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This is a little spot to call my own. I'm here to blog about what is on my mind and my plate! This is a place to share my journey to becoming a healthier and stronger me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Final Excursion.

Today marked the final day trip for our group. It was a trip that I was slightly anxious about, as the agenda called for a trip to Struthof, France to visit the Natzweiler Concentration Camp.
(Monument that was constructed in memory of those who lost their lives in the camp.)
The whole visit was overwhelming. My mom's side of the family is Jewish, so stepping foot into a place where so many people of the same faith were tortured and killed because of their beliefs was very difficult.
(Barbed wire that kept prisoners inside of the camp and the Vosges Mountains in the background that (to me) symbolize freedom.)
I chose to not photograph the actual camp because it just did not seem appropriate. Between the stories we heard (from a camp survivor) and the barracks we walked through, I was left feeling flabbergasted and very emotional.

It was upon reflection that I remembered lyrics by Ben Harper that explained exactly how the camp affected me..."So much sorrow and pain, but still I will not live in vain...I am blessed to be a witness."
I believe that I was meant to see this camp and reflect on how dangerous human beings can be. The pain caused by the Nazi's during WWII is not forgotten. Yet, I choose to process what I have seen and move forward. We are so fortunate for the hand we have been dealt in our lives and today provided an opportunity for me to acknowledge that once again.

~~

Despite the somber mood of the group we moved on from the camp and headed to lunch at a restaurant nestled in the hills of the Vosges Mountains.
(The Farmhouse Inn.)
I once again chose the vegetarian option thinking it would be a lighter meal (and of course meat free) but oh my goodness was I wrong.
(Appetizer: assorted vegetable salad including cucumber, beets, carrot, tomato, and lettuce).

The first course had you fooled right? Me too. But just look at what came next. Legitimately a HUGE pan of potatoes smothered in fresh, pungent Munster cheese.
First of all, I have never eaten fresh French Munster cheese. But I quickly learned that it is strong in both smell and flavor. I honestly did not care for it beyond the first couple bites and luckily there were other offerings provided.
(On top of my Munster potatoes is a green salad with tomatoes, steamed cabbage and carrots, and a few plain potatoes.)
After consuming what felt like a lot of food, I was still left with this heaping pile of potatoes on my plate!
The meal lasted 2+ hours, so by the time dessert was offered I had managed to make a little room :) I am glad I did too because the offering was divine.
(Homemade vanilla, brandy-laced strawberry, and rhubarb ice cream.)

As a small aside I want to mention that the place we had lunch today is actually a duck farm. They are humanely raised, slaughtered, and served all on sight. It was remarkable how happy all of the ducks looked. Although I still consider myself a pescatarian, I had a piece of duck today. My reasoning behind being a pescatarian range from the politics of food in America to the inhumane and artificial way meat is produced. I felt no guilt in tasting the duck today because I believe they are treated with respect and valued by the farmers, chefs, and diners.
If you were wondering, it was delicious.

We hiked for roughly an hour following lunch. This was beyond necessary as we were all so full. I was not expecting the walk to be nearly as breathtaking as it turned out to be.
I quickly fell behind the chatty group and reflected on the day in silence all while taking in the gorgeous scenery.

The last stop of the day was an old Catholic Monastery called The Mont Saint-Odile that sits atop a large mountain.
It has sprawling views of the Rhine River Valley. If you can picture the scene without haze, Strasbourg is located straight ahead and the Black Forest is just beyond that. Moreover, to the left of the photo is the border between Germany and France.
Not a bad view to end the day with.

In all it was an interesting and emotional day.

The more group activities and day trips I take here, the more grateful I become for the great group of people I was placed with in D.C. and my family and friends at home.
I don't really mesh well with this group, so I find that I spend a lot of the time thinking.
This is not a bad thing, but it will be nice to be around some familiar faces in 7 days. :)

Tomorrows agenda calls for a short morning run followed by me camping out in a local café until I make some serious headway in this research paper.

Love you all!
~Jenn

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to go to a Concentration Camp. For some reason, ever since first learning about it in 6th grade, I've always been really interested in the Holocaust. I'm sure it was a very emotional trip for you, but it sounds like you took something from it.
    I love all the pictures from your exciting day!! (;
    Love the new background too!

    ReplyDelete

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