Dear Diary:DAY 1
Sydney to Paris and singing at the Arc de Triumph
These updates were written by a different singer or group of singers for each day of the tour.
The days leading up to our departure were full of apprehension. Some of us were worried about the weeks to come, but also a little excited. A spark of adventure driving us all onwards.
Airplanes bring a feeling of denial. You don’t fully believe that what is happening, is happening. It’s easy to ignore or disbelieve what is going to happen.
The trip was long and difficult. Every hour taking way too long, (and the food left much to be desired, especially for the unfortunate gluten-free individuals).
At first glance, The airport was just like Sydney — enough for some of us to believe the plane went round in a full circle, ending us up back where we began.
Janette videoed our entrance into the airport, our grand arrival. Gaye bought us doughnuts for us all to share, as we made our way out of the airport.
Our guide led us outside, the chilling air hitting us all hard, especially the ones bold enough to wear shorts, and we boarded the bus that would be taking us to our Paris accomodation.
We stopped off for a ‘ten minute’ photo stop at the Eiffel Tower. Each individual got their own photo in front of the tower, Janette interviewing a few people about their experiences so far. Forty minutes later we left, circulating around the Arc de Triomphe several times for the optimal camera angle.
After our brief stop off at the hostel to dump all our luggage and freshen up (we’d just gotten off the aeroplane, remember. None of us were feeling particularly crisp) we headed back to the bus to the Palais de la Légion d'honneur. It was a great honour to be invited to the palace and museum and the staff went out of their way to give us a great experience. Despite being exhausted, we were able to see some magnificent items in the collection such as Napoleon’s armour and the presidents’ chains. The collection holds every medal in the world. Our choir president, Rhondda Vanzella, has her OAM, and we got the opportunity to see an Australian OAM as one of the collection.
The day ended with going to the Arc de Triomphe to be part of Revival of the Eternal Flame ceremony. We had the honour of singing the French National anthem, La Marseillaise. Our creative director OJ Rushton, got to lay a wreath alongside General Beachesne, on behalf of the choir, and got to sign the official book. Rhondda Vanzella and Meg Green of the War Widows Guild of Australia also had the honour of laying a wreath.
It was. Absolutely. Freezing. But an honour nonetheless.
Afterwards, we went to cafes or the supermarket for dinner — but most crashed and were out like a light before their heads even hit the flimsy hostel pillow.
We ended the day looking forward to what adventures may lie ahead.