Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 2 - Meeting the fam + exploring the area

Our alarm went off at 10am. I could have slept longer. (did I say this already). The hot water wait I said this already.

We made it to lunch after a quick (hot) shower just after noon at a place called la cremaillere - it's right along the beach. I was told that my (great great) uncle will be waiting for us in a grey Citroen in the parking lot. I could feel a lump in my throat growing as we got closer to the restaurant. I kept telling myself to keep it together, Kennedy. When we saw them, we knew it was them (car) and I just wanted to cry. It took all my strength not to. In fact, I just had to not look at them for a few minutes and think of stupid things like shoes and chocolate bars. I was just so happy that I finally got to meet my relatives in France, and he is the closest thing to my great grandfather and grandfather (since they've both passed away). I also kind of felt like I got a glimpse of my Pépé through his brothers eyes omagad I can't talk about it anymore. They were both so happy to meet us, and we felt the same.. I've always wanted to get to France for my roots and I finally made it happen, that is an overwhelming feeling. Anyway, once I distracted myself enough to function, we went in and had lunch.

Bulots - Snails from the sea. Specific to Normandy. I tried one. That is all. My favourite part was Andre preparing one for me, taking it out of the shell with strings of slime all over it, stuck to his fingers and the shell. He kept looking up at my face with a smirk, seeing my reaction as he got it ready. It was funny. 

Salmon tartare - Jamie's plate. Yum.

Pork confit - YESSSSSS. I'm eating frites here like nobodies biz. I feel like they are better for you in France. Don't burst my bubble. MJ you would have enjoyed these ribs.

We had a wonderful chat - we managed to speak some French and they spoke some English with us. Not a problem communicating at all. We drank some fantastic French white wine – which I have been assured that when we go to their place on Wednesday, we will drink ALOT more of – and learned a lot about my family's roots and about Normandy. Guess what. My great X4 grandfather was captured by Napoleon and used as a soldier. What the--.. I also learned that thisgreatX4 grandfather also walked very far (from Germany to Spain) and French people have very good veins in their legs. 

Look how cute we are. Apparently I don't have Bessin toes because my second toe isn't the same length as my big toe (I'm ok with that, sorrry!). Andre pointed that out to me with his cane and cracked up. We had the best lunch with Andre and Nicole and I'm looking forward to more stories on Wednesday. I've got more to say about the family but I'll write more about this day later, when I don't have a million things running through my mind.

After lunch we walked around Courseulles, it's not a big city. We went down to the beach and dock. There were lots of famlies around doing French-family things. Picking shells and kelp from the beach and having a fun French time, speaking French n stuff. Kids are much cuter when they speak French.  There is a fresh fish market full of.. yep.. FISH and shellfish and all that shizz. The crabs were still alive and looking all crabby at me. They have no idea what's gonna happen to them next. I like the smell of the air here, it smells like fish but not in a bad way, and ocean. Love. There is a cute ice cream/gelato/waffle/"chichi" stand that looks like a little carousel. Chichis are like churros - fried dough logs coated in sugar. MM! We walked down passed a heated salt water pool, walked through a neighbourhood and perhaps passed "the projects" but were not ghetto like you'd think. only un petit peut ghetto. Also, a kid on a bike who looked like he could have been a brat said "bonjour" to me. That made me happy.

See the low tide? It goes out so fast and so far so much so that if boats don't come back on time, they're effed.
If I knew what to do with this fresh fish, I would have bought some. 

I don't even care that they are all looking at me, trying to intimidate me.


I loved the inside of this boat, so woody and perfectly nautical.

see? low tide, that boat is effed.

We made our way through a market area, looked kind of touristy. Stopped at the supermarket for a few things but not enough things because we have to go back this morning before our trek out to the US d-day beaches. Their market chain is called Carrefour, it's kind of fancy. 

We wanted to check out Juno beach since it's right here. It's important for us as Canadians. There are Canadian flags and plaques and memorials. They have a few bunkers still in the sand, several rest areas that have info on plaques and a museum which we'll check out today. There are also a bunch of military machine pieces along the way for you to touch and look at.
Look at that damage. Bombs.

This was on our neighbourhood walk, a real old French couple being naturally cute!!!

Bunker. A ruin. What the hell happened that day at this spot. So many scary things.

Damn kids! I shook my fist for all of you.

I got an awesome clam shell which I plan on using to put my rings in. Not this one OBVIOUSLY.

Jamie in the background. You really need proper boots to trek through that squishy sea weed stuff. Sometimes it reeks. I stepped in a sinking clay spot and got my sandals all covered in grey sludge. It was delightful.

Another bunker. "Cosy's Bunker". This one was pretty big and you could go in it.

This part made me cry. There were these concrete things with plaques all over them. With names, dates, memorials and messages. Lots of messages from cities back home. I couldn't take it anymore and friggin cried. It's a very emotional place to be, whether you have a personal connection to war or not. SO much went on at this beach and so many young men died to end an awful war. It's crazy. I was just a damn cry face on Saturday, maybe it was the Melatonin. Yeah that's it, the Melatonin and booze. But I felt much better afterwards though.

Dinner was at the place below our flat. We had pizza and steak tartare and farmer's cider. I love being in the land of cider. (we're in the land of cider? Homer in the land of chocolate montage) Tried watching Cabin in the Woods..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Just tell me what happens in the end please. What's happening? Anyway, that was Saturday, our first full day in Courseulles Sur Mer.


  1. Bonjour!

    Lemme just say, I love, love, lovee every single re-count of this day...especially the Homer chocolate montage.

    Looking forward to hearing more.
    Aannnndddd I also LOVE your Grand Uncle!!!!!!!!!!!!! He can prep bulots for me any time!