Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It’s been a long day and the Internet is not working so thought I’d write this and send everything tomorrow morning.
The day began with bright sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky; and it continued the same all day long. What a difference! Even tonight there were people eating at tables outside of restaurants. Good weather really makes a difference.
Today I had my first opportunity to navigate using Daisy. We got along find and I discovered that there was a place to ask her to repeat her instructions! Yesterday Linda found out how to reset the destination without starting from scratch! We should have done this rotation thing earlier. Here we’ve only got two more days and all this new information is not going to do us all that much good!
Our day began with a stop at the store for lunch supplies and diesel for the car then off to our first stop in Arromanches les-Bains arriving about 10 am. Less than twenty miles from Bayeux, this was one of the places that they built an artificial port and one of the only ones that survived the massive storms that destroyed several others. Today there is still plenty of equipment showing how they built the breakwater and long piers for unloading the massive amount of equipment that was being sent from England for the war to send Hitler packing from France. The Museum was packed so we decided to come back again at the end of the day when the tide was out and the tourists were gone.
We headed west and our next stop was at the village of Longues-sur-Mere. Here there were four German Battery posts plus several observation posts. We were able to go inside of the ruins and get a real feel for what it must have felt like for the German soldiers.
Then to the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach; our first stop was to walk down the cliff on the path and walk the beach. While we were there we ate our lunch that we’d packed in our backpacks. Then back up the long path to the memorial and the cemetery. It’s a very sobering moment to look out over the sea of white crosses and stars of david on the thousands of graves. They have also finished the addition to the back of the memorial where they have engraved all of the names of the service men who were killed during the war and their bodies were never found. When my sister and I were here in 2009 they were still working on this project. Jim had never seen the new section.
We drove over to the memorial near the cemetery and then drove further west where we found the public Omaha Beach. Working our way down this beach front road to the east we found the “Le Ruguet” where another beach landing had been built for equipment as it was one of the few places where there were no cliffs near the invasion area.
Then on to Pointe Du Hoc to view one of the most heavily fortified spots on the coast and heavily bombed by the Allies prior to the actual invasion. But, unknown to the Allies; the Germans had removed all of the big guns that were not covered by concrete bunkers. There were still lots of guns but not what there might have been. The ground is still full of craters made by the bombs as they landed for days prior to the invasion.
Our last stop was a German Cemetery. We each were able to find family names of soldiers buried in the cemetery as we all have German heritages. This one has groups of five crosses set in various sections of the cemetery. It is very well organized and we were able to find the actual graves that had possible relatives…distant but possible.
By this time it was nearly 5 pm and we headed back to Arromanches les-Bains to see the first site that we visited this morning. The tide was out and we’d arrived just before closing of the Museum so it was perfect. Could not believe how exposed the ruins were of the Artificial Port. You’ll enjoy comparing the photos from the morning to the afternoon.
Back home about six o’clock we freshened up and walked to the same restaurant that we’d enjoyed last night. We all enjoyed new dishes and ended our meal with an after dinner drink of Calvados, the local digestive liquor.
So as I said…it’s been a long day and it’s after midnight. Seven will come early when the alarm rings as we’ve things to see on our way to Honfleur tomorrow.