Aran’s Wayback Machine: Ephesus

Let me take you back 2,000 years.

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Guts over Fear

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The Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Originally posted in Alternatives Journal

Lest we forget: war is about power.

It’s mid September, 2014. We’ve been driving the North of France with Eminem’s new single, “Guts over Fear” in never ending rotation on French radio. Our theme over the past week has been the great wars, which makes it an appropriate anthem. Much better than “Gigo, gigo, gigotez”, the French version of one of the many songs reflecting pop culture’s newfound fascination with butt wiggling and which leave you wondering what all the sacrifice was for. Continue reading

Ah, Provence!

Class is in session...

Class is in session…

From Toulouse we made our way east towards the walled city of Carcasonne – a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have played the board game, Carcasonne, so the kids were familiar with the name, but I don’t think they ever quite anticipated how truly magical it is. Walking along the walls and ramparts was absolutely wonderful, but as many others before us have pointed out, the central part of the city is completely overrun with tourist shops selling all manner of things. The kids were highly critical of this, but when I asked them what should otherwise be there, no simple answer was put forward. We talked about the need for a city such as that to generate revenue in order to maintain itself and there was subsequently general agreement that perhaps capitalizing on the tourist trade might be the only viable option.

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Phys Ed: once around the castle.

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Drama: re-enacting scenes from Monty Python.

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The North of France

 

Michel et Elizabeth: dwarfed by their house and their hospitality.

Michel et Elizabeth: dwarfed by their house and their hospitality.

North from Paris, from a one room apartment and millions of people to a large stone farmhouse in the tiny village of Villers Chatel near Arras in the northeast of France. It was bliss – from shared space to our own private bedrooms. Our Servas hosts, Elizabeth and Michel, fearing that we spoke no French, had invited their bilingual cousin Andre (30 years ago he lived in Quebec) to dinner that evening. We had a wonderful meal together and pored over maps to plan an 18 km bike route to the memorial at Vimy Ridge. Continue reading