|Subject: Travelogue Normandy|
Here is my second mini-travelogue of my three months in France.
Normandy France(May 29-31)
I arrived in Caen, France after a 2-hour train trip from Paris and checked into the Hotel 'La Rotunde'. This very nice hotel is located near the Caen train station, which made it very convenient with my large amount of luggage from three months of living in France. Caen is very much a modern city as it was heavily bombed during WWII. Still I did have a good look at the Cathedral of St. Pierre and the Chateau Caen. The Chateau Caen is a massive fort that once housed the throne of William the Conqueror. It also has some very impressive walls and a large collection of cannons from more recent times. I finished the morning off with a quick tour of the Cathedral, which is a nice oasis of calm from all the tourists.
After a picnic lunch, I caught bus N17 up to the Memorial Museum. This museum is broken up in sections to help explain not just what happened in WWII but to also recount how the 1920's and 1930's may have contributed to starting the war. I was particularly impressed with the three short films that illustrated WWII and the landings of D-Day. After spending an exhausting yet informative afternoon in the museum I relaxed in the Jardin (garden) de Canada that is located just behind the museum. I finished the evening having Fruit de Mer (Fruit of the Sea) in a small café along the quaint canal of Caen.
After a quick 20 min train ride to Bayeux in the morning I walked into town to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. The Bayeux Tapestry was made in the 11th century and recounts how William the Bastard became William the Conqueror (Battle of Hastings). Each section is intricately woven to tell this story and I was very impressed as this is an outstanding piece of work.
Later in the morning I visited the Bayeux-Memorial Museum that showed in detail the Battle of Normandy. I viewed an excellent film that showed the build-up and strategy behind the landing of D-Day.
For the afternoon I had booked a tour through Normandy tours located just across from the Bayeux Train station. We promptly took off in a van at 1 pm and headed for Mulberry Harbour. Mulberry Harbour or Port Winston was an artificial harbour floated over from the UK. I had a guided tour of the museum that was built right near the location of the harbour. The engineering and skill that went into building this harbour was amazing and the amount of work to build such structures was phenomenal. Even today there are still quite a few remaining concrete quays that you can walk up and see.
The second stop was at Longues de Mer to see part of the famed Atlantic wall. The 115 mm German cannons were certainly impressive and I also had a good view of the coastline.
The final stop was the Normandy American Cemetery that is very close to Omaha, which is one of the beaches where the Americans landed. The cemetery is 172.5 acres and has over 9000 servicemen and woman buried within it. The grounds were perfectly kept and I was very moved by both the chapel and Memorial standing at opposites ends of the cemetery.
I returned to Bayeux and then by train back to Caen as the sun set after a very profound experience.
Tom Cobban London, Canada