Days 5 and 6 in Caen

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Jan 27, 2010

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

           Today we went to Mont St. Michel, it's a huge castle filled with a lot of smaller chapels. It’s on an island, but the tide doesn’t come in until 9 PM so when we were there the tide was out and it wasn’t exactly and island. You can tell from my pictures. If you google image Mont St. Michel you can see some pretty amazing aerial shots. From far away the castle looks so amazing, almost magic. It reminded me of Hogwarts!

            The Island had a lot of different shops all along the streets, as well as some yummy cafés. I finally got to eat a crêpe! Not a whole one though, someone let me have a bite of their Nutella crêpe. It was so yummy, I can’t wait to eat more in Paris. We were there from about 10:30 AM to 3 PM, so by the time we got back to the hotel (at around 4:30) everyone was really tired. I took a nap and then went out to dinner with Aaron and Tyler. We went to a small pizzeria and hung out and ate pizza and wine. It was really fun. Tonight will be a pretty low key night. Last night we went out to some bars. Some of the bars here stay open until like 4 AM, it’s really weird. Europeans love to get drunk. Australians can be really crazy too, there were a few that we met at the pub in our hotel in London. Getting black out drunk is sort of like a right of passage for them over there, go figure. I don’t really like drinking that much, and people who are really drunk scare me because you never know what they’re going to do. But I still had fun going out, I got home by 1.

            Tomorrow we’ll leave at 9AM to visit some more D-Day museums in Caen. Tonight I’m just going to stay in, work on my paper, and maybe watch a movie. Thursday we have a work day for a project that we’re doing in groups, then we’ll present in the evening. Then Friday we leave Caen early in the morning to drive to Paris!

..... Here is part 2 of this entry! I couldn’t get around to posting it last night, so I am just going to combine both days into one entry! Today we went to one of the German "hideouts" I guess you would call it. It was a large building that they painted to look like all of the other houses around it, but really it was just a big concrete building that a bunch of Nazis used to plan out attacks and to watch over the channel.

            After the museum we headed to Bayeux to look at the Bayeux tapestry. It’s about 1,000 years old, and it tells the story of how William the Conqueror became the leader of France. It was really cool and detailed, we weren’t allowed to take pictures though :( We hung out around the church and browsed around the market for lunch. We ate at a Turkish kebab restaurant. It made me reminisce of last year when I went to Jan term in Turkey and had so much fun! She even had decorative “eyes” hanging on the walls. The myth is that they keep bad spirits away, if I remember correctly.

            We went back to our hotel for a brief time, then our group went back to Le Chateau Ducal, the castle that I wrote about in one of my previous entries. This time we were able to go inside the museum where they had small models of Caen before and after the attacks of WWII. It was pretty amazing how much damage was done. They were able to rebuild the entire city, which previously contained over 61,000 citizens, in 18 years. After the museum in the castle we walked around Caen as a group and saw some really beautiful churches. I’m glad that they were able to rebuild most of the churches after they were destroyed. The architecture is really fantastic.

            Tomorrow we will be working in groups on an applied operations research project. We will be using Excel to answer questions regarding the optimization of the number of trucks that should be used, the number of troops to be deployed, etc. It’s a pretty cool concept, especially because WWII was really the first war in which math (operations research) and economics was used to determine the optimal level of output for war. I’m so excited for Paris! I plan on buying all of my presents for my friends and family there, including my host family in Oaxaca! :)
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