Archive for July, 2012

Last France Update

Hi Everybody,
I hope you enjoyed my last post. This post will be similar to the last, except I have decided that this post will be shorter. To start this post, I will be combining both the days that my family was in normandy into one section and the days in paris together as well. While we were in Normandy, we drove to the beach to see a 360˚ video that was put together from modern color footage that is combined with old d-day footage. It was really cool because the movie was covering a 360˚ area. At different parts of the movie I found myself getting carsick, after the movie I found out that everybody else did as well. Another thing that we did to learn about d-day was having a private guide show us around different areas. We learned a lot about d-day and when we returned to our hotel there was a medieval festival. We did not explore the festive very thoroughly but what we saw was interesting. That was the end of our time in Normandy. Here are some pictures of Normandy:

Bombed gun position


After my family left Normandy we went to Paris. Our plan was that my dad and I would leave two weeks before my mom and sister were to leave, I am currently on my way home with my dad while my sister and mom are still in France. In Paris, we did a lot of tourist things. The most touristy things that we did were to go to Versailles and the Eiffel tower. When we went to the Eiffel tower the top was closed. We don’t know exactly why but  think that it was related to the bad weather. Even though we were not allowed to go all the way up the view was still cool. We also visited Versailles,  the old French palace. When we got there we discovered and hour and a half long line. Inside was amazing but really crowded. I found myself getting hungry. We went outside for lunch. The garden was much better because there were not as many people in each square foot. Before we left we rented bikes and cruised around the gardens. In Paris we also went to the Louvre. We only saw about half of the museum including the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was much smaller than I expected and I was not able to get up close because there were too many people. Here are some pictures of Paris:

Eiffel Tower

View from our apartment

I have had a great time in France, but like the end of every trip I look forward to the familiarities of home.


First Update from France

Hi Everybody,

I have been having a great time in France. So far my trip has been full of crazy surprises. Even though there have been a lot of surprises, the trip has been fun. The first surprise of my trip was when my family and I landed in Marseille, our luggage did not land with us. Apparently, it had been left behind in Frankfurt. Luckily, we did not lose our luggage; we were only without it until around noon the next day. After our luggage arrived we all changed our clothes and went in to the town, Salon De Provence. On the next day we went to Aix-en-Provence. On our way there we saw a castle, we decided to go and take a look. We walked up the path to the entrance and saw a garden with hedges designed especially to be in different patterns. Here are some pictures:

The garden.

The castle.

We were surprised when we found out the castle was not open. We got back in our car and head to Aix. When we got to Aix we  found ourselves stuck in traffic and looking for parking. Eventually we found a parking spot and walked to the market. I did not buy anything and I don’t think anybody else in my family did either. After the market, we headed back home and that was it for that day. The next day we headed for Cassis, a small town on the coast. We visited the market there and had lunch. After lunch we walked down to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was an old fashioned, small lighthouse; here are some pictures that I took:

My sister dancing.

The lighthouse.


After we went to Cassis we headed to La Ciotit to look for catamaran lessons and go to the beach. We found a great beach spot and set up camp. I started noticing people going out on paddleboats with slides; I was able to convince my family to go out on one. We had a great time. I was the first one of us to go down the slide. When I got in the water, it was much saltier than I expected. We enjoyed ourselves for an hour and then returned the boat. By then the day was ending so we headed back home. The next day we headed to Arles, a town west of Salon. We walked through the streets and entered the square. We went into a church and I took some pictures using different effects. Here are some of my favorites:

When we left the church we headed to an underground area that used to be a roman building and courtyard. There were different neon sculptures. It was really dark and I was able to get a few good pictures there as well. Here they are:

Here is a picture of neon skulls.

Spider webs hanging from a metal grate.

A accidently blur that ended up cool.

After the underground ruins we headed to a Roman theatre, luckily above ground. Then, we headed a to a museum with a bunch of models of different roman structures. The models were really cool. here are some pictures:

The now underground Roman courtyard we explored earlier.

The museum was interesting but not very big. We left the museum and headed to Nimes, where there is a Coliseum. Sadly, the coliseum was closed, so we left Nimes and headed to the Pont Du Gard, a very old roman aqueduct across a river. The Pont Du Gard was amazing; it was amazing that it has been standing for such a long time. Here are some pictures:

Above is the view looking right, below is the view looking left.

After the Pont Du Gard we headed home to play in the pool. The next day we started out by heading to another castle. When we got there we had to park our car and walk. We walked for a long time and finally we found out that the castle was closed. We headed back down and left to go to another town with a castle and to get lunch. We did not go into it the other castle, but I got a good picture:

After lunch we went to an Abbey. Here are some pictures:

Down in the valley.

After visiting the Abbey we headed home. The next day was my birthday! I started my birthday by sleeping in, when I woke up my family sang happy birthday to me. We left Salon around 9:00 so we could get to La Ciotit. Remember when I told you that the first time we went there we were looking for catamaran rentals? We planned on renting a small catamaran to sail on my birthday. When we arrived at Societie Nautique La Ciotit they told us that we could not go out until 2:00 PM. We went back to Cassis to take a Calanques boat tour. It was forty-five minutes long. Here are some pictures:

After the tour we headed back to the catamaran rental place. Only my dad and I could go out, and before we could rent we had to take a lesson. I was happy to take a lesson because I am interested in catamarans. The lesson and the renting time were really fun. At one point my dad, who was the skipper, started heading downwind. I was trapezeing, hanging out of the boat while being supported by a line that is coming down from the mast, when suddenly my dad fell off the boat! The boat kept going and I unclipped myself just as the sail was crossing sides. I stopped the boat and waited for the teacher, who was in a motorboat, to arrive with my dad. I don’t have any pictures of me sailing because all of the cameras were in the car. In Societie Nautique’s boatyard there was a boat that to me, looks like it was designed after Oracle Racing’s AC 45s. Here is a picture:

I noticed is that the visual hull design is very similar to Oracles hull design. After sailing I was really tired so we went home, back to Salon de Provence. That was the end of my birthday. It was a really great and fun birthday, like every day so far my trip. I think that if I were to write any more, this post would be too long! I will get back to you next week after Normandy and Paris.

The Heavy Weather Regatta

Hi Everybody,

I mentioned in my post The Starting Line Of Summer , I was going to do the Heavy Weather Regatta at the St. Francis Yacht Club. It was last weekend. Before the regatta started, the St. Francis hosted a clinic for sailors who wanted to learn about the race area before the regatta. On the first day of the clinic, Wednesday, we learned about how the currents work at the city front. In the afternoon we saw the same AC 45 that I had been on (if you would like to learn more read June Update). However, they were not using the regular Oracle sail, they were using the Youth America’s Cup sail with the wing extension. Wednesday was also the day Laird Hamilton, a surfer, went out on Oracle racing‘s AC45. The next day, was the second day of the clinic and we did not see any ACs that day. We spent most of our time learning about the tricky and unintuitive currents of the bay. When we were out sailing, we did practice races and many different drills. The coach of our clinic was Mike Kalin. He used t0 be the StFYC opti coach but he moved on to being one of the US olympic laser team coaches. It was really great having him as my coach for those two days. Friday, the first day of the regatta. We launched our boats at 11:30 and sailed to the race course. The first race started at 12:00. We did four races on Friday. I do not feel like I raced my level on any of the first three races, but on the fourth race, I got 17th, a very satisfiying position. On the second day, I did better than the first. We had four races, and on the third race I got 15th out of 36. On the last day of the regatta, Sunday, I did really well! I did great in all three of my races, the best of them was a 13th. Here are the results: Heavy Weather Results. Even through I didn’t have the best start, I came back with a strong finish and really enjoyed the regatta. It is really hard to sail for five days at city front, but I am lucky to have the opportunity to sail there and it was great. Here are some pictures that I dad took of me on the water.

My next post will be about our trip to France. So far we have had a lot of fun. I can’t tell you too much, because that is not what this post is about. I can’t wait to update you soon. Oh, and by the way, tomorrow is my fourteenth birthday!


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