All of the Photos :)

All of the Photos 🙂

Finally got my lazy butt around to uploading the rest of the good photos (good being a relative term).

 

Enjoy!

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Marseilles

Well, my Seattle upbringing and German/Norwegain heritage were obviously no match for the Marseilles sun… ouch! It was only the spots that I missed with sunscreen but still.

 

Anyway, Marseilles is beautifully located on the Mediterranean Sea, the bluest blue waters I’ve ever seen for sure. While the Old Port and other heavily trafficed areas are rather nice the rest of the city is well…. icky. Now this is just my opinion but I will say that I love the weather, the old port, and the sea side of Marseilles but that’s about it for my high lights list. Luckily that was what I came down here for.

Problems with the city? Let’s start with the smell, a lovely aroma that keeps you guessing whether each turn of the corner will yield garbage, urine, or excrement smells. Kind of like Russian roulette for your nose, only they are all bullets and sometimes you get a Nirvana of an empty chamber. Sorry, I’m sure that reads a lot harsher than it should.

Now I thought Caen had a graffiti problem but in hindsight Paris was worse. If the level of Paris graffiti is, let’s say, a 6 or 7 out of ten (really not too terrible) then Marseilles is probably a 12. I honestly don’t know how they find new places to do it, they have skill for sure.

Finally of all of the French cities I’ve visited I unfortunately have to say that I feel the least safe here. In Caen I walk around no problem, in Paris I’m pretty comfortable being anywhere, but here, I’m constantly thinking about it. Maybe it’s just me.

 

Now, before I wrap this up on a downer note let me change the tone. I have still enjoyed my time here a lot. It was a good vacation spot and I think my time here was well spent. I relaxed, I read, I reddened a bit. There are other parts of the city that are GORGEOUS, like the church on the hill, the old port walks and some others. So, yes, there are some parts of the city that need to be improved but still a good spot.

Why hello there!

So, I just dropped my parents off on their train. They will take it to the airport and leave tomorrow, homeward bound. It was a really good visit, no major incidents and only a few items on mom’s list that she didn’t get to do. But there were things not on the list that we did do, so overall I’d call it a success. It has been really nice being back in Caen, I now consider myself Normand so it feels like a second home. Plus Caen just brought out ALL of the sunshine for us, it was happy to have me back.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Caen lately. When I first arrived I was not sure what to think about it at all and that kind of continued all the way through the year, just unsure. But now that I’m so much older and wiser, since September, let me lay it out for y’all:

Caen was virtually destroyed in the war, unfortunately destroyed while trying to be liberated. Since then it has been rebuilding, re-growing, and redefining itself. It shied away from rebuilding exactly as it was and that has led to bits of growth spurts, in my opinion. If one were to visit Caen and visit say, Rouen, Rennes, or Nantes, they would think that Caen was much more open in a way that most other French cities aren’t. Some may argue that it makes it feel less “French” as it were but to me it just makes it feel more comfortable and able to breath.

It hasn’t been easy for Caen to grow during the decades in a consistent manner. Styles changes, leadership changes, and so it has some odd buildings that stick out or a few areas that were designed in a less than aesthetically pleasing period (sorry Herouville and a few other spots). Also, from my experience, it is really trying right now. It is the Basse-Normandie capital and as such it needs a bit more, its hard being outshined tourism and attraction wise when you are the capital and yet because of the history (WWII) the coast and other areas draw the crowds. So Caen is adding, it’s building, first Zenith and Les Rive D’Orne, and now the newer, not yet finished, Parc Expo. Luckily it has lots of room to grow and expand.

Caen is also playing host to a lot of things this summer, starting small with the channel race, then going big with the 70th DDay anniversary (mostly held outside of town, but still a major part of it all), followed by the World Equestrian games, and finally the smaller but still awesome world championship of Kayak Polo.

So what does all of this, in my small, humble opinion mean? Caen is ready to be taken seriously as a major city. It is proving that it can host major events, it can continue to grow and expand, and that it is finally finding its voice in an area that smaller cities usually shine and where the capitals on each side of it tend to out shadow it as well. Really, Caen is ready and moving into the future and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Someone is getting sloppy

So it’s been forever since I’ve posted. I was so busy wrapping up teaching, moving out, and meeting my parents that I hadn’t taken much time to update anything.

 

Teaching ended and it was sad. I’ll miss a lot of those kids, even some of the trouble makers. The teachers at the high school made me a cake and stuff, it was sweet. They also took myself and the other teaching assistant out to dinner. The dinner was great and it was a wonderful wrap up for the year. We stayed for over 3 hours and were just laughing and talking the entire time. The middle school ended more quietly but it was still sweet.

 

Went out with my group of friends for our last time. THAT was so bitter sweet and sad. I will miss them, they have become really good friends. I’m excited to see where we all go and what happens in our lives. We may or may not have written on the wall at one of our favorite places (a bar) in Caen… ok we did, but it’s okay cause it’s a place that they allow people to write on the wall 🙂

 

I moved out and stayed the night at one of the highschool teacher’s houses. Her and her husband proposed to have me come back next year to Au Pair. Of course there will be hoops to jump through and all but I am very very excited about the prospect.

 

I met my parents in Paris and the trip began! We spent a week touring Paris, me as their guide. We had a really good stay and got to do just about everything on their list. Next we went up to Arromanche which started off our tours of the D Day beaches and everything relating to the Invasion. Arromanche is a very cute and charming small city and was a great launching pad for everything. We did the beaches, Point Du Hoc, the cemetery, multiple museums and an afternoon in Bayeaux. From there we went to Mont Saint Michel! Sadly, France was France and the abbey workers were on Strike 😦 But seeing the village and walking on the flats was still good.

 

Yesterday we arrived in Guernsey and that’s where we still are. It would be nice if the weather would make up its mind and the wind would settle but oh well. It’s still been great.

 

Well, I know that was quick and dirty but that is the update! There are tons of pictures but one step at a time 🙂