Category Archives: Bayeux France

March 25, 2017 – Final Thoughts on our Trip

 

 

 

It was a fabulous trip and have been thinking of the highs and the lows.  So let’s see what comes out as I write my final memories.

Favorite city was Gent/Ghent. It was full of life, interesting things to see, good, delicious food and chocolates, and it was old with great opportunities to imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago.

Favorite people – well that has to be a split decision – the people we met in Athens were so full of life and humor and were helpful every step of the way.  I know the guys in front of the restaurants were working but they were also fun and interesting.  Aside from them trying to get us to eat our meal with them we also talked travel, politics, family and other topics.  It was a great way to start our holiday.

Second favorite people would have to be the Laughland cousins in England = all of them.  They are a lively bunch, with great humor and lots of spirit.  The little kids were all warm and friendly which says a lot about their lives. The folks I met for the first time I really enjoyed getting to know and hope I get to see them again.  All in all it was fun times.

And third but not last = Pat and Una Weir.  We have stayed in their apartment three times before I believe making this our fourth visit to them.  They are a lovely family and made us, as always, feel at home and totally welcome there.  They go out of their way for their guests and the feeling is always one of friendship and family.  So I could not talk about favorite people with out including them.

Favorite new food – I think it must be Tzatziki that we ate in Greece.  Not being a brave taster of new foods, in fact totally resistant most of the time to eating anything new, I was proud of myself for trying several Greek items.  The Tzatziki was delicious and I can see myself trying to make it and eating it again.  Oh and I have to add the alcoholic drink Advocaat, it is a creamy yellow, egg nog favoured drink that we had with whipped creme. It is Belgian and if you are there in Gent by the train station there is a little bar restaurant that serves it with a cup of coffee. It was delicious. Those two items were worth the trip.

Favorite archaeological site – Would have to be all the things we saw in Athens. The old Olympic Stadium, the ancient ruins, the Acropolis and all were spectacular.  Yes, we also saw lots of old cathedrals and buildings but I think what we saw in Athens was awesome.

Favorite historical item – In thinking back I believe the Bayeau Tapestry was extraordinary.  It was done at the time of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  It is 70 meters long and is displayed in all its glory in its own museum.  It tells the story of the rise of William the Conqueror and the battle to maintain his kingdom.  They give you a hand held speaker to take around with you which tells you what is happening and who is shown in each part of the tapestry.  I learned a lot from the experience.  If you are near there don’t miss it.

Favorite Museum – In Dublin we went to the Viking Museum at Christ Church across from our hotel.  I had been there before and it was good and wanted to see it again.  It was equally as interesting the second time around.  Learned that those Norwegians came over looking to be farmers and needing more land to farm. I can see that with all the mountains in Norway.  At the end of the Museum you can go into the Cathedral and tour it which is also very interesting.

Another interesting museum if you can call it that was the Bell Tower in Gent.  I learned how they make those bells so that they ring in a certain tone  and believe me it is not easy or a quick job.  That was fascinating to me so I included it this list.

I don’t know if I should call this the funniest or saddest thing from the trip.  It was an observed event.  One night we were out having a drink and were going to listen to some music.  We had been in this bar before so recognized some of the regulars we had chatted with.  Everyone likes to ask about Trump and our opinions as well as give their own. Did not matter the country or the language.

One fellow there appeared to be on his way to one whale of a hangover and this woman drinking next to him was chatting him up and it was obvious she and her friend knew him.  Her friend just kept rolling her eyes.  But the one chatting with him seemed to be moving in for the kill.  He had his hand on her shoulders and then her back and eventually on her butt.  She seemed to move away a bit but then came back to him again.  I was just sitting back in my spot watching all of this dance of the frustrated lonely old people.  All of a sudden I saw this fellow move his hand the way he had before except this time he went for the Trump move.  She moved pretty quickly back away from him but my mouth was almost on the floor.  I turned to hubby who had also been watching and said something about they have Trumps over here as well who feel free to grab what they want.

Well I figured that her moving down the bar to chat with others meant this whole show was over.. ah the fools we can make of ourselves.   Nope it was not over.  After a bit she returned and was rubbing up against him and whispering things to him.  I was just starring at this point in disbelief.  Then her friend told her to put her coat on and after some more intimate moves she put it on and left.  I think if they had been in between 20 and 40 I might have just thought not a great deal of it but she was heading in my direction age wise and he was maybe my age or older. Hard to tell since the love of the drink can make you look older than you are.  Anyway not an episode I will forget any time soon.

Disappointment – We went to see the play “The Weir” in Dublin and I could not hear or understand the actors very well.  I missed so many of the humorous lines that it was kind of a waste on me. I was disappointed in that since I had been the one who suggested we go see it.

Regrets = My biggest regret is that the trip was not longer.  Several of the places we visited  had so much more to see and a couple more days would have been better.  I am sorry that it had been rainy so I did not get to climb up to Queen Maeve’s Tomb.  Meeting of the Waters had also been on my list of places I wanted to see again and we did not get there.   But I know we could not do everything with the time we had.

Hopes = to win the lottery and just go and spend a whole year or so traveling around to all the places I would like to see before I croak.  And that I don’t lose my mind and forget all of this. Too many fun memories to go and not remember them.

Gratitude for Denis for being the person he is so that the trip was our trip and we both enjoyed our time together with no work, no pressures other than getting a train or plane but the rest of the time we just took our time which made it joyful.

Cutest thing that happened – this goes along with the last paragraph – in Dublin we were walking up O’Connell Street holding hands and this woman walked towards us and we did that little dance you do when one person starts to go right and the other does the same, then you go the other way etc.  We all kind of laughed and stopped and she came up and said how pleased she was to see two people who obviously still love each other and are just enjoying being together.  So glad it showed…

 

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March 18, 2017 – Thoughts on our trip – 3- France

Have to start by saying today was a wonderful day.  Temps in the 50’s and we took a hike in Rock Creek Park in DC and it was delightful.  Being in the woods, walking along a river, climbing hills and walking down them again.  The girls were wonderful and good sports.  We will all sleep well tonight.  The parents are out having a date night which we always try to provide for them when we come down.

So, now thoughts about France. We both enjoyed our visit to France. Going to Normandy was a good thing to do and I think we could have used one more day to see all that I wanted to see or maybe even two.  The hotel we stayed at in Bayeux was lovely and they were very helpful to us.  The one in Rouen on the other hand was not so nice and I would not send anyone else there who speaks English.  Or I would take a refresher course in French before returning there but would not stay at that hotel.  They were rude and the idea that a hotel in a tourist area only has staff that speak French is weird. No where else that we visited on this trip or others have we run into a problem where hotel staff could not assist us and just gave us the “No English” statement.  Not even the staff in the little restaurant for breakfast were helpful.

Seeing just one of the cemeteries from WWII was moving.  The men were so young and there were unmarked graves, they know the soldier was a Brit but they did not find their ID.  I imagine today they should be able to use DNA to figure out who they were.  We did not get to the Juno Beach as I wanted but that was because I was sick to my stomach that morning..  I think more time is needed to deal with and confront feelings as one visits the various sites.  By the time my Aunt Pat arrived in Mid July 1944 the troops had moved on as they were pushing back the German’s pretty quickly at that point.  Things were slower in Belgium and that is where Pat really experienced bombing and large numbers of soldiers coming in quickly from the front either to be fixed up to be sent home or to have their hands held as they died. And some went back to fight another day.

War is not something I have ever had to confront myself and even during the Viet Nam War I did not have close friends that I knew were there.. I might have found out about old classmates much later but not during the actual War.  And I do know if my brother had been drafted I would have taken him to Canada and left him there. No way would I have wanted him over there. It was a useless war and not one that brought about feelings of patriotism.  They were no direct threat to us so why were we fighting them.

But in WWII it was obvious that we needed to be there.  I had two aunts, and one uncle actually over there near or in the battle areas.  Also another Uncle worked with the US on developing treatments for those coming back with what we now call PTSD.  I found some articles he had written about this.  And on my Dad’s side he had cousins who lived in England fighting from the very beginning of the Brits being involved. And some lost their lives.  I never knew any of this but research has opened up those pages of the family history in both World Wars.

France was nice but either we needed longer or a different approach to our visit.  Maybe going their first and then up to Belgium might have helped give a clearer feeling about Pat’s travels. I will never know one way or the other now will I?

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February 18, 2017 – War Day

We changed our plans this morning after I was up again last night in the middle of the night.  My stomach definitely is not happy with the food in France.  I decided no matter what I would stay off of gluten today and proudly I did.

What we did today was walk up to the Museum of the Normandy invasion.  Boy it is enough to make you sad and mellow.  They had very little about the hospitals but some about the Canadian 3rd Division that Pat writes about all the time since her friends were all part of it.  So tragic the loss of lives over the month of the assault on Caen.

I did get a picture of the Bridges’s that she talked about in her letters across the Seine that the engineers were able to make usable after being bombed.  It was impressive to see pictures of them.  I did not focus on the machinery or the weapons.  It was a just war but still so painful for so many.

After that we walked over to the British Commonwealth memorial and the cemetery.  Again so sad to see all those graves and the book of names of the dead.  Especially the graves with just no name on them but maybe a rank and group they belonged to but unidentified.  It is a very quiet place as people walk around.

From there we went down into the town again and got some lunch. I had a stuffed baked potato with cheddar cheese and onions and a little salad.  It was really good.

From there we walked to the Tapestry Museum.  This is a must see item if you are traveling in Normandy.  It is the story of the Battle of 1066.  William the Conqueror battling Harold.  It is huge and they have finally figured out how to display it without damaging it further.  70 meters long and 55 centimeters high.  They give every one a hand held speakers to listen in their own language to the story of the war as displayed in the tapestry.  They believe the stitching was done a few years after the battle but they are unsure where it was done, England or Normandy.  It is impressive and worth seeing.

Then on the other two floors they have displays and a movie.  I was so tired I fell asleep during the 20 minute film.  They were just retelling the story of the tapestry so I don’t think I missed much and really needed the rest. Was wishing we had sat through the next French version of the film so could have slept longer.

Walking back to the hotel we stopped for coffee and a sweet at a lovely shop. I had a raspberry  thingy which was soooooo good and my third cup of coffee for the day. I never do that.  And even at that when we got back to the hotel I fell a sleep again.

After a rest we went out to dinner which I hardly ate, hate wasting good food and money but my stomach was just not up to it.  So after I finish writing this I am going to sleep.  Taking something to hopefully keep me asleep until morning.  We have a cab coming at 10 to drive us up along the coast to our next hotel.  Should be a nice ride and hopefully he won’t mind stopping for a few pictures a long the way

the following two sites will let you learn more  about what we saw today..

 

http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/la_tapisserie_de_bayeux_en.html

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery

 

February 17, 2017 – Short but Sweet

Yup, that is me…  Also my day today.  Actually last night was a rough sleeping night for some reason.  I woke up in the middle of the night and did sleep again but not well.     We were up early and left the hotel and headed for the train station.  Stopped for something to eat before we hit the station.  We were very early for our train so we went on line and caught up with the latest news.  All bad of course.

We got the train for Caen and the ride was lovely.  Saw lots of farms, small villages, horses, cows etc.   It was not a long ride, just about two hours. Then we had 20 minutes to find the train for Bayeux.  Only issue was they did not have an escalator and I cannot carry my big bag up and down stairs so Denis had to do both of them.  The ride was only 19 minutes but we got to ride in one of those cars with private doors for each group of seats.  The kind you see in the movies.

We arrived and walked down to the hotel.  It was about half a mile to get here.  they don’t have an elevator so the woman at the desk carried my bag up the stairs.  It is a nice place so no complaints.  After settling in we headed down to the tourist office and got some info on what we could do to get to the landing beaches where the Canadians entered France.  We tried to see if anyone was doing a tour tomorrow but no luck.  We really did not want an all day tour of all the various beaches since Juno is where my Aunt Pat and all the other Canadians arrived.  So after trying several tour companies etc and knowing the price of a taxi we are opting to try and rent a car in the morning just for the day.  If that works we will do that otherwise we will hire a taxi for four hours or so.  Really, it is just money right?

Then we took a walk.  The old town is so charming and the streets much narrower than some of the other towns.  I love the architecture of the old buildings.  The Cathedral was open so we went in and walked around a bit.  Then went and found someplace to eat since we really had not had much all day.  I was starving.

Am not putting up pictures at the moment because I have to fix something with my system.  I think I am going to bite the bullet and pay the cloud for some space and that should fix the problem.  I am tired of deleting pictures from the last couple of years that I am not sure i have on my computer at home.

So not sure what the adventure tomorrow will be but it will be what it will be.

Sweet dreams all and I hope I have some myself rather than the yucky ones I had last night.

A picture I got off of Wikipedia.  Shows you the charm of Bayeux. I took a picture looking the other direction as I was standing on that little balcony looking at the water wheel.