Blogging from Normandy. Day 3 - Road trip.

Rain
Country roads
A humbling experience

We woke up this morning to a deluge. It rained constantly all day and is still raining now. The skies have been black and the wind has been kicking up a gale that made use of the umbrella virtually impossible.

I know I've said we didn't come for the sun but we could have done with a break in the rain for at least a while if only so we could look up from time to time or have a fag that didn't go out. I have a red face and I'm convinced I'm going rusty.

We set off around 11:00 for Omaha Beach and the American cemetery. From our hotel, the map gives us a nice long, straight road all down the Calvados cost from Sword where we are to Omaha where we were going.

In reality it is a very windy road made up of some long stretches, some rural villages and some tight bends and steep hills.

Has anyone seen the film, The Long Weekend? A couple are on a secluded beach and nature decides to give them a kicking. They are trying to drive away from the beach but every way they go they end up back at the beach again. Well the road we were travelling on is the D514 and it runs the whole length of the coast, so all we had to do was stay on it. Every now and then we would round a bend and find ourselves on a different road. Even though we were both convinced we were following the road correctly, it kept throwing us off on to some other road. This must have happened a dozen or so times during the journey

We did run into some good luck though. We followed a sign for Omaha Beach (8) when we were close to where we thought we should be. It turned out to lead to the beach but just to a surf shack and some beach front apartments. When we turned around to retrace our steps we got lost again but then happened to stumble upon the entrance to the American Cemetery.

Smoking Hot warned me to expect airport style security at the cemetery and he was correct. In their defence though, the security folk were polite and pleasant, they weren't like the morons you get in airports.

The visitor centre (9) was very informative and told the story of WW2 from start to finish with emphasis on the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion. There was also a great deal of film footage on show, most of which I have never seen before.

We spent quite a while in the visitor centre and managed to forget how hideous the weather was. We stepped out side and if anything it had gotten a little worse. We found a little shelter and huddled under a brolly for a while and had a smoke until the rain let up enough for us to carry on.

Off again and just around the corner there it is. Graves. Thousands of them. (10) It kind of makes you take an involuntary pause to take stock of what you're looking at before you carry on.

We headed into the centre and the headstones just seem to go on forever, then you walk a little further and discover that they go on some more. I've seen the pictures on the internet but you really have to stand there and see it with your own eyes to appreciate it.

We decided not to look for anything else to do today as it had been a long drive and the weather was pants. We set off back to the hotel and again got lost numerous times. At one point we were following a convoy of bikers. We followed them for so long that when they pulled off and parked in a village square we did the same. It took another ten minutes before we managed to get onto the right road again.

We are back at the hotel now and drying off. We don't have any plans for tomorrow, it's the last day and we have to get an early night so we're just going to wing it. I've decided I'm going to take the opportunity to have a good drink tonight. The booze at the local supermarket is dirt cheap, no minimum pricing around here. Pity the bacci isn't so good.

I'll get some pictures up on our return. For now I'm going to go make a hangover for myself.

Bonne nuit!

5 Comments:

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