“We are all in this together…” (May 8-11)

Sorry to our family and friends who have been sitting at their computers terribly afraid for our well being because we have not yet posted a blog post. We are alive! We have also walked miles through the streets of Paris, conquered the Metro, and have been to most of the major sites and we are finally sitting down catching our breath and updating you on our trip.
Every good story starts at the beginning, so that is where we will start as well. After saying good bye to family and friends at the airport we traveled to Charlotte where after a three hour layover, we found out that our plane was being sent to the hanger for maintenance; however, they would send us another plane, in three more hours…. This messed up our schedule a bit for Wednesday. Once we landed in Paris, we drug our luggage through the street to our hostel. We were all pleasantly surprised to find that our hostel is right on the canal, our rooms have amazing views, and there is a restaurant downstairs where we can get coffee, food, and free breakfast. We spent our first day in Paris walking around the Louvre area, taking many pictures, and enjoying our first taste of the culture of Paris. If any of you had the stereotype that Parisians walk their dogs all day carrying baguettes, you would be right. They also sometimes eat the baguettes while walking.
Jess and Julia have become our designated translators for the trip. While not fluent, they know enough that we are often calling their names when we need to order food, get tickets, or when people come up to us on the street and we have absolutely no idea what they are asking. We have all tried as many “French” foods as possible, from French fries , to baguettes, French coffee, crepes, croissants, flan, and a few girls even tried escargot!
At some point during our three days in Paris so far we have all squealed and skipped out of pure joy or excitement just from our experiences here (yes, even the guys). We have also whined and complained because we are quickly learning that in order to sightsee, we must also walk and walk and walk and walk and if we are lucky Joel or Jack will let us ride the Metro. Despite tired feet, we are all enjoying our time and some of us are already figuring out how to lose our passports so we “have” to stay longer, don’t worry parents, Joel and Jack don’t find our plans too amusing.
Since we did so much in the first three days we will try to sum it up sort of quickly…
Day 1
Walking around: Saw the Louvre, Eiffel, and more
Went up the Arc de Triumph
Walked down Champ D’elysee (however you spell it..)
Day 2
3 Hour Walking tour of Paris- our tour guide gave us a GREAT history lesson and gave us good tips of where to shop, where to eat, what places are just tourist traps, etc
Musée D’orsay
Sacre Coeur
Day 3
Went to the Eiffel Tour
Saint Chappelle
Notre Dame
Shakespeare and Co Bookstore
Louvre

Arrived!

Hey Friends…

Just a quick note to let you know that we have arrived safely at our hostel in Paris. We’re working on sorting out some food and coffee and then we’ll figure out plans from there.

Flight delay update

Just a quick update to everyone to let you know that our flight out of Charlotte was delayed and we are now taking off likely closer to 8:00 pm instead of 4:40 pm. This will throw our schedule off for the day that we arrived a bit, as we had a walking tour of the city set up that will now be delayed/rescheduled. Which means we’re learning lesson #1 of international travel: be flexible! Talk to you from France soon!

Ready, Set, Ready??

As usual the time leading up to such a trip is “crazy” with trying to get everything done locally and running around after the last minute details. For example the Euros that were suppose to arrive last Friday finally reached the bank this afternoon. When the plane takes off tomorrow we will have what we have and be flexible about everything else.

Our Journey exploring Faith in a European Context

The purpose of this service learning trip is spiritual development. Arriving in Paris, France on May 9 we will spend four days touring and meeting with staff at 5 different churches. We will be exploring catholic and protestant approaches to faith from a European perspective. We will also visit the Louvre, the Eiffel tower and other museums.

Eiffel Tower
On May 13 we will travel by train to southern France and spend a week in Taize, an ecumenical monastery. Our time there will include various daily work projects, praying three times a day and studying the bible for an hour or more each day with one of the brothers.

On May 20 we take an overnight train to Esennach, Germany. We will spend three days there talking through our experiences at Taize and visiting the castle where Luther stayed while translating the bible. We will visit other areas of that community as well.

On May 24 we take a train to Frankfurt, Germany and return to the United States.

Each day a student will be writing a contribution to this blog. During the week at Taize we will not have access to the internet. The students will continue writing that week and we will post those as soon as we leave Taize. We look forward to you following along on our trip with us.