Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Liz Weeden

We’ve said “au revoir” to Paris for now. It’s unreal that we have already begun our traveling. Our first road trip was to Chartres, France which is about an hour away from Paris. I’m originally from upstate New York and the French countryside we drove through oddly reminded me a lot of driving around at home. There are green fields, animals, and trees everywhere. Once we arrived in Chartres, it was obvious where the center of the city was. As in every medieval town, the main streets surrounded the humongous stone cathedral. Driving up the hill we could see the cathedral buttresses sticking out in an astounding example of 12th century architecture. Every time we pass an ancient building I am always fascinated by the capabilities of people who lived a century ago.

Every Hofstra student was probably taken to the labyrinth in front of CV Starr during orientation. What they probably don’t know is that Hofstra’s labyrinth is an exact replica of the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral. The cathedral chairs were placed on top of the labyrinth so we couldn’t follow the path, but it’s still interesting that despite being separated by the Atlantic Ocean, there was still a connection to Hofstra.

The stained glass of the cathedral were some of the most beautiful windows we’ve seen on this trip – and even within the 5 days we’ve been in Europe we’ve seen plenty of stained glass windows. They are this dazzling blue color, and fortunately the sun was shining on the day we visited so the windows shone bright.

One of my favorite parts of the cathedral though, was the story created by carved statues along the interior steeple wall. The story of Jesus’ life could be seen clearly in multiple segments of carved statues. The best way to describe it would be to say the story was carved as if like a stone comic book. Each ‘box’ showed a different part of the New Testament. We could walk along the stories of Jesus’ birth, to his living legacy, to his death and resurrection.

After touring the cathedral the entire group went into the surrounding town for lunch. There we found an adorable candy shop, cheese shop, pastry shop, and bread shop. There’s no doubt that we’ve all enjoyed our fair share of French delicacies so far.

It’s still slightly surreal for all of us that we are actually in Europe, touring the French countryside, and seeing things some people will only see in a travel book. It’s as if we are within the textbooks we would otherwise be reading in a class on campus.

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