|German bunker; now ours.|
We dined aboard ship, and the part of this meal I remember best was the eclair I had for dessert which had chocolate cream inside. We arrived in France rather late, so headed straight for our hotel in Caen, a city in Normandy.
|The flags of the Allies outside the Caen Memorial|
|Book casualty of war|
At the Caen Memorial, we watched a compelling movie about D-Day and the events following. I don't remember how long the movie was, and I can't even estimate the time because I was so captivated by it. Somehow, the film-makers were able to tell this story without words. There were pictures and video clips, but no words. Sure this was a handy device to use for multilingual visitors, but honestly, the wordless movie was SO GOOD. It prepared me for the sites I would see next.
We jumped on our bus with a local guide named Mario who would tell us all about the area, D-Day, and the events following. Our first stop was Point du Hoc, a piece of land that juts out into the English Channel. Point du Hoc is a promontory, meaning that it ends with cliffs that fall into the channel. When the U.S. Army Ranger Assault Group arrived, they had to scale those cliffs to get to the Germans hiding out in pillboxes, bunkers, and hidey-holes.
|This is a 'pillbox' bunker|
|Only one or two guys would fit in this hidey-hole.|
The whole time we were there, I could hear the waves of the English Channel crashing--I hadn't realized that this cemetery was so close to the water. As sad as it was, it was beautiful, too. There's a chapel in the middle and a large memorial near the entrance surrounded by a wall in which the names of MIA soldiers and sailors are engraved. Now and then there would be a name marked with a brass rosette--this would be a person whose remains were found later. This site effectively illustrates the magnitude of those Normandy battles.
|The cemetery chapel|
|The cemetery memorial|
|The Roosevelt Brothers, Quentin and Theodore, Jr.|
|Caen street: Dinner!|
|Could this street be prettier?|