Normandy

Today we spent the day touring the Normandy coast.  Quite a pilgrimage for an American.  We were lucky enough to have a French guide who drove us around from beach to beach, and to memorials and german bunkers.  Really phenomenal.  I don’t know the details, but I do know that my grandfather was on those beaches and in these towns right after D-day, helping to liberate these little french villages, and so much more.  There is a wonderful museum where we started to get a good overview of the lead up to and the aftermath of WW2, then on to the tour.  Here’s a photo overview, because I’m not enough of a writer to do the day justice.

First, our morning:

A HUGE sycamore tree in the middle of the courtyard of the cathedral in Bayeux, on our way to get un cafe this morning.

A little geranium in someone's window, also on our morning stroll.

The window of the bakery where J got his croissant - look at the little frog and pig shaped confections!

The front of our hotel

Onto the WW2 tour:

this is Gold's beach, the British landed here and built a break water out of sunk ships and concrete. The floating pontoons were all melted down for the metal after the war.

We are up on a cliff looking down onto the beach.

Part of the break wall on the beach.

The little French village on Gold's beach.

J in a German bunker. It took 30 men to operate this gun. Yuck.

At the American memorial and cemetary. This statue represents an american soldier rising up out of the water. 2 trees are planted on either side to represent peace.

Omaha beach. Many thousands died on this wide beach. We saw a horse and rider galloping across the sane. Lovely.

J studies the map.

Crosses and stars of david in seemingly endless rows. Over 4000 graves here, including 4 women.

Here we've come down off the cliff to walk on Omaha beach. All the sand in the road is from the big storm last week you heard about on the news.

Us on the beach at low tide.

My wet boots on some very historic sand.

Rocks at the high tide mark. We were allowed to take one, so I picked out a beauty to take home to add to my rock collection.

More German bunkers dug down deep. What a miserable existence this must have been.

From here, we traveled to Mere St. Eglise, a little village on the coast:

Our whole group with a French couple in front of their house. They made friends with an American soldier who was the grandfather of one of our students. They have stayed family friends and we were so lucky to have been in their home. They were 14 on D-day.

Madame showed photos and made us cake with eggs from her chickens, and 4 different kinds of fruit jams. Also coffee, juice, candies, etc. She was so gracious. I told her the cakes looked amazing and I was sorry I couldn't eat them because of the wheat, and she assured me there was only 50 grams of wheat! Surely I could eat just a little! Her husband made her back off - it was a pretty funny conversation to be having in french!

Back to Bayeux for a late dinner. Walking through the streets at night, we came across this old old structure. At the hotel they explained that it was a tavern, and check out the next picture...

See how the one flat stone sticks out farther than the others? It was a drive through for you and your horse and carriage!

A very full day.  Off to bed.

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