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Apr 26, 2016 - Utah Beach

Bayeux, France When American troops landed, the countryside had been flooded by the Germans so that the causeway and bridge over the Merderet River became critical as being the only way to move armored vehicles. We started our day learning about the battles needed to secure the bridge. We made several other stops and learned of other conflicts before ending up at Sainte Mere Eglise to see the site made famous by the movie The Longest Day where Red Buttons parachuted down, got his chute caught on the church steeple and hung there pretending...

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Normandy

Apr 25, 2016 - The battle begins

Bayeux, France Today we met our tour guide for the next 3 days. Paul is educating us about the Battles of Normandy. We set off for a personal view of the battleground of the British and the Canadians. Paul filled our heads with all kinds of facts, anecdotes and bawdy tales. We learned the stories of the taking of Juno Beach and Sword Beach, 2 of the 5 landings of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. We saw where the glider pilots, each carrying 28 men, put down the flimsy gliders next to the Pegasus...

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Normandy

Apr 24, 2016 - The treasures of Bayeux

Bayeux, France We spent the day exploring Bayeux, a wonderful rural town of 16,000. We started with the Bayeux Tapestry which is not a tapestry at all – it is an embroidery! Colored wool was used to embroider important scenes which led up to the Norman invasion of England and the Battle at Hastings in 1066. The Bayeux tapestry is 8 long strips of unbleached linen which have been sewn together to form a continuous panel.It is about 20” high and 230’ long. The exact length of the original tapestry is unknown as the final panel is incomplete....

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Normandy

Apr 23, 2016 - Off to Normandy

Bayeux, France Today was a travel day but first we had one last look around our own arrondissement 7 (district 7 for the out-of-towners). This is the heart of Old Paris. There does not appear to be a single street that goes straight for more than 3 blocks – and those are short blocks! And the street may change names 3 times during those few blocks! We have been so very lost so many times but always managed to find our goal. Some of the roads are fairly broad while others look like alleys teeming with pedestrians but are still 2-way streets....

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Normandy

Oct 2, 2015 - Juno Beach

Friday, October 2nd. Driving along the narrow country roads which took us through the villages of Normandy we were again struck with the number of homes and villages that flew the American, Canadian, UK and French flags!! It was heart-warming to think many of these villagers remembered and were thankful for the huge sacrifice many foreign families had made in liberating their country. At the museum at Arromanches they showed a 360 degree movie, made from clips donated by Allied and German sources. The noise from the battle, the confusion...

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Oct 1, 2015 - On the Normandy Beaches

Thursday, October 1st. In the morning we headed across the peninsula toward the D-Day Landing Beaches. Code named “Operation Overload” it was the largest military operation in history. On the morning of June 6th. 1944, swarms of landing craft- part of an armada of 6000 boats and ships-hit the northern beaches of Normandy and tens of thousands of soldiers from the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada and elsewhere stormed onto the beach. How they accomplished this was documented very well through audio, film clips, movies, tours and museums...

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Sep 30, 2015 - Touring Mont St. Michel

Wednesday, September 30th, touring Mt. St. Michel We met our driver at the reception area for a 9:30 am departure. It was about a 10 minute wait to catch the shuttle provided free of charge out to Mt. St. Michel. The shuttle stop was at an information building and at the end of a series of parking lots that had room for several thousand cars. They were very well organized. These shuttle buses were an interesting design. As we found out shortly there was no room for the bus to turn around on the causeway so the bus was designed to be driven...

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Sep 29, 2015 - Heading to Mont St. Michel

In the morning we discovered that our campground was on the terrain of a former wine estate, which is about 300 years old. The Dutch family that has owned the campsite since 2005 are running it in a sustainable way so as not to become a burden to the nature around them. Among other things they heat with a sun broiler, and grown their own fruit and vegetables which are served in the restaurant. They also informed Bill that when they harvest the grapes, by using a machine that straddles the rows and basically shakes the vines and only the...

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Sep 20, 2015 - Omaha, Utah, and Pointe du Hoc

Off to see the US beaches and the museums and memorials. The roads in France are good and well signed, once you figure out how to read them. We went to Omaha, Pointe du Hoc, then Utah beach. the American cemetary is at Omaha beach. It's beautifully set out. The crosses line up perfectly in any direction. There were many people there putting flowers on specific graves. At the museum, there were many story boards of heroic men and women. Some were very sad. Pointe du Hoc is a point from which both Utah and Omaha could be seen by the Germans....

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Sep 19, 2015 - Exploring Bayeux

The cathedral in Bayeux is immense. It is as big as Notre Dame in Paris. We visited on a day when they were doing special tours because of Europen Heritage celebration. We lucked out and took a tour that took us up into the towers, across the inside of the roof so we could see the construction, and up into the spire. We were right under the bells when the rang at 11 AM. It was an amazing opportunity. We changed from our B&B to the Hotel D'Argouges, which is up at the top of the town. This hortel is lovely and has its own parking in a...

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Sep 18, 2015 - D-Day tour

Met our crazy Irish guide Colin and started our Overlord Tour early this morning. This man knows so much about the British and Canadian beaches! Our tour was only 7 people. We started at the Pegasus Bridge, where British gliders landed and successfully took the bridges here and in the surrounding areas. We went on to Sword, Juno, and Gold beaches, which were the British and Canadian areas during the invasion. We visited a church with many graves in the churchyard, and beyond a large Commonwealth cemetary. The weather was atrocious, and...

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Sep 17, 2015 - Bayeux

We drove through the countryside for 3 hours to get to Bayeux.. Not so different from Ireland, but not quite as green. Unfotunely we couldn't stop because we had an Overlord tour the next morning. We found our B&B on the map and asked a few people for directions, but had a hard time finding the place. Bayeux is a medieval town that is very well preserved, not having been bombed during the war, and the streets are really narrow and one way. We finally borrowed a cell phone and found we were only a block away. Our room was on the second floor...

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