Honfleur, Normandie, and the D-Day beaches
25.05.2007 - 25.05.2007 22 °C
For those of you paying attention, yes we slipped in a picture of Maddie in yesterday's blog. We miss the puppy and have seen a ton of dogs here. I'm sure she is having a good time at the Farmer household while we are gone.
Today, we slept a little later than normal or as planned...depending on your point of view.
Grabbed some snacks and pastries at the local market.
Drove to Caen to visit the Normandy Museum. Along the way, our 4 wheeled chariot needed some essence sans plomb (unleaded gas). I pumped 8 gallons which rang up a $52 bill. Now that's expensive gas! I'm glad I don't have to fill up my truck at those prices.
With a full tank, we managed to find the museum. It wasn't well marked from the street even though the building was massive with multiple flag poles in front. We just couldn't tell. Clueless Americans.
We walked around for over 3 hours inside. There were numerous WWII exhibits and movies to view. It was quite interesting to read actual WWII letters, study the invasion maps, and learn about Hitler's attempts to take over Europe and the USSR.
From the museum, we drove to Gold Beach which is one of the D-Day beaches where the actual German fortresses were still intact as part of the Atlantic Wall. It was hard to imagine the time, energy, and inginuity that went into building these massively elaborate concrete fortresses. It was said that Hitler's armies started building them almost two years before the US and British attacked. As we drove around the little towns, we imagined what it must have been like to live there during the war amongst the German armies. It's harder to imagine that it was less than 65 years ago when it was all happening. We realized how lucky we've been in our lifetime to have never had to live through a war on US soil.
We then grove about 17 kilometers to Omaha beach, where the US National D-Day Cemetary is located. The cemetary was Megan's favorite attraction of the day. The grounds were green, lush, and immaculately maintained. The graveyards held over 9300 white crosses and Stars of David. The cemetary spanned over 170 acres above the ocean and the beach. It was a very moving experience.
From the cemetary, we decided to head back to Bayeux for dinner. Bayeux is a classic French town with narrow streets, buildings crammed together, and myriad street shops and eateries. Bayeux was the first town liberated by the D-day troops and it was captured with little destruction. Despite 200 choices, we picked a Cafe. The food was really good.
After dinner, we headed back to Honfluer. I wanted to avoid the Auto-route and take a more scenic road for our return trip. That didn't really work out. I took a wrong turn somewhere and got disoriented, but not lost, because as Dad would say, "I know I'm in Northern France roughly 70 km west of Honfleur and the deer trails always run North and South in these parts." I spied a sign for the Auto-route and so I gave in and headed to the toll way. About this time Megan arose from her slumber to pipe in with, "Why is it taking so long to get home?" I wasn't happy.
Once we hit the toll way, we were home in no time. Our trusty Hyundai Getz cruises along at 130 kph without complaint.
Just before dark, we walked along the harbor in front of our hotel. I liked the rotating bridge with wooden planking. Megan wasn't impressed.
That left us with a few moments to blog and surf the internet before sleepy time.