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Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology ("MAC")
2. A "Preview" Summer
The parents of Brice Lechevallier, our exchange student of the previous summer, had invited Merry and me to come to France to set up the details of the sabbatical. It was a wonderful offer and one we gratefully accepted. The trip turned out to be like a second honeymoon. We spent five weeks in July and August (1994) in and around Paris, the romantic capital of the world.
The photo on the right shows us in the Latin Quarter, one of our favorite spots and one that is full of old-world character. We liked to buy Greek Pita sandwiches in the Latin Quarter.
One of the highlights of the trip was a spectacular firework display on Bastille Day. Standing under the Eiffel Tower, we watched choreographed fire exploding above the Seine while theme music thrilled the crowd. Of course, we saw all the tourist sites of the city: the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and so on. The family also took us to see the Liberty Armada in the city of Rouen. Ship from all over the world came and we spent hours seeing the sights. I was able to visit Professor Mellier, the department head at the University of Rouen, to talk about the sabbatical.
But the real treat of the vacation was something we had been looking forward to since the Lechevallier family invited us to come. We were to spend a week on a boat, floating along the canals of Alsace Lorraine. Here's our boat (péniche) going through a lock with Merry waving and Robert steering.
Our favorite part of the canals was the fantasy village of Lutzelbourg. Buried among tree-covered hills, the entire village looked like a vestige from an earlier century. The canal snaked right through the middle of town with a lock in the center of the village. We took dozens of pictures of old houses reflected in ponds and quaint street scenes. It was stunningly beautiful.
One amusing note: it took us over two hours to sail from the little town of Moussey to the base at Lagarde. After loading up the cars, we looked for a gas station. The nearest one, they told us, was back at Moussey. We drove there by car in eight minutes.
After the excitement of Paris and the romance of a week on the canals of Alsace, a week in the country, not far from the beautiful port city of La Rochelle, was the perfect ending of our trip. The ancient home in the tiny village of "Frichebois" had ceilings supported by ancient rugged beams held together with wooden pegs. The walls were of white stones cemented together and the roof was made of red tiles that were well over a hundred years old.
Then, on the way to the airport to leave, we stopped for a couple of hours to see some of the beautiful châteaux of the Loire Valley. One of our favorite was this one, the Château of Chenonceau.
What an adventure this all was – and we hadn’t even started the sabbatical yet!
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