My 3 favorite things about Frankfurt
- The Frankfurt on Foot tour: Our tour guide Dave, who’s an American, was awesome! We walked around the city for almost 5 hours, and learned so much about Frankfurt’s history
- The Eintracht Soccer game: I’m not even going to pretend to be a soccer fan (no way…not this Auburn girl), but to experience European soccer first hand was pretty outstanding
- Dom Romer: The Dom Romer is the city square in the middle of Frankfurt. One of my favorite memories from the trip was when we sat outside and had an afternoon Hefewiesen and chatted the afternoon away.
- Oktoberfest: Without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip. It was pure fun…complete with liter beers, tons of laughter, new friends, and old friends. Shoot, even the headache accumulated from the morning/afternoon activities ended up being funny
- The Hofbrauhaus: If you ever get the opportunity to go to the Hofbrauhaus please go! My only advice…don’t get the original Pilsner. I had major beer envy once I tasted all the others.
- Dachau Concentration Camp: It’s tough to put this under “My favorite things…” category, but my father is Jewish, and the Holocaust hits close to home. This was truly a very real and reflective afternoon for me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have seen a place where so much evil and brutality existed, but to see the resilience of the Jewish people despite the atrocities.
- The Eiffel Tower: On our first night in Paris, Marisa, Ethan and I bought wine, bread, cheese, and chocolate and sat at the base of the Tower and waited for it to light up. From the great conversation to the French wine to the glistening lights…it was fabulous
- Versailles: Ok, technically Versailles isn’t in Paris, but close enough. The palace was amazing, and the audio tour rocked!
- Musee de Orsay: Van Gough + Monet + Manet = spectacular! To see Van Gough’s self-portrait with my own eyes was awesome!
- The German schnitzel
- The French baguette from Versailles
- The chocolate croissants from both countries
My 3 least favorite foods
- The leberkasee: It was so revolting. It literally translates to “liver cheese.” Enough said
- The “green sauce”: a weird mint green sauce toped with hard boiled eggs…ick!
- The coffee: I know it’s technically not a food, but I sure did miss my Starbucks
My 3 least favorite things about Europe
- What they say is true…the French stink. Words cannot describe the stench on the Paris Metro
- Coke and water was at least 3 euro at every restaurant. I tried not to cringe every time I ordered.
- The lack of college football: I know I’m being nitpicky, but I was dying not knowing the Saturday college football scores.
The 3 biggest surprises
- I loved the Roudin Museum in Paris. Who knew I had such an appreciation for sculpting?
- They don’t take credit cards like we do here in the US (i.e. for small dollar purchases). It was pretty apparent that I needed more cash once I arrived
- The efficiency of the Subways: I don’t think we waited more than 5 minutes for any train
Finally, after Marisa left Paris, Ethan and I had the opportunity to spend the day in the Normandy region of France. After a 2 hour train ride from Paris to Caen, then another short train ride to the town of Bayuex, we arrived around 9:30 AM. We ended up getting a taxi service to take us to the beaches, and we had a driver who spoke zero English and drove like a maniac! It was quite an interesting start to the day.
Our first stop was the American Cemetery, which honors the American soldiers who died during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The Cemetery is actually owned, operated, and maintained by the United States government. Before arriving at the cemetery, you walk through a museum that is dedicated to the events leading up the invasion of Normandy, the invasion itself, and the subsequent European liberation that followed. I found myself feeling very emotional in the museum, but nothing prepared me for the feeling I had when I saw the cemetery. The grounds are beautifully maintained and each headstone is marked with either a cross or a Star of David honoring the soldier’s faith. I walked around the grounds with tears freely flowing as I thought of the bravery those men faced that day. It was truly a remarkable experience, and is one of the highlights of the entire trip. I almost feel like I would be doing the cemetery a disservice by trying to put it into words. All I can say is it was an emotion I was unprepared for and I felt extreme pride for the men and women who gave their life for our country.