Day 299: Mont Saint-Michel, Chartes and Dinner at EuroDisney

20130520-215916.jpgKeeping with the theme of traveling the hard way, the rain hasn’t stopped all day! Wind and rain and cold…so lucky!

We took a shuttle bus from our hotel to Mont Saint-Michel. It looks like an island in the middle of nowhere. We took a tour of the old abbey and enjoyed the spectacular views. It’s amazing that this building has been here forever!
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After MSM, we started heading toward Reims and stopped to see Chartes. We arrived on a holy pilgrimage day and the church was packed inside and out with people who must have hiked from all over the place. They looked cold and wet and thankful to be receiving communion together. We waited to go inside the church because there was no room at the inn, so to speak. What an amazing building with so much history. It’s amazing how people built such large churches with so many ornate details and carvings and stained glass, so long ago. Truly amazing to see.

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We were freezing cold and starving. Everything was closed because of the holiday and we found a Subway to curb our appetite. Then we headed out for another couple hours in the car with pouring rain, and lots of traffic!

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Our timing is so off and the kids are pretty good for having no schedule whatsoever. We’ve had our share of giddiness and frustrations with so much togetherness mixed with hunger and being tired, but we’re still smiling and doing our best. We were driving through the outskirts of Paris and really needed to eat a real meal. As we were driving, we unexpectedly saw signs for EuroDisney and decided to take a detour and find a fun place to eat at Disney Village. It was still pouring rain, which helped us to not be wishing we were spending the night at Disneyland and playing in the park. I can’t imagine that to be much fun, but we did find some fun at the Rainforest Cafe. Such a cheesy place with bad, expensive food, but definitely entertaining for just once! I was happy to get us all out of the car and walking around someplace lively for a bit.

We should arrive at our hotel after midnight… the kids are happy, mama’s happy, Jeff’s got a Starbucks, so he’s happy and we’ll sleep when we’re dead…another one of my weird mottos.

Goodnight, from Disneyland Paris.

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Day 298: Freedom Isn’t Free

War. Evil. Tyranny. Hate.

Nobody likes it, but it exists.

Yin and Yang.

My generation really felt it on 9-11 and we felt it again at the Boston marathon, just recently. Jeff’s grandad felt it and lived it in 1944, and survived WWII. He is a hero.

To visit the war sites around Normandy leaves you wondering and thinking and imagining what it could have been like for the soldiers and their families. The sense of fear and loss is unimaginable, even when you see it. History is not my passion yet I know I need to understand and learn more and continue to make the connections. I also like to focus on the positive, but I’m not naive. There are bad people and we cannot allow evil to be stronger than the good.

“For no one is to forget the heroism of those men who defied the impossible for our freedom.”

Freedom isn’t free. We have so much to learn from those who serve in our military. These men and women can teach us what it means to be selfless, to sacrifice, to keep moving forward despite the struggles, to be disciplined and compassionate, focused and respectful. The people that fought for our freedom gave up their freedom, the comforts of their homes and families, to serve others. And so many gave up their lives.

We can be advocates of goodwill. We can create peace in our time by following their examples. We can and should serve others and show compassion and be a little less self centered. By giving of our time and resources, we can help create peace in our time, right now.

How can we be of service? I think when we chose to serve others we actually create joy and peace for ourselves as well. We have nothing to lose.

Today we visited Grandcamp Maisy, Ranger Museum, Maisy Battery, Utah Beach, and St. Mere Eglise. We also saw Brecourt Manor. Here are a few pictures from these historical sites.

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Wishing you peace and love.

Goodnight, from Mont Saint-Michel.