today was dedicated to the Black Forest. We visited a small German town called Schiltach where we went on a scavenger hunt for the oldest building in the town. Brandon won, and was given an additional dessert. We made various stops throughout they day on our drive to get out and learn as well as admire and take gorgeous pictures of the scenery. An interesting stop we made was in town square of Oberwolfach where we saw a group of performers with a variety of instruments that honored a communion at the nearby church.

After lunch, we were in the car heading for our hike when Dr. Lemaire presented us our next surprise, go carts! But not just any go carts, go carts on a track that took us up toward the top of the Black Forest and back down through exciting curves and hills.

Our hike was probably the most relaxing part of the day today. The peacefulness and serenity you feel when you’re surrounded by the bright green forest is definitely a great way to calm you down and truly appreciate the beauty of the nature happening around you. And as if the hike wasn’t wonderful enough, we got rewarded with a delicious cake that was equally as wonderful.

Tomorrow is our last day, not just in Germany, but of our entire trip in Europe before we head home on Tuesday morning. We know you all miss us but don’t worry, you’ll get us back soon and hear all about this incredible once in a lifetime experience we all were lucky enough to have gone through together.

Love Courtney and Annabel

Today we began our journey by leaving Alsace to head to our penultimate destination, Germany. On our way to Bermany we observed another agricultural asset of the Alsace region: the growing of tobacco, hops, and grains. Near the border with Germany, we observed the Maginot Line which was put in place between WWI and WWII to better protect France against Germany. Unfortunately for the French, the German forces were able to bypass the defenses by entering France from the North through Belgium. Next on the agenda was observing the Rhine River lock system which allows the transportation of large barges from Switzerland to the Netherlands.

Upon entering Germany, we were able to witness the beautiful landscapes and majestic mountains before reaching the market village of Wolfach. There, many students observed the unique qualities in German architecture as opposed to that of the previous countries we visited. Many students purchased gifts for their loved ones as well as observing German culture.

In the afternoon we checked into our lovely hotel where we enjoyed an evening meal of traditional German dishes, tea, and a surprise gift giving ceremony wherin each student was recognized for his or her singular contributions to the group and trip itself.

Jonathan and Brendon.

From Vera & Sam :

Today we woke up to a beautiful breakfast on the mountain top at our hotel. Followed by a drive through Switzerland to visit how the 3,000 people of the village get their energy. We saw the solar panels and windmills that give off the energy. We talked about the pros and cons of using solar power.

Next stop was at the lake in Neuchatel which was formed during the last glaciation. The glaciers that covered the land then created many lakes often linked by a small stream.

Then we went on to the otter and stork preservation site where we were lucky enough to see the tiny little baby storks being fed. We were also treated with a show showcasing adorable otters gliding through the preservation’s pool, as well as an affable sea lion who easily charmed her viewers.

We made a stop along the way to view the Beauville textile factory created under Louis XV and some of us even purchased a few.

We then enjoyed a wine tasting at Domaine de l’Oriel. We were able to see how the wine master hand picked his grapes. Wine has been produced in his family for 13 generations and 400 years. We visited the original cellar built 400 years ago and saw that the only new part resulted from the repairs that had to be done when a bomb fell on his cellar at the end of WWII. We tried as many as ten different types of wine–even our favorite type, a delicious rosé with the scent of sweet rose petals.

We ended our day with a delicious dinner at a restaurant called Bacchus. It is located in the cellar of a 15th century house in the vllage of Katzenthal, a few miles from Colmar. It is now that we wearily, yet happily go to bed so that we can be ready for our exciting adventure in the fairy tale-inspiring Black Forest tomorrow.

 

Dear parents,

I haven’t received the blog (again) and since I feel you should remain informed I will briefly describe what we did yesterday.  All the participants enjoyed their stay in different bed-and-breakfast homes. They liked the comfort of the bedrooms and the wonderful breakfast they received.

We left Beaune and drove to Arc-et-Senan a salt factory located in the Jura where we arrived at 10:30 a.m. in time for our scheduled visit. We then went to the “Source de la Loue” a location where an entire river comes out of a cliff. We had our lunch at a small restaurant located minutes from this resurgence.

By 3:00 p.m. we arrived at the Cheese factory in Noel-Cerneux where the students received comprehensive explanations on how “Swiss” cheese is made… in France! Our visit ended with cheese tasting, pies and cake, and wine/bier.

We reached our hotel around 6:30 p.m. and we were met by the owner who had reserved a private room for our dinner made of cheese fondue (the local specialty) for 11 of the participants and 4 chicken salads for the others.

Everything is going well in Switzerland. Tonight we will be back in Colmar, France.

Dr. L.

Today we left Bourges and drove to Autun. During the Roman times and after the conquest of Gaul, Augustus decided to create the town of Augustodunum to show what the Romans had to offer to the surrounding population. The town was surrounded by a retaining wall and strengthened with towers and the wall is still in perfect condition.

We visited the gates, the temple of Janus, and the theater that could contain 15,000 people. We then went to Beaune, a large town in the southern part of Burgundy. Students had some free time before visiting the Hospices de Beaune, a hospital built in 1443 by Nicolas Rollin and his wife Guigonde de Salins. The hospital was still in use in 1965 when it became a senior citizen home before it was turned into a museum.

We then went to La Rochepot a village where an excellent wine is produced. Students learned how wine is made and the family history of the owners who have been producing wine for five generations. We had a delicious dinner prepared by Veronique Fouquerand who is an excellent cook.

All students are staying in bed and breakfast rooms in the village.

Since all students wanted her recipe for the little cheese puffs she served during the wine tasting, here it is:

125 grams flour
¼ liter water
4 eggs
15 gr sugar
80 gr butter
150 gr of thinly shredded Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper

Bring to a boil the water with sugar, salt, pepper, and butter. Drop the flour in the liquid and on low heat, using a wooden spoon, keep mixing the dough until it is dryer and does not stick to the pot. Let it cool for 15 minutes; place the dough in a food processor and add an egg making sure it is well incorporated in the dough before adding the next one.

Butter a cookie dish and place small spoonful of dough every 1.5 inch. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 25 minutes in oven at 400F or until lightly brown. Insert wooden spoon in the door so that it doesn’t close completely. Let it cool and serve slightly warm.

Today we started off our day at the Chenonceau, a privately owned castle that Henry II lived in with his mistress Diane of Poitiers. His children used to come and enjoyed playing at the castle. It was a beautiful place to live with the biggest kitchen we have ever seen. Also the castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and was actually built on the river.

Our next stop was the Cave Aux Champignons. This was a mushroom farm in a cave located seven stories deep into limestone with 120 km of tunnels. In 1914 the production of mushrooms began in this cave. All the mushrooms are picked by hand in the 54 degree cave. Oyster mushrooms, blue foot mushrooms and shiitake are produced here. Shiitakes have to be shocked in the caves to mimic the earthquake shocks in Japan. The mushrooms grown in the cave are very expensive because of the lengthy production process. Therefore these mushrooms are sold to special chefs creating new recipes. It was very interesting learning about mushroom production from caves as it is decreasing and becoming harder to find because of green houses now.

After the cave we stopped at ancient roman ruins in Thesee, a 40-meter-long building. A guide explained to us that the ruins found were either a hotel or a pottery shop and storage. The ruins found are from the second century AD.

Then we went a few minutes away and had a wonderful picnic at a park. We were lucky to have little rain today so we could enjoy the outdoor activities. Then we were off to Bourges, France where we had a wonderful time shopping and exploring the area. We had the most amazing dinner at Le Beauvoir. We found out that the mayor and other popular people from the area all have been here. It was a very nice meal and we were treated like royalty. Overall, today was another great day! Stay tuned for tomorrow”s blog to see where we are off to next!!!!!

Felicia and Alexandra

 

Today we started off our day bright and early by going to a dairy farm. There we met the owner of the farm who told us about his 80 cows on 90 hectares of land and how he was the only person working on it. The farm was handed over to him by his father, which is why he takes well care of it.

We then ventured to Mount St. Michel, an abbey where we had to climb up to the top to see the beauty inside. We learned about the rich history and how it became a prison for some time.

We had a quaint little lunch with delicious desserts and then drove to the disappearing river where we were met by donkeys and learned about the river behind the house. While at the river, our geologist Bernard Langellier shared his knowledge of fossils, granite, and sandstone.
We then went to see where the river reappears and then drove to a corn field to look for fossils, we were all expert geologists and found a good amount of them.
We checked into our hotel for the night and had a lovely dinner where we all dressed up nicely for the grand event.

Ps. It is our laundry day, we are all very excited for clean, fresh clothes!

Au revoir,
Julia & Annabel

p.p.s. Hi Mom, Dad, siblings, and Boyfriend! -Annabel
Bonjour Mom, dad, Anna & Mickey! -Julia


Today, our day revolved around World War II. Our first stop was at the Arromanche Harbor, which the allies created for the purpose of unloading supplies and the troops. Next we headed to the American Cemetery in Colleville, Normandy. We had the privilege of attending the Memorial Day ceremony which honored the fallen heroes from the Second World War. Being able to walk through and see all the tombstones with flags and flowers in front of each and every one was an exciting honor.

As if the ceremony wasn’t amazing enough, next we got to see what Omaha Beach looked like from the soldiers’ perspectives. Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day and we were all eager to get out of the van and walk along the beach. 

The museum of the D-Day was our next stop where they had memorabilia from World War II. The film we viewed when we reached the end of the museum was a nice way to view footage and get pertinent information about why they chose the beaches of Normandy and why the chose Omaha Beach. The interviews from people who were survivors that were on the beach made the video even more powerful.

Mrs. Pineau was twelve years old on the morning of June 6, 1944 and today she was able to give vivid detail of what her family had to experience that day and the days that followed. Mr. Lecoeur was ten when the events took place and being able to hear his stories really allowed us to understand the war on a deeper, more meaningful level.

The tour of the Airborne Museum was located across the street from the famous church where American soldier, John Steele got his parachute net caught in the steeple of the church, got shot in the foot, and was still able to remain there despite his suffering in order to make it out alive. His story is one that inspired a movie, The Longest Day.

Overall, our day was both informative and a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. It truly helped us develop a new appreciation of all the events that occurred throughout World War II.

-Courtney Klauber and Brandon Spewak

Dear parents,

Our journey today departed from Paris proper, to Versailles – the home of Louis XIV and later on Marie Antoinette.

Armed with our audio guides, we braved the hordes of eager tourists to experience the elegant decadence of the Versailles palace.

Surrounded by fine art depicting such gods as Diana and Mars, the palace surpassed its reputation. Some of us were struck by La Salle des Victoires and its centerpiece – Jeanne d’Arc- Joan of Arc; the inspired patron saint of France was honored as a valiant patriot, fearlessly sacrificing herself for her country. This was but one of four paintings honoring her actions.

We all, of course , beared in mind the reality and irony of such opulent decoration and art as, prior to the French Revolution the people of France were standing in the streets while their sovereigns feasted, gambled, and freely spent their taxes on the palace.

Being there as a visitor was practically overwhelming as every spare inch of the palace was adorned with works of art and the richness of artistically portrayed folklore. The folkloric theme spreads its  influence into the comparable grounds of the palace – the Garden of Versailles. There lived larger than life marble statues, legion in number, opulent fountains which seem to defy gravity, and a labyrinthine network of other worldly greenery – trimmed hedges, and fragrant lilac bushes.

After departing from Versailles, we headed toward the coast of Normandy where we learned about harbors and the surrounding French import, export, and political importance of Le Havre ( meaning “The Harbor”) during WWII.

The apocalyptic skirmishes of WWII had devastated the port city of Le Havre , and so the town was rebuilt with practicality in mind. It was here that we toured the youngest of the churches so far on our agenda. Inspired by the pragmatism of Russia, Le Havre’s church built upon the rubble of a tragic past was unique, to say the least.

From there we sojourned to the enchanting town of Honfleur, where our trip’s Harry Potter enthusiasts were quickly taken in by the magic architecture of the town.

Our dinner was positively elegant as always, and a fitting end to our tiring, yet lovely day.

Chris and Vera.

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