D-Day History Abounds
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
13Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
MN & G Willie, Courseulles-sur-Mer
Utah beach is set up nicely, with a modern museum, various memorials and bunkers in place. But we were mostly interested in strolling the beach area. It is really hard to say much about the landing beaches because, when we were there, we became quiet and contemplative. We spent a fair amount of time there, taking it in, and then moved on towards our next destination.
Of course, I am all about a good lunch, so I was ready to eat anytime...we decided to pull off the road near an old stone farmhouse and have our lunch and watch some cows in a field
One of the places that we really wanted to see (heck, one of the reasons we came to Normandy!) was Brecourt Manor, the site of a battle on June 6th between the USA 101st Airborne and the German 6th Parachute Regiment. Band of Brothers fans know all about it! But, we had no idea where this was or any particular landmarks that we could type into the GPS to find. John, my husband, knew it was roughly 2 miles from Utah beach, and in the vicinity of the village of La Grand Chemin. We did a bit of driving around, with no luck, but always feeling we were close. We gave up after awhile and decided to head toward Pointe Du Hoc - then , suddenly, there was the new memorial just erected earlier in 2009. We pulled up to take a good look and drove down the road just to the left of the memorial, taking in the back side of the manor house and observing the fields opposite, being mindful that this is private property. One of the highlights of the trip - still can't believe we were there!
We explored Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach, the rain picking up during the afternoon. These sites are hard to describe in person. The destruction is still evident 65 years later - the craters, the twisted rebar in the concrete bunkers, the ruined gun emplacements...I am so grateful I saw these places in person before being erased by time. Walking out towards the waterline at Omaha Beach was especially memorable...there were very few people around so it felt as if I was all alone out there.
We had reservations for the next two nights at a B&B in Courseulles-sur-Mer (the Willie's on rue Arthur leDucand) and were expected to check in around 5pm
The B&B experience with the Willie's was first class, the hosts and the other guests were very nice, the room was great, location couldn't be better. We got in, cleaned up a bit, and went for a walk around the lovely town, checking out the sites and looking for our next meal. We picked La Belle Aurore and had a wonderful meal on a dreary night and were just happy to be there.