Reunited 2008 travel blog

Utah Beach Museum

Utah Beach from inside the museum

Outside Utah Beach Museum - OK not the best photo but you...

Pont du Hoc

Pont du Hoc

Vierville su Mer

From St Mere Eglise, we drove to Utah Beach and took the cross country route, over country roads and close to the farm buldings and livestock. Not too many tourists drive this way; however, we weren't really lost...we just wanted to see the sights and we had the trusty GPS so we always knew our location. It remained cold and very windy, which is pretty routine for Normandy. Trees permanently blown sideways give an idea of the harsh climate and how difficult the Allied landing must have been. The museum is worthy of a stop and buy the museum pass, which will get a discount into other sites along this route.

Around ever turn is a reminder of the war, with the stone turrets, pill boxes, and German gun emplacements in fields around which farmers plow. White Charolais cattle, with their sweet baby faces, graze in the fields and scratch their necks against each other or on the stone fences. The houses are typical of the region with the building material more like sandstone than granite; the barns and outbuildings are attached to the main houses so the entire compounds are connected in a central, rectangular arrangement. Barns next to houses are quite convenient in the winter, but can cause rather odiferous arrangements with the livestock so close. Still, the houses are so beautiful, that it makes you want to stop at every Gites or B&B to get a look inside.

We couldn't linger long so moved on to Pont du Hoc, which is where Army Rangers climbed steep cliffs with ropes and ladders in order to destroy German gun emplacements. Many died climbing the cliffs, which are blocked off for safety by barbed wire. Still we got a pretty good shot at the beach below as seen in the photo.

Pont du Hoc has a small, modern building on site but it not really a museum. We parked at the first lot we came to as did everyone else but then we discovered that had we driven further, we could have parked right next to the entryway. No working bathrooms at this stop, and so I did have to use the port-a-potties. Yes, friends, even I can use the outdoor facilities if I am desperate. I've used worse and these were clean so our stop at Pont du Hoc was brief, windy, and cold.

Next stop was at Vierville su Mer, a village right above the beginning of Omaha Beach. The reason we added this photo is because Scott's Uncle Les landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and remembered that Vierville was the first French town they went through after they finally got off the beach. Scott went down to the sand, grabbed a handful and put it in a plastic bag to bring back to the US. We later decided that a huge baggie of sand was probably not a good idea to bring through customs (dirt not allowed you know) and so later he put a little into a medication bottle and brought that instead. It was still miserable weather, so cold that looking at the views from inside the car was about all that I could handle.

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