Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Off to Normandy!

I was a bit anxious about navigating the traffic leaving Paris, but with the help of good directions from the car rental agency and our GPS, it went beautifully. The roundabouts that look so confusing are actually quite easy to navigate, and the other drivers are very patient and courteous. I would way rather drive here than in New York!

Once we got out of the city in our cute little rented Fiat, it was a relaxing 2 1/2 hour drive through farms that reminded us of the Canadian prairies. It is impossible to drive this route without reflecting on what it must have been like when Hitler's army marched through here, claiming this land as its own.

We arrived in the city of Caen, and after unpacking, went to explore the city. It is quite a large city, but with good directions from the lady at the desk of our hotel, we headed downtown to talk to the people at the visitor's center.

We saw this amazing chateau and got some great information about some of the war memorials that we want to visit tomorrow, but before we could do any more exploring, we needed to plug in the GPS. Uh oh, we left it in our hotel room. Oh no, how do we find our way back to our hotel.

After studying the map and making many wrong turns, we finally stopped and asked for directions. After finally retrieving the GPS, we decided to go out to just take a look at Juno Beach where the war memorials are. This is about a half hour drive, but well worth it! It is a quaint little town, with a lovely beach with lots of sunbathers, swimmers, and people enjoying drinks on sunny pub patios.

We are looking forward to going back tomorrow and paying tribute to the thousands of Canadian, American, British, Polish, Belgians, New Zealanders, Australians, Norwegians, Czechs, Greeks, Dutch and French soldiers who lost their lives here as they stormed the beachead. What a different world we would be living in today if they had not been willing to make this sacrifice.







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