Normandy

Here’s a little more about our trip across the pond: I was sad to leave Paris. That city is enchanting, it draws you in and makes you fall in love and never want to leave. But our time in Paris did quickly come to an end and we headed north via train to Cean in the Provence of Normandy. Once in Cean we had to pick up our rental car. And then began what I call our circus act. Seriously, our family could put any clown posse to test with our skills of piling 7 people and all our luggage in a minivan. You would think minivan should have plenty of room for all of us but that thinking would be wrong. I quickly learned anything in Europe is about half the size of the American equivalent and that goes for minivans (and strollers, we brought our SUV stroller). We were packed in like sardines and had luggage surrounding us and even on top of most plus the stroller sticking out the window (the driver and Petunia were the only ones not to be covered in a mountain of luggage). Oh, and try installing a car seat when the instructions are in French. That only took an hour! Everyone was quite happy to know our B&B was only 20km away but with round abouts and not knowing where the heck we were going at times that 20km felt like hours and two of the 7 get rather car sick, one of those is me. I actually threw up on a bus ride in Italy last year (those crazy Italian drivers and curvy roads didn’t mix well with my stomach and the fact I was 6 months pregnant and ate pizza before boarding probably didn’t help either). Eventually we made it to our destination and dropped off our luggage, whew!

Personally, I was not looking forward to this part of the trip. I am not a history buff and even worse for me is war history but you know what I actually enjoyed our time there. Not only were the battle fields and beaches very interesting I learned something. The landscape in northern France is just what you would see in a movie. Beautiful and green with quaint French cottages made from stone and lacy white curtains hanging in the windows. It was quiet and peaceful especially after being in the noisy city of Paris where you could hear cars and sirens at all hours of the night. We stayed in this amazing B&B owned and operated by a very gracious French woman. We found out her husband had recently died and she discovered running the B&B by herself was too daunting a task so she had sold her property and was heading south in the next few months.

We spent some time at The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. This is a WWII cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honors American Soldiers who died in Europe during WWII. The cemetery is located on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach (one of the landing beaches of the Normandy Invasion) and the English Channel. It covers 172 acres, and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in WWII. The graves face westward, towards the United States all marked by white crosses.

We also toured Omaha Beach and found bunkers the Nazi’s used for protection from Americans who were storming the beach and an area where there are huge craters left by bombs. It was a pretty amazing site to see.

Our last night in Normandy was celebrated with a home cooked French meal from our B&B host and it was heaven. My explanation won’t do the meal justice. Of course there were copious amounts of wine flowing the entire evening and it was so relaxing with a fire and beautiful French music. We started with a tart of sorts with a French cheese local to Normandy and apples baked inside. It was wrapped in a very flaky crust and placed atop of greens (also from Normandy). The second course was chicken breast smothered in a creamy sauce and basmati rice which was followed by two very interesting types of cheese and bread (I was so full at this point I really couldn’t fit much more in, but somehow I found room). Dessert was short cake topped with a berry sauce and served with a side of creamy, custard-y rice pudding. I am not a foodie so my description lacks luster but let me assure after a week of pizza and sandwiches this meal was a highlight!

The next morning we boarded a ferry to Portsmouth, England.

 

3 Responses to “Normandy”

  1. ggsmama Says:

    (I typed this earlier but it wouldn’t post for some reason. hmm.)
    It does sound interesting and I think the photographs are especially moody. I am of course, very jealous of the amazing French meal; it sounds better than anything in a restaurant. Totally green with envy.
    ggsmama

  2. Sounds absolutely wonderful! And I love the pictures too! 🙂 I am SO jealous, sounds like you had a marvelous time, tini van and all.

  3. Gypsy at Heart Says:

    OK, I want you to come home RIGHT now! Enough of making me turn this odious shade of green. You say you are not a foodie and that your words might lack descriptive powers but I’m just thinking that thank the Lord almighty that you didn’t describe it any better. I was salivating over the keyboard as it is.

    Keep having a good time and describing it all. I’m enjoying it so much.

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