Jul 24, 2010

Bonjour

I don't advertise vacation time anywhere online because I'm told that if I do that, I may as well leave the key to my place under my mat. But it sure is nice to just disappear and come back and discover I've been missed. Very nice, and I love the two of you who have said so. :-D

I have had such an heady adventure. I have been an American in France, which went amazingly well. The French are very nice, even when you don't know the lingo. Menus have translations and a phrase book and a lot of bonjours and mercis go a long way. The heady part isn't the joy in discovering I could order food without trouble, but the visits to World War II museums, the walk on Juno Beach, the view over Omaha Beach and the tears I shed walking among the crosses in the American cemetery.

It's going to take me a bit to digest all that. It'll be easier sharing photos from Bremen…

…And a drive through Paris. We had a brief stop at the Trocadéro, and my photos of the Eiffel tower are annoying, because they do not convey how f***ing huge that tower is. It is simply massive-looking and the only thing you are able to see at first. It is very close, too, immediately below the Trocadéro, but when the camera lens captures it, the structure just shrinks off into the distance. It ends up not being much bigger than all the tiny versions of it hanging from the hawkers' belts and spread on their blankets.

In Bayeux we saw the famous Bayeux tapestry, which I have no photos of, since that was strictly forbidden. But I was very happy to see it and will return to it and other places on this blog.

But this is going to take a while for me to put into words:

Actually, I hope the feeling of overwhelm at the insanity and sacrifice and daring and 65 years of peace and prosperity never leaves me.

7 comments:

Paula Light said...

Sounds like a wonderful, meaningful holiday. Looking forward to more photos. :)

Don said...

Wow.

More.

Tom said...

My father went across the channel during the invasion. He was part of a small RAF radar team (RDF in those days) that went with an American division to set up an early warning system as everyone expected a huge counter-attack from the Luftwaffe. It never happened.

I've yet to visit Normandy but I will one day. I did ask my mum to come with me on a trip I planned a few years ago but she refused - I think because she'd find it too painful an experience.

Glad you had a good time and doubly glad you got to visit Normandy!

Tom

gekko said...

:: like ::

Keera Ann Fox said...

Paula, it was, but it also knocked me out. It wasn't a restful vacation, as it turned out. Good thing I've had a whole week at home to veg.

Don, those two words totally made my day. Still do.

Tom, we were baffled that the allies' temporary port in Arromanches could be erected without the Germans stopping them. Turns out that by June 1944, the Germans had no planes left. And from what you tell me, they didn't have any in reserve, either.

Your father is one of the many men that today's Europeans can thank for their freedom and prosperity. I'm going to cry again, thinking about the ones who didn't survive and don't know they succeeded.

Gekko, thank you! Right up there with Don. :-)

Tom said...

Keera - they had planes but no oil and what they could get into the air was protecting Germany and Berlin. The allies didn't know this, I suppose you could call it an intelligence breakdown - there were many of those on D-Day that led to unnecessary losses on the Allied side.

If you get the chance, any books authored by Stephen Ambrose are really worth a read. Sadly he passed away a few years ago but his books are the best. Citizen Soldiers is the best one I think.

Tom

Keera Ann Fox said...

I think I'm going to have to read up on the history myself, to avoid conflicting or inaccurate information. The Germans had planes (and soldiers), but not enough to divert to the western front, so no planes left (to put it inaccurately). Don't know if having oil would have made a difference.