Monday, April 21, 2008

Les Musées et Les Jardins

Being in Paris has been wonderful... I have been soaking up so many museums, castles and gardens lately :) We have been to so many amazing places and seen so much I will just give you a couple of my favorite highlights:

This is in Giverny where we saw Monet's Japanese garden.. it was beautiful to see where all his wonderful paintings came from and then the next few days we were able to see the art itself!
It was also amazing to see the house he lived in and where his large family ate :)

During our first week here we were able to see Palais Garnier -- The opera house from Phantom of the Opera!!! This is the ceiling which is very modern in comparison to the rest of the building, but I think it brightens the room :) It is very colorful and depicts famous ballet performances that often occur at Palais Garnier. (Sadly most of our knowledge beforehand about the opera house from the Phantom of the Opera turned out to be false... )

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Les Musées

Sorry all for the lack of photos recently. I have been soaking up so many museums, castles and gardens lately :) I'll put up pictures as soon as I can. Our group went to see Monet's gardens which are so beautiful!! His japanese garden is the one he painted a lot with the famous bridge. Well, we were there and walked on that bridge.. it was so neat! It was amazing to see the house he lived in and where his large family ate :) We sadly weren't able to see Versaille due to strikes at all the museums the day it was planned.. but we were able to go to the Loire valley to see several amazing castles!

Monday, April 7, 2008


So I'm here in Paris... finalement! It is wonderful after all my travels to return to a place I am more familiar with :) During the last couple weeks we traveled all together to Florence and saw the Uffizi and some amazing pieces of italian art, and then we split up for free travel. I went with a group of five, Jennifer, JoAnna, John, Andi and I all went to Dublin for a couple days, then to London and our last journey took us to Barcelona. Dublin was beautiful with half-penny bridge and a famous prison to visit... London was fabulous- we saw Wicked, saw Big Ben, and rode the Tube everywhere including right to King's Cross to see platform 9 & 3/4 !!! Then Barcelona was restful with a nice beach, warmer weather and sunny skies... Jennifer and I even explored the museum there-- with a grand entrance with hundreds of stairs and fountains... and inside were even grander finds. After all the english speaking countries being in Spain challenged us because none of us spoke spanish... now in France again I find I feel so much more comfortable speaking in French and I understand much more of what people around me are talking about :) Today seeing the Louvre for the first time was fantastic... thinking back on it, I just saw so many famous paintings and sculptures I've heard about all of my life.. all in the short time of 4 hours... I can't wait to see what other marvelous adventures I will have here in Paris-- so much is planned for these last weeks here :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nature, Art and War

So we have ventured to various places these last few weeks admiring art and nature.. and even government... Here are a few highlights:

This was taken during an exploration of a park in Reims after school :) Jennifer Grimm and I found a playground, gazebo and even a few friendly ducks!

The group went to Le Musee de la Reddition and learned how close we live to the ending of WWII! There were parades right off our street and the papers to end the war were signed just down the road! The room where they sat to sign the papers is covered in maps and charts and has a plastic bubble for visitors to come into the historical room without aging it more.

We went to see Laon, which is a beautiful city on a hill... it was amazing just walking around the cobblestone streets, there weren't many tourists, it is one of the undiscovered treasures of France I think :)

We also enjoyed Strasbourg, the Venice of France with it's beautiful willows, water and architecture. While there we also enjoyed a tour of the European Union and saw several speeches on various issues, from the Israeli- Palestinian conflict to Yorkshire being the official home of Rhubarb...

A small group of us including JoAnna, Andi, John, Jennifer and I all went to Normandy for a two day weekend. It was amazing walking on Omaha beach and seeing Pointe du Hoc.

After a lovely evening at a hostel we were given a ride right to Mont St Michel. It was beautiful... and a lot of exercise.. we climbed up and down and explored all around the little island all day. We especially enjoyed a Saturday Afternoon mass with the beautiful voices of the nuns and the monks in a little chapel under the cathedral.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Museums and Treasures!

These were some kingly treasures... we saw these at Palais du Tau, which is conveniently located next to the cathedrale and contains not only treasures of the king, but also the original statues from the cathedrale.

So we went to Brussels and saw the Real Marat by David :) So cool, to see it up so close and read the letter stained with blood. Anyways, this museum was really cool, with statues by Rodin and other neat treasures.

Brussels was really beautiful as well, the architecture of the buildings was gorgeous... even as the wind blew cold and sharp as we walked around the town.

... and then beautiful Liege with an amazing cathedral.. and an even more amazing church of Christ that we visited :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Photos Galore!

So I have some old and new photos and stories to share :)

Skiing in the alps... with all our gear, ready to hit the slopes :)

These were some beautiful swans that we fed while we were in Geneva.

And here are some sights from our short stop in Dijon... The home of mustard and spice breads :)

We stopped in a park in Dijon and had a couple chances to speak with local younger people about their town.

Back in Reims, we saw the factory for Fossier cookies! They were made for kings back in the day... actually in this picture is a certificate from the royal family...

And we have been enjoying nicer weather... one day it wasn't only sunny it was nice enough outside to not wear our pea coats :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bibliocartes, Edelweiss, and Switzerland

So I know all of you have been waiting anxiously on the edge of your seats since my last post.. of course some of you probably fell off since it took so long. For that I'm sorry. The last couple weeks have been quite crazy with traveling on the weekends and cramming school into shorter weeks.

I'll catch you up with some of my favorite photos and stories from the last couple weeks :)

JoAnna really excited about her new library card for Mediatheque Jean Falala :) We were the first to get them.. with a little convincing since we didn't technically have everything we needed to get them.

Carina and Jennifer took a bit of time on our train to Lyon to get some shuteye... we've been on a lot more trains since!

Some Highlights from Lyon, France:

We walked up the hill to see the Basilica and also these older Roman ruins of an amphitheater. Madame Love sang for us and then Anna Schaffer and I joined in with some Sound of Music classics :) We all ended the impromptu show with Edelweiss.

After our performance together we went to the square and split off into groups to explore. John, Jennifer and I enjoyed a few local dishes at a cafe and then relaxed next to the water :)

The next set of trains took us here :) Interlaken, Switzerland! I skied for the first time here, and I witnessed a girl getting a concussion and having to be flown to a nearby hospital... so I ended up not skiing too much since that took up a big portion of our time on the mountain, but it made it an experience to be remembered. This picture was taken from the top of a hotel where a few of us drank some delicious hot chocolate the night we arrived.

This is le jet d'eau in Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva was much harder to navigate than the last two explorations, but I was able to visit the museum and see some of the paintings that were on display including one by Picasso. I also experienced the atmosphere of an awesome cafe in old Geneva called La Clemence. Probably my favorite part of this weekend was when JoAnna and I stayed with a french speaking couple.. who didn't know english at all :) Their house was lovely and the husband had a good collection of photos he shared with us while we waited for dinner. They also had a dog, that was huge, but very nice and gentille named Lilly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

l'enfant et les Sortilèges, et des Champagnes Pommery

These last couple days were filled with an amount of cultural experiences... Last night we dressed up to attend an opera, when we arrived we were surprised to find the opera we were attending was going to be a family event, the brochures say "a voir en famille spectacle". This was nice because it meant it would be shorter than most operas. The opera house was lovely with red seats and a beautiful ceiling with paintings around a window.

The ceiling in the opera house.

The opera itself was about a young boy who basically isn't good at the beginning, he gets upset and throws pillows and trashes the room he is in, even breaking a lamp. Afterwards, the objects come to life to sing and move about the stage pestering him screaming "Il est méchant!" A few of the scenes were very suggestive and displayed blatantly the difference in french culture, with a crowd full of elementary children we sat there watching a couple very sensual scenes... I suppose they don't guard their children as we often do in the states. Well at the end, the "animals" try to punish the child, but accidentally hurt one of their own. As they attack him he cries out "Maman!" The child then saves the "animal" that was hurt and collapses.. The animals wonder what the boy was saying "what does Maman mean? they decide to repeat it.. so there is this chorus of "Maman!" from the animals.. the mother comes and the animals say that he is now good :) The end!

The other cultural experience that we had was this morning was a champagne tour. We all went on a champagne tour at Pommery, it was beautiful looking at all these old chalk murals on the walls. We were down about 3 or 4 floors in the champagne cellar. We even saw one of the bottles from the first year. We were late to the tour because of confusing directions, so we also spent some time looking at the lobby and the artwork there. There was the largest barrel for champagne in the world there that was made for the World Fair in St Louis and could contain up to 100,000 bottles worth of champagne. Amazing!

The stairs leading back up to the lobby at the end of the champagne tour.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims

The beautiful sunset outside Carrefour.

So the last few days have been filled with getting settled in, having first classes and getting to know the neighborhood. We received our bus passes a couple days ago so we would be able to go to a larger store nearby. There is a small Champion down the street near our flat and we've been there several times to stock our kitchen with a few essentials. Once we had bus passes we went to Carrefour which is a much larger store, sort of like a big French Walmart, but nicer.. perhaps like Fred Meyer. I was surprised to see the first red heads since I'd arrived! Two little children aves les cheveux roux. It was overwhelming the amounts of meats and cheeses and breads you can pick from at these stores! Especially when you are so unfamiliar with the local brands.
Yesterday we went on a walking tour around the center of town and saw the cathedral, and several other historical buildings. It is so beautiful walking around and seeing so many historical places. For French class we looked up Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) and found out she had been to the cathedral here for the coronation of a king. We had our first day of classes yesterday, which was interesting sitting in the same room for several hours for a bunch of different classes. I like my classes and I'm excited about all the traveling and how we'll be incorporating our experiences with our assignments :)

The Front of the Cathedral with construction on the left side.

Today, a small group of us attended mass in the Cathedrale Notre Dame at 11 then at 2pm we gathered as a group for a communion time. Later JoAnna and I took a walk around the neighborhood and I took several pictures. We even saw a man with awesome salmon colored 90s basketball shorts. Which is a coincidence since we are having Salmon tonight for dinner :) On our way home we ran into Jacqueline and when we crossed the road to go to the flat together some random guys in a car honked and waved!
Tonight we're staying up for superbowl! Hopefully I'm awake for classes tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bonjour tout le monde!

I flew all the way from Portland to Paris with Anna and we made it safe and sound despite some scary mechanical failures and turbulence. The whole group however, did not enjoy the same success... they were stuck in the US in various parts overnight and just arrived this afternoon :)

Here are the six who made it :)

I'm here in Reims and it is beautiful... Last night I fell asleep from exhaustion way early and barely ate my dinner that I bought with JoAnna from the local store. We also picked up a fresh baguette from a patisserie down the street. This afternoon we showed the rest of the group around a bit and it is fun to finally have us with us! It is great to have everyone here now and it is funny to hear all of the loud American voices while everyone here is much quieter than us!

Here is our beautiful room :)

Anyways, we all live in beautiful flats here and they look like little furnished apartments in Ikea.. minus all the cool knickknacks. JoAnna and I are roommates which is great because we can share our clothes :) We actually finally moved into our permanent apartment this morning because it wasn't available yesterday... so last night we had a larger room with a nicer view :) I'm so happy to be here and excited to explore and enjoy the different environment!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Je dois sortir Harding pendant printemps

It is wonderful to know I'll be in Europe in the spring and I will get to see Paris! It is very hard to think of everyone I will not see there though... and I will miss all of you. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog, to stay in touch with everyone while I'm gone. Please comment and send lots of emails, even though I might not be able to reply personally to each one :) I will be leaving the end of January and then coming back in the middle of May. Keep me in your prayers as I prepare to go.

Those of you already at Harding have already begun a new semester as I am now just finishing my packing to leave to go to begin mine. I hope all of you are enjoying yourselves as I will be :) And to those of you in Washington I'm so glad I was able to spend a wonderful break with all of you! I've had such a great break to begin a fantastic semester..

So for any of you who are wanting to send any mail my address for Reims is:

Sarah Hug
Residence Clairmais
25 rue Edouard Mignot
51100 Reims

I'm so excited about this trip and a bit nervous at this point.. So I'll be leaving tomorrow morning from PDX at 8:30! Then I'll be in Minneapolis and Detroit.... Then Paris!! I'll try to keep all of you updated often :)