Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday June 29th

Hello, again! The second full week of the program has come to a close. Many important visits and meetings took place this week and there are many more to come. The weather has remained beautiful this week. We had a bit of rain yesterday and while we were at Mont Saint Michel, but if everything goes as predicted, we will continue to have lovely weather for our stay in Brittany.

Friday, June 20th was Maggie Stinnett’s birthday. We celebrated with a cake in her honor during lunchtime on Monday, June 23rd

On Monday, the students and their families visited the Mayor’s office in Brest. A welcome reception was held by the vice-Mayor. Students were able to see the Salle des mariages (the room where weddings are held) and speak with the vice-Mayor. Loïc Lerme, the student coordinator, spoke on behalf of the instructor team. Sarah Klotz and Bailey Roberts were selected to give speeches at the reception as well. 

On Thursday, the group embarked on our big, overnight excursion to Normandy. The first day of the excursion, we visited Saint Malo. This is a medieval, walled city (much like Concarneau) located on the beach of the English Channel. 

After a visit to Saint Malo, we continued on to the abbey of Mont Saint Michel. Despite some construction around the island, and despite some rain, students were able to see the abbey and the chapel, as well as take pictures of the surrounding quick sand. In recent years, they have been making improvements around the island to make it safer to visit the island and make room for more groups to visit the island. 

The group spent the night in the small village of Lion sur mer. We stayed in a château, where we enjoyed a nice dinner and a trip to the beach.

The next morning, we made a quick stop at Arromanches to see the remains of the naval base there. This was a quick, morning stop on the way to the American Cemetery.

American Cemetery was very beautiful and we succeeded in avoiding the rain. Since we were there in the morning, there was hardly anyone else around. We were able to meet briefly with the group from the Saint Brieuc program, as (unbeknownst to the instructor teams) we were on excursion to Normandy at the same time. Some stagiaires were able to speak with classmates who are participated in the Saint Brieuc program as the instructors got to speak with their Saint Brieuc colleagues as well.
Omaha Beach was a moving experience for the stagiaires. The tide was high and there was no one else on the beach at the time we were there, so it was possible to really take in the importance of this historic place. 

Our last stop on the Normandy excursion was a visit to Mémorial de Caen museum. Students were free to explore the museum and see the many imagine of World War II. There are many film exhibits at the museum as well. To end our visit, we watched a film chronicling the time-frame of the Normandy invasion and footage from the invasion itself.

After a restful evening, student were invited on an optional excursion to Océanopolis, which is the aquarium here in Brest. About half of the stagiaires attended this excursion. We saw seals, otters, starfish, penguins and other sea life. A good time was had by all.

Until next week! Team Brest