Bonjour! European Discovery aime Amsterdam et Paris. We have had quite an exciting few days visiting our past two cities. Filled with museums, various tours, and exploration time, the trip members really got a good sense of the cities culture and history.
As we arrived in Amsterdam for our early morning tour of the Anne Frank house, we were shocked to see how many people actually ride bikes as it felt there were more bikes than people in the city. We later found out that this was true! Most people in Amsterdam have more than one bike for different occasions.
Our first stop at the Anne Frank house was quite an emotional one. “It was fascinating to actually see where her store took place rather than being read or told about it,” said Justin who really took in all the museum had to offer. As we walked through that house, the stories in her book came alive, especially as when we passed the original bookcase (which still has all the books on it) that blocked the attic entrance. To know that those were the exact books and bookcase and not replicas that Anne had touched while in hiding was just unreal. Many of the trip members also signed the book leaving their mark at the memorial house.
Following the museum, we visited the I AMSTERDAM sign and had a blast taking photo shoots. We then journeyed on a guided bike tour around the city and realized that Amsterdam is serious about their biking. Joli enjoyed the bike tour and thought it was an amazing way to see the city as she appreciated the picturesque views of the river, architecture, and parks. Isabel M. found this experience especially amazing, as it was her first time riding a bike. She did a great job and can’t wait to do the bike tour in Annecy!
As we made our way to Paris, all of the trip members reflected on our time in Amsterdam and agreed of how much a great bonding experience it was. As the days continue, our trip members personalities are shining through and the budding friendships are turning into lasting ones.
Once in Paris, all of our faces overwhelmed with the sheer size and details of all the buildings. We began our Parisian adventure by climbing the Eiffel Tower. Our timing could not have been more perfect as we arrived to the infamous landmark while it was still light out. After we ascended upon the massive structure, we were able to see the breathtaking views of Paris from about during daylight. Rachel B., who also celebrated her 16th birthday while in Paris, was shocked at how huge the tower was. She thought it was awesome getting to go up it and see the city, but that it was also “so cool to see the structure from the inside” as we walked back down. After walking down during sunset, we planted our group across the street to watch the evening light show where the tower sparkles for five minutes everyday. Olivia liked “seeing the happy couples in the park when the tower lit up.” Being in the city of love truly is amazing.
The following day, we visited Versailles, Montmarte (the artists quarters), and the Rodin Museum which houses the thinker statute. Versailles certainly did not disappoint, as the groups are absolutely amazing. Just to imagine someone actually living in that huge of a palace is crazy. Aside from the actual structure itself, Christi enjoyed the day because she tried escargot at a French café and split a French baguette and grapes at the market near Versailles. Since this was a bartering market, she was able to get the grapes for free! That night, we took a boat tour on the Seine River, which took our breath away even more. Jamie said that it was an experience she will never forget. “Everything from the beautiful scenery just to bonding with friends made a picture perfect end to the day.”
On our last day in Paris, we made our way to the Louvre to see the ever-famous Mona Lisa, which in actuality is quite tiny! Many of the trip members enjoyed viewing the famous artworks from various artists. We also traveled about the Champs Elysee and climbed the L’arc de Triumph, which once again provided the trip members with stunning views of the city. Our favorite part of the final day in Paris was dinner with karaoke. Jessica had a blast being up on stage singing and dancing. She felt very comfortable performing in front of the group, which motivated other trip members to get up and do the same. This again was an unforgettable bonding experience that has brought all of our trip members that much closer!
After such an action packed few days, we are all looking forward to some relaxation time in Annecy!
The Westcoast Blogger