Saturday, May 03, 2014

Fooling around Normandy

In Caen (French Normandy) to receive the first prize from Chansons sans Frontières. Spent the run up to the awards ceremony checking out the town and its neighborhood. Caen played a big role in the Norman invasion of Britain – William the conqueror lived hereabouts – and later in the Normandy Landings of WWII. We stop by the town of Bayeux with the 20 meter long tapestry telling the story of the Battle of Hastings...
Picture of Bayeux Tapestry - taken from Wiki  article on the Bayeux Tapestry
(because visitors to museum are not allowed to take photos of the tapestry)
... and the bell of peace at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Bayeux. The bell had landed just that day. It will be unveiled at the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings in June, possibly by Prez Obama.

Later we drive by the beaches of the Normandy Landings – Utah Beach, Omaha Beach (which everyone now, in a universal slip of the tongue, calls Obama Beach), Gold Beach – and the American War Cemetery. 
I have fun fooling around with the German Gun Battery on the cliffs of Longues-sur-mer...
...and imagine what the invading army must have looked like to the German defenders from the observation slot of the gun control bunker. 

Later, we walk along the cliffs overlooking Gold Beach. Endless cold, lashing sea from horizon to horizon on one side, and an endless plain of heather on the other. You can hear the battle sounds if you close your eyes, only it is the cry of seagulls and the roar from the sea.

We check out the Normandy Invasion memorial in Caen, with actual artifacts from the invasion. It is built right on top of the underground command bunker of General Richter.
The next day take a drive to Mont Saint-Michel to check out the abbey floating lazily on an islet in the English Channel.Our first view of Mont Saint-Michel emerging from the sea like a fairy tale castle.
The sea cuts off access to land some hours of the day, and then rolls back to expose an expanse of salty march with treacherous quicksand. 

Views of the abbey.

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