What would the Beach say if it could talk?

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
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Trip End Oct 08, 2008


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Where I stayed
Simon Chambres d"Hote

Flag of France  , Normandy,
Thursday, September 25, 2008

Earlier on today (if you actually pay attention to the days I'm saying I'm writing stuff for)  I wrote (part of) and posted my last entry about my visit in Cherbourg. I had planned a short ride (about 100Kms) to Caen. Stop for a night and then continue to Rouen, or maybe even to Dieppe where my great (8X) grand-father came from. I could have done the 100 kms in just over an hour. It took me till 6 PM, having left at 10 am.
 
It was the "Shortest LONG Day of my Expedition!", the alternate title to my entry. I made a stop in the village of St. Pierre and walked around a little. It was amazing. The buildings were so close together and the alleyways went in every direction. Pictures cannot show what this looked like. From there I hit the small fishing village of Barfleur. Then I followed the coastline where Allied Forces landed on D-Day...June 6, 1944, stopping every few kilometres.
 
Yes!  What would these beaches say if they could talk about that morning 64 years ago? I finally made it to the town of Courseulle-sur-mer at 5 PM. This is where the Canadian Troops landed on the beach code named Juno. There is a fairly new information center built here about Canada and its involvement in the war and what Canada was like in the 30's. There's also a temporary exhibit on the 400 year anniversary of Quebec and they've documented the story of a dozen French Canadians who came back to the shores of Normandy to fight in the war to liberate their homeland and the region where their ancestors came from.
 
As it was late and I hadn't made any accommodation reservations in Caen I decided to stay in town and come back and actually visit the museum in the morning. There was no reason to rush through. I had been talking to Rebecca from London, Ontario (all the guides are Canadians) and asked her for a recommendation. She  gave me two. One next to the other. That is how I ended up at Simon's Chambres d'Hôte, or B&B.
 
Simon retired last year and started the B&B. He has beds for 16 people but I am his only guest this evening. I drop my things off and we sit and chat. He is a very interesting individual. After that visit I walk into town along the seashore and find a restaurant for supper. I didn't exactly pick a McDonalds. After my supper during "My Perfect Date with Me!" (see Paul's Journey Blog) this restaurant is the most I've paid for a meal for one. Coincidently, that other restaurant, in Las Vegas, was a French Restaurant. Being  on the seashore, fish was the only choice to make. It was great. I was also the only "single" person in the restaurant. Sounds similar to my experience in Vegas.
 
I had breakfast tomorrow (I'm not going to change the date I posted the title and where I am) and chatted more with Simon. He is a man of "Quality". You can see it in the way he runs his business and in his philosophies about life. A man, Robert Pirsig has written about in his book and states that there are very few of. Simon has, more or less convinced me to stay a second day and visit the nearby beaches of Normandy. I first had to see how a change in plans would impact where I would be stopping. I've already booked a hotel room in Luxemburg for 2 nights before arriving in Frankfurt next Wednesday.
 
At the Juno Beach Center yesterday afternoon I was talking to Rebecca about the research they had done on the first French Settlers. As previously indicated, my ancestors came from Dieppe in the mid 17th century. Rebecca indicated there's a museum in Tourouvre, west of Paris, that did this research and has the info I may be searching for. This is a 2 hour drive S.E of where I am, more south than east. In February I posted an entry called "Who am I?" and wrote about my ancestry and difficulties I had with the information that my cousin has found. There were inconsistencies and I wanted to try and clarify them. More on this later when I stop in Tourouvre in a couple of days.
 
So tomorrow I spent the morning at the Juno Beach Center and then rode along the coast through awesome French towns and visited Second World War history. There's nothing about the war that I can write that could do any justice to the sacrifices made so all that I am providing are pictures.
 
"Lest We Forget!"
 
At breakfast, Simon indicates that he has called Rebecca to thank her for recommending his place to me. He has also purchased her a box of chocolate in gratitude. Simon is an atheist and is living the Law of Attraction without even knowing what it is. He will be extremely successful in his endeavour because of it. He offered me the use of his computer to check for emails even though the computer is in the residence part of the building. He is a man of "Quality" and whenever you decide to visit the beaches of Normandy, make sure you stay there for the best experience you will ever have in a B&B.
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