After hours of sitting in an airplane seat trying to sleep on and off, we finally landed in Paris. Once finding our meeting location with our tour company, we headed to downtown Paris to start on our walking tour. We ate dinner then saw many things on our walking tour. We boarded the bus to head to our hotel in Reims, Paris. We arrived at the hotel.
The next morning we awoke to a very French breakfast that consists mostly of bread items like croissants and then an assortment of meats, cheeses and a small amount of fruit. The first thing on our itinerary on Tuesday was the champagne tour. Upon arrival, we walked through the glass doors to see a giant barrel; this barrel was used to contain the champagne for a fair. It is so big that it took like 6 sets of cows to pull it to the town for the festival. We started on our tour by watching a small video of the history of the champagne distillery. We then went down an elevator that went down a good distance. As we were going down they had a giant screen playing a video on the outside of the elevator. Stepping out of the elevator, you could feel how far down we were. We boarded a train run by lasers. The little train took us all through the cellars with monuments, statues, cases and cases of champagnes, and even some of the old and new machinery for distilling the champagne. It was awesome to see exactly how everything was put together to create such well-known champagne in France. We headed to downtown Reims to grab lunch. Next, we went on a walking tour to see Notre Dame and some other great places. Notre Dame did have construction going on after the fire burning down a good portion of it. After, we headed back to the hotel to put on our attire for our first World Cup game, USA vs. Thailand. I changed into my US jersey and a group of us braided our hair and wore bandanas for the game. Walking into the game was a dream come true. Every little girl dreams of seeing their idols play in a tournament to crown the best in the world. I had no idea that the first time I would watch the USWNT play that it would be the same game that they made history by scoring 13 goals, the largest goal differential in history. Goal after goal, it was just mesmerizing to watch these girls play with such composure, skill, confidence, and teamwork. Lloyd’s drive to score a goal in that game was indescribable. It was a late night with bad stadium food, but that night will forever be one for the books.
They let us sleep in the next morning then enjoy breakfast before embarking on our next journey, the Palace of Versailles. You here all about how huge the house is, but it isn’t until you are walking up to it that you really understand its size. Just as it was starting to drizzle we got our new tickets and began to walk inside. The Château de Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. We went from room to room looking at the beautiful decor, artwork, sculptures, and statues. Finally reaching the end, we went outside to at least see the gardens. It would take hours upon hours to walk through all of the gardens, but we just saw from the top view. We left the Palace to head to our new hotel in Caen. Our itinerary for Thursday was to hike up Mont Saint Michel. If you have never heard of it, just think a real-life version of a princess castle. It didn’t look real. Walking to the top was definitely a hike, but it was worth it. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and became the seat of the monastery.
We boarded the bus, yet again; this time heading to our D-day tour, stopping at Pond du Hoc, Omaha Beach, and the US cemetery. Pond du Hoc was really cool. It’s crazy that the soldiers flew their plane to the beginning of the beach to climb up a 100 ft Cliff in an attempt to shut down the gigantic machine guns. 200 men reached the top only to find that the machine guns were nowhere to be found because Germany had moved them once seeing the troops from their lookouts. Out of the 200, only 90 men were left after the successful attack. The soldiers waited for their reinforcement but it didn’t seem like they were coming. Those 90 troops had to hold up their stance for almost 4 days before help arrived. While visiting, we got to see the original barbed wire, bunkers, places of the machine guns, and the craters of the bombs by the Allied powers. There was also a sculpture made to look like a Swiss Army knife in honor of those soldiers who used everything they had to win the battle. We left and headed to Omaha beach where the Allied troops had countless obstacles by the Germans to stop them from making it to the front line. A beautiful sculpture had been created and placed on the Beach as a reminder to the deadly battle that took place on the beach. Our last stop of the D-day tour was the US cemetery. Upon arrival, there was some sort of bike group that was leaving. We walked to the time capsule that is to be opened 100 years after June 6th, 1944. The time capsule contains newspaper articles, clippings, and notes of that day. We then walked down to the structured with two maps of both sides of the war with a symbolic sculpture showing the birth of the young United States. Walking through the cemetery with all the soldiers who gave it all for us was breathtaking. So many left their families, spouses, and children to help our country.
Last on our itinerary for the day was the England vs Argentina game. England was the superior opponent, but Argentina’s goalkeeper was just amazing. She is the only reason that the score was not as high as the USA vs. Thailand game. Mead was an amazing player to watch as she was able to breakdown the defense with pace, skill, creativity, and perseverance. Arriving back to the hotel late, we showered and went straight to bed.
Tomorrow morning came so quick, I felt like I didn’t even sleep. We got up to pack as we were heading back to Paris for the remainder of the trip. We got on the metro this time instead of the bus because it was easier to get places. We headed to the stop with the Eiffel Tower for our special dinner on the water. A special guest came and talked for a few minutes; it was the Heather O’Riley. We went to the next door to board our cruise on the Seine River. It was amazing to see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and their version of the Statue of Liberty. The Eiffel Tower even sparkled for 5 minutes. We returned back to the hotel to get some sleep as we would be early risers for the tour of the Eiffel Tower the next morning since we arrived late on the day most people went to see it. It took 2 different elevators to get us to the top portion that people can see which is 285 feet up but the Eiffel Tower itself is 325 meters. We went to the very top and looked then headed to the first floor where the glass floor was. We walked back to the metro to ride to our hotel in order to change and get ready for the USA vs. Chile game. We all got decked out in Red, White, and Blue for our final World Cup game. We arrived at the stadium the earliest we had the entire trip. We got in and to our seats and realized we still had another hour and 30 minutes til kick off. Victoria and I got our whole group flags -- little did I know, this small action would get us on FOX News and on Getty images. We had all the photographers om the field taking pictures of us before the game started. The game was good but definitely not as eventful as the first one. Lloyd has a great volley to jump-start the game then 2 other goals followed that. Mostly the second team was playing for this game. The second half was not as good, but we still got the win that’s all that matters. Since this game was early, we took a detour on the way back to the hotel to see the Arc de Triomphe, dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. For our last night, the girls went out for dinner on their own to share one last night together in Paris. It was really hard to not write a book because this trip was filled with fun adventures and great memories. I hope you enjoyed the condensed version of the trip.