France May 2014: Pt 7 Normandy D day trail

Friday:

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a lovely landscaped aire just outside Sainte- Maire- Eglise, which is near to Utah Beach. We paid €8 to stay here for the night, but the plus side is we have a nice little glade overlooking the famous church (on D Day one of the 101st Airbourne landed on the spire by accident) and the sun is shining.

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We had an uneventful night at Arromanches, and set off bright and early- first stop was Batterie de Longues Sur Mer. This free site is an amazing place to visit- it is the only battery to have retained its original guns, and what a sight they are:

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We then headed to Omaha Beach, and the American Cemetery. We visited back in 2011 but we wanted to revisit to pay our respects on this important year. It seems we weren’t the only ones- rather than a quiet reflective and serene atmosphere we experienced on our last visit, we were disappointed to feel like we were visiting a theme park. It was packed, kids were running around like its a playground and parents so were allowing them to do so.

We popped into the new museum, Overlord Museum, after lunch; only opening last year it is home to a great selection of artefacts and informative displays, we really thought it was good value at €7.10 each. I particular enjoyed reading about the military vehicles and where they were recovered and who restored them.

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By now the sun was out, so we popped into la Point Du Hoc, again along with hundreds of others. This site is deeply scarred still from the fighting, with craters and bullet holes in all the bunkers. This site was where the American rangers had to scale the cliff face whilst under attack from the Germans at the top. For me it was far too crowded to imagine the horror that unfolded here, but Keith enjoyed the visit nonetheless.

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By now it was getting towards cider time, so a quick journey along to Utah beach, where we were hoping to stay according to the Aires book, however on arrival the motorhome parking had been changed to no overnighting so we had a quick look at the beach but as it was nearing 7pm we were keen to find place to settle.

We really are pleased we ended up at S Mairie Eglise, the town is unspoilt and virtually un changed from the 40s. It was lovely to wander round, follow the town trail and see the sites, in the calm rather than the hoards of people we’d encountered throughout the day today.

Saturday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up and full up (of cheap wine and cider!) at Cite Europe Calais. We have our return crossing tomorrow at 07:50 so we are chilling along with lots of other Brits heading home.

We have had a brilliant time away and are both sad it’s home time already. We’ve spent less than £400 on 10 nights away, which we are chuffed at and by the time we get home we will have travelled just short of 1000 miles.

More to follow tomorrow, for now it’s wine o clock!!!

Lx