We are now in Normandy, France. We have had a few days of pure adventure, remembrance of history, and enjoying the local fare and drink.
After a quick jaunt up the Eiffel tower on Monday, we set out by train to Normandy. Our plan was to pick up our car in Caen, about an hour away from our vacation home in Normandy. Of course, little did we know that our plans would soon be thwarted. After arriving at the train station, we quickly found our car rental company. We were exhausted after our early morning jaunt from London to Paris, climbing on foot to the 1st and 2nd floors of the Eiffel Tower, and manuevering the subway system to make our way out to train station. We couldn’t wait to jump in our car and spend a relaxing evening in the French countryside.
Well, turns out that Monday was a French holiday and to make a long story short – there was NO way we were going to get our car that evening. No matter how many phone calls we made, no matter how much time we spent working towards it. A holiday is a holiday. It didn’t matter that the car was already paid for and that we had a scheduled pick up time on Monday. Go with it. We forfeited our paid night in our B&B in Normandy and settled in for the night in a little hotel outside the train station. We were pretty bummed, but felt fortunate that our problem was relatively insignifiant as compared to all the potential problematic probabilities. At 8 am the next morning, we were able to retrieve our car and set out for our planned D-Day tour with the infamous Brit tour guide, Ellwood.
Our D-Day tour was informative, emotionally charged, and powerful. I am really not even sure I can put into words the sense of awe and amazement we felt for the men who served so valiantly on that fateful day. While getting ready to eat lunch, we ran into a man from the 4th infantry division, who landed on Utah Beach on D-day. He was a 90 year old American Veteran who had come to France for the D-Day celebrations next week. He has been given the honor of unveiling the memorial to Dick Winters (featured in Band of Brothers) next week at one of the museums. He invited us to sit with him for lunch. My husband and I fought to hold back tears as he described the events of that day to us. He was a tender, gentle man and we could hardly believe that he had experienced so much at such a young age.
Following our tour, we grabbed a delcious, butter ladened dinner and settled in for the night. This morning, we headed out to Mont Ste Michel. The glorious Abbey on a mountain of granite that juts out of the sea. It was a breathtaking climb to the top, but we were rewarded with glorious views of the French landscape in every direction and a fantastic audio guide led tour of the abbey itself.
We are loving France! Tomorrow we move on to the Loire Valley where the castle exploration will begin.