Search This Blog

Loading...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Goodbye

Got sad seeing the superb sunset outside the plane window. The day is drawing to a close and so is my trip.

It's been such an amazing experience and I just can't believe it's over. I feel so grateful to have been selected and would like to say thank you to the brilliant group that I travelled with for making it so memorable and special. I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life. Thank you.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Perfect Paris

Paris.

Wow.

It's such a beautiful city, full of brilliant buskers, stunning architecture, pleasant patisseries, blooming spring flowers and glistening waters. What a better way to finish of a life changing trip - than some exploration of this fine city!



Eiffel Tower

The river Saine
View of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe
My beret

Notre Dame

We only just got here but I'm already packing my bags again.  So now it's goodbye Paris, goodbye France, goodbye Europe.  But not forever.  Because I'm definitely coming back again soon!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Anzac Day

The big day is finally here - the 25th of April - the 98th anniversary for the landing of Aussie and Kiwi at Gallipoli.  We got up at 2:18am!!! And proceeded downstairs to have breakfast (more of a midnight snack).  I least I think we did because I was to tired and delirious to remember.

It was very dark, cold and misty when we arrived at the Australian National War Memorial for the dawn service.  And to think this is only their spring.  I can't even begin to imagine the hardships the Australian men and women went through here in winter all those years ago!  The sun rose over the memorial as we watched the ceremony from only the 6th row back.  As there were about 6000 people here - row 6 wasn't bad!

It was a very moving service.  My eyes got a bit watery at times - especially at the reading by an Australian War Widow.  The letter of a worried mother searching for her "missing" son's whereabouts.  Her son who had died nearly 6 months ago.

Here the band plays Waltzing Matilda.

video



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


It was also goodbye to Vestie (Slyvestre) and Estelle - our wonderful tour guides.  We saw them off with a poem each, Anzac biscuits and a promise to visit again soon!


Ode to Estelle


Chere Estelle
You are a cutie,
And a downright Australian “beauty”.
Your giggle is contagious,
And your humour outrageous!
Your driving skills are better,
Than those of Slyvestre. (hin hin hin)
We all think you’re a star,
And we will miss you from afar.
So until we meet again…
It’s see ya later…
From your mates in Austraya!


Ode to Slyvestre


Cher Vestie,
Merci pour being our bestie (bestfriend).
Kind-hearted, enthusiastic and knowledgeable,
You make learning about history more than tolerable.
Your love of your “patrie”,
Is clear for all to see!
You have enriched my life greatly,
With everything you have taught me.
But there is some knowledge I lack,
I still don’t know what that flag is…
The one with the big Union Jack??



Hope to see you in Australia soon!

Dernancourt

Yesterday we attended a service at Dernancourt.

This little town has a strong South Australian connection as South Aussie troops fought off a German offensive here on the 5th of April 1918.

The children were out for the service and we all walked down the little main street together.  The Mayor gave a really sweet speech and told us that we "can be proud to be Australian".  It was very touching to know the extent these locals go to to remember Australia and the brave sacrifices our men made.

After the service we presented the Mayor and the Children with gifts.  Among which were 2 Aussie Rules footballs.  A match was than played on the oval.  It was great fun! I even managed a broken French/English conversation with the kids!



I now have 3 French pen pals who live on Australia Road!

We were also presented with real French flags, poppy (or coquelicot in French!), badges and books.  I felt so humbled by these beautiful gifts and I will cherish them forever.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Exploring Amiens

This afternoon was completely dedicated to shopping and exploring the town!

Harry Potter et Where's Wally (Charlie) en Français, macaroons, chocolat et crêpes!!

Plus a visit to the absolutely ginormous cathedral. Apparently it's even bigger than Notre Dame!!









Villers-Bretonneux

Villers-Bretonneux is busy getting ready for Anzac Day commemorations.

Signs for the Footy were all up - ready for tomorrow. Green and Gold flags flutter in the breeze in the town square and the French and Australian flags fly side by side.

Anzac Day has a special significance here. Not only is it the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign but it marks the day in 1918 when Australian troops recaptured the town from German occupation. This was very important in the course of the war as Villers-Bretonneux was the last town before Amiens. Had the Germans captured Amiens (a town with essential railway connections) they would have been able to effectively cut all communications between London and Paris.

The symbol for Villers-Bretonneux is very cute - a kangaroo made from the letters VB (initials of the town... not the beer!).

There is a strong connection here with Australia - in particular Melbourne. In 1927 Victorian school children helped raised money to establish a school - Victoria school. In big, bright green and gold letters the words "Do Not Forget Australia" are displayed proudly in the school courtyard.

We then went to the Australian National Memorial just out of town - where we will be attending the dawn service tomorrow. It's very impressive and big.







Scaling the mini Eiffel Tower

After a rather large dinner and dessert last night of Savoury Crepes and Creme Brûlée a morning stroll was in order.

Little did I know it would include me scaling the a mini Eiffel Tower!!