Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 3 - D-Day Beaches

I didn’t sleep well last night. It’s hard getting used to the time change, even though I had a full night’s sleep the night before and had a full day with no naps. I probably fell asleep at like 2am or something. Woke up at 10am, which, although we’re on vacation, it’s not ideal when you want to see lots of things. This happened last year in Paris. The first few days we were up late and slept in because of jet lag. It sort of limits what you want to do. We missed out on Versailles because on the day we wanted to go, we woke up way too late and it wouldn’t have made sense for us to go all the way there for a short visit. Anyway, we were both up around 10 and by the time we left the apartment it was close to 1pm. We doddled, I wrote about yesterday and we drank coffee. We meant to go to the grocerystore around the corner but it closed at 1pm. Most places are either just open Sunday mornings or not open at all. Remember that if you ever come to France. Sunday is actually a day of rest here.

On the agenda today was visiting the d-day beaches. Utah, Omaha, Gold and Sword Beaches. But we needed to grab some food to eat along the way. The stupid GPS decided to work so it took us to the nearest Carrefour to get groceries, which online said it was open til 8. MMMMMM It was closed. So we got directions for another market. (I drove all day today. I was really nervous at first, mainly because I don’t know this car… but got used to it after a while.) The GPS took us to some small town (village?) but the road to the market was blocked with… a market! So we stopped and got cheese, grapes and cherry tomatoes. We needed a baguette (naturally) and asked them where the boulangerie was. They directed us to one that was closed. Yeah thanks, Marcel. So we made our way to Utah Beach with some camembere, a hard chevre with red pepper flakes, and fruit. Yum yum.

I think it took us about an hour to get there. It was a combination of driving through little villages, tight country roads and “regular” highway roads. When we got to the city Utah beach is in, we found a Boulangerie/Patisserie that was open so we grabbed a baguette and chocolate croissant. I axed the lady what was dans the other pastry (not like that, obv I spoke French) and she said “chousson”(sp?) I had no idea what that meant so I passed. She probably told me to eff-off. What is that anyway? Chousson? I was hoping it was something savoury, I wasn’t exactly in the mood for sweet. The lady wasn’t all that pleasant actually. Maybe she doesn’t like Americans (this is an American memorial beach and maybe thought we were American tourists) or maybe she was just a crusty baguette who hated everyone. ANYWAY, we moseyed on down to Utah beach and had a picnic on a WWII bunker sunk in the sand. Not on purpose, it wasn’t til I stepped away and looked at the concrete slab that I realized it was probably a friggin bunker. I kind of felt bad about it… but.. dayum it didn’t LOOK like a bunker when we approached it. Onwards. This was a large beach. Lots of people around, chilling on blankets, walking in the water collecting whatever they collect, and just playing at the beach. I didn’t see any big war-ish things on the beach or in the water so we went on to our next destination: Omaha. (you can click on the photos to view them larger).
Creepy soldier at the gift shop near Utah beach.

remind me to photoshop that face on this last supper - but it needs to look like a carving.

picnic bunker

Utah Beach. YOOJ.

Omaha was pretty busy, so was Utah actually. Lots of camper vans. We had a little pitcher of cider and fries on a patio. The man who served us looked like a wrinkly old skinny rock star. He approached us smoking a cigarette. That was pretty funny and authentic. I probably would have gotten a cool print of the NYC subway map using his wrinkles if I slapped some ink on his face and pressed it on some canvas.

Delicious cider served by Mock Jagger.

We decided to check out the museum there at Omaha. It was a typical war museum, with artifacts and creepy/hot mannequins in big diorama ramas. We got to watch a short film on Omaha and D-Day. Very fascinating. (Some little blonde French toddler strolled in like he owned the place, trying to climb up on the benches and staring at everyone. You know when they walk around, shoulders back, trying to intimidate you? We’re trying to watch a movie ugh!!!) 500,000 soldiers were sent to Normandy for the invasion. Isn’t that insane??! I was looking at those soldiers faces in the film thinking.. you probably had no idea you were gonna be dead in a few hours. I bet most of those guys didn’t make it. So crazy. This museum was all about the American invasion, I’d like to check out the museum at Juno Beach here to see if there is a Canadian film. After Omaha, we went to Gold.

In the museum.

Crazy artillery shizz.

Ok, to be honest, I was kind of not looking forward to the next beaches. I thought they’d all be the same. We had to pass through Port en Bessin to get to Gold beach. IT was pretty cool seeing my family’s name everywhere. Bessin, the “Mediterranean” name. Cooooooool. We came across Arromaches, which had an outlook post where you could go up and take photos of the spectacular view. And let me tell you, it was spectacular. We were high up on a cliff so you could see the small town below, the beautiful waves coming in and people down at the beach. Even a pair on hourseback. Very pretty. After absorbing all of that, we headed ‘home’. We actually pulled into Gold beach first but decided.. meh.. let’s just go back to the apartment.

These photos don't do it justice at all.

I was really high. Above the water I mean.

Instagram prettifies it.

Let me tell you, the weather right now is perfect. There is a nice breeze happening, I can hear sea birds “bikaw-ing” and the odd car pass by. Jamie is napping and I’m sitting here on the balcony, writing (probably finishing this bottle of wine I opened if he doesn’t wake up soon) and watching the sun go down. I’m tempted to open that bag of salt and vinegar chips I bought but maybe we’ll go downstairs and grab a bite of some French cuisine later. If I can eat local seafood every day while I’m here, I’ll be one happy gurl. Des moules est frites again? Oui, merci. Ok maybe hold the frites, I had some today already but yes.. moules. MUSSELS!


this is how i walk around. No one bothers me.

Mom and Dad, I wish you could be here to experience all of this. In fact, I wish my whole family could be here. Maybe one day?

Bon nuit!

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