France Trip Day 6-Normandy Beach

I had my wisdom teeth out last week so I was not able to continue with the trip report but I am back at it this week!  We had a later start this morning thankfully.  We were all starting to get tired of the early mornings and long days.  I think we had to be on the bus around 9:30am.  We rode for a couple of ours to see the Bayeux Tapestry.  The guides gave us audio guides to hold up to our ears and listen to as we walked around the tapestry, which is much longer than I had expected.  We spent a little over an hour here before we got back on the bus to head to Omaha Beach.

The tour group had been disappointed yesterday when we said goodbye to our tour guide, Helen, at Mont Saint-Michel.  “The General” as we called her at Normandy instead of “The Queen” started walking towards our bus when we pulled into Omaha Beach and everyone on the bus became excited.IMG_1819  She told us  about what had happened here and pointed out a few remnants in the hills nearby.  This beach was empty for the most part, with a few people walking and others reading stand up displays that had been put there for the anniversary.  Helen talked for about twenty minutes before we were given time to walk along the beach.   We were given about 15 minutes before we needed to get back on the bus to head to the American Cemetery. IMG_1822

On the bus, the guides gave us snacks since they said it would be a while before we were able to get lunch.  It was a fifteen minute drive to the cemetery. When we arrived at the cemetery, Helen showed us the wall of names of soldiers whose bodies have not been found.  She pointed out that if a family recently visited this wall or a grave site, the name would be easier to see because sand would have been rubbed over the name.

IMG_1847We were each given a rose to put on a grave site that we wanted to.  Also while we stood in front of the whole cemetery, the National Anthem and Taps was played. IMG_1846 This was coordinated specially for our tour which was nice.  Helen gave us a wonderful tour of the cemetery, pointing out important facts about what certain things meant.  She also told a few stories about soldiers who are buried here when she came across their graves.  It was a very well done tour and Helen knew many stories because she had worked at the cemetery as a secretary for years.IMG_1867  There was a neat map which I could not get a great picture of because it was huge and partly covered by columns but it had everything that had happened in Normandy during the war on it.  We said goodbye to Helen for the final time and thanked her for her great job the past two days.  She also does private tours around the area of Normandy.

IMG_1884 It was around 12:30 at this point so we drove to Utah Beach and got off the bus for some free time.  We had about an hour and a half to walk around, eat lunch, and explore the area.  We got sandwiches at a place right near the beach and got great ice cream.  This post is a little picture heavy because we did take a lot of pictures here.  We went to the visitor center and made crushed pennies (but they were really crushed euros) so that I could put one in my crushed penny book.  The euro made it come out much more shiny than the pennies usually do.

We walked along the beach and looked closely at the floating ports.  They were covered in moss and seaweed on the sand.  There were some far out in the water that we could barely see as they are sinking as each year passes.  We did not go inside the floating ports here.  IMG_1878Some people did but there were signs discouraging it because it could collapse or a part could fall at any time.  IMG_1874More people were on this beach, hanging out and going in the water.  Not many seashells covered the beach but there were a lot of burrowing worms based on some of the holes we saw.  We also went shopping for a bit.  The guides gave us the perfect amount of time to explore this small town and beach.

IMG_1876   We got back on the bus and had a bit of a drive back to Deauville.  On the bus we watched new Mickey Mouse cartoons that are on Disney Channel, which were very good.  The parents had a fancy dinner about two hours after we got back to the hotel while the kids had a Junior Adventurers Dinner with the Adventure guides.  Even though I was one of the older ones, I still went to the dinner because I knew they would have kid friendly food and the dinners are always fun with the guides.  We had plain pasta, chicken bites, fries, and pizza for dinner.  I was so happy I could have plain pasta since I was not a huge fan of the French food.  We then watched Beauty and the Beast.  I had watched the movie in French (even though I don’t speak a word) right before we left as part of my preparation for the trip.  But there is nothing like watching Belle stroll through this “poor provincial town” in France as I was sitting in France!  I will never forget watching one of my favorite Disney movies in the country where it takes place.  One of the guides had previously worked for Radio Disney so when the movie ended she taught us how to dance part of one of the dances from Camp Rock.  We ended up performing it at the Farewell Dinner the last night and it was another Great Junior Adventurers Dinner!   The next day we were headed to our next hotel in Paris!

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