My boarding pass! Too bad my name had one too many letters; during the flight I remained "Elleanna Elis" and was nicknamed Elvis by my fellow travelers, much to my disdain. It feels so wonderful to be back, alive and well, and writing. Once we passed security and the guard threw away my cranberry juice, we walked to the gate, dropped our carry-on baggage, and meandered around. Some were hungry and partook of Subway...I just got a Caribou.
This trip was one of many "firsts" for me. It was the first time I'd been on a plane; the first time I'd be going to Europe; the first time I'd been away from family for more than 144 hours. Or five days. Or whatever. The seemingly stoic person was literally taking off into an unknown. But enough melodrama.
To make myself feel better, I wore a skirt and put my hair up. Delta's service was nice, although food is not worth mentioning, unless...well, never mind. I watched a musical on the way across, but never did I fall asleep, unfortunately. Arriving at 7:00 am Paris time (12:00 am in my world) was slightly horrific. As we left the plane, the Captain thanked us and then complemented me on my hair. Alright, I thought, as long as they look at my hair and not the eyes...I'll be fine. Shuttling to Charles de Gaulle at 7:00 am was more than interesting; we witnessed the early rising business men and women, those who were not early risers but forced to be so, young children and parents (who had allowed them to kick my seat...) and French soldiers walking amongst the rotundas and escalators.
Then bus we did, up to the North of France. Leaving Paris, most of us fell asleep or were quietly subdued, staring out the large transport bus windows.
I felt it all a mistake. I already missed my little sister and her sarcasm and my brothers teasing; my Mom's laugh and my sister's kindness; my Dad's jokes only I get.
But one must never allow self-pity to ruin anything, especially a trip to France. I told myself I was just tired, so I napped, played cards and lost to a cheater....(ask me, if you must), listened to music, journaled, and thought.
|The Spirit of the American Youth Rising Above the Waves|
Arriving in Normandy was surreal. (the entire trip was surreal; but I digress). Thankfully, the tiredness added to our reverence of Normandy Cemetery and Omaha Beach, and the bitter weather could not have made me more meditative than it had.
Here we were: One-hundred and seventy miles West of Paris, and already in awe. But this was a different awe. All those people fought for beliefs and values. They're at stake again today, but they sacrificed their lives for a greater purpose, and it blessed me ever so much to honor these men (and yes, few women) that rest here.
Driving through Bayeux: This town was one of the first to be liberated by the Allied Forces after D-Day. It had seen slight damage but was rebuilt soon circa 1950s. The quaint architecture contrasts with modern residential shops such as Lacoste.
At least that's what I think.
It's gorgeous. Saved from damage, the flags of the Allied Forces wave around the perimeter to honor the troops that bestowed liberation.
|then Harold made ships for transport...|
We visited Bayeux mainly because it hold the famous Bayeux Tapestry which chronicles the Battle of Hastings. Pretty awesome. (And defining pretty awesome means embroidered Latin. That's ALL readable.) Yeah. Awesome. (Image credit to Google Images).
Then it was hotel time. Exhausted, we hung out, and then collapsed. But...it was only the beginning.
more to come soon!