Sunday, 5 October 2014

Day 153: Around Normandy Beaches - Sun 5 Oct, 2014

Day 153: Around Normandy Beaches - Sun 5 Oct, 2014
Started day at nearby Cinema 360 commemorating DDay 6 June 1944, the turning point of WWII for Allies. We stood against rails in centre to watch 9 screens in the round, containing archive photographs and movies from American, British, German and French archives – it was overwhelmingly poignant.

Mulberry Harbour

Went into Arromanches les Bains to visit Museum of Debarquement. It was interesting to see how plans were drawn up for DDay using coded icons.Watched movies, and wandered the displays of how the portable, temporary "mulberry" harbour was made to offload transport and supplies needed for Operation Overlord and Battle of Normandy. The engineering was amazing, hollow concrete blocks were made in England, submerged until ready, then towed across English Channel, put in place and filled with sea water to form a breakwater. There was a central barge to dock transport ships, drawbridge gangways, flexible road/ bridge to drive vehicles to shore. Given the season, the whole was built to withstand gales.  


Drove to Omaha beach, past memorials like Les Braves dedicated to Americans. 

Modern day version of taking your life in your hands...

Wandered through Normandy WWII American Cemetery, over 9000 white marble Latin crosses or Stars of David in somber rows overlooking sea. Reflecting pool, the Garden of the Missing (1500+), and statue of Spirit of Youth Rising. The cemetery was the setting for opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan", a movie based on two Niland brothers buried there (there are 45 sets of brothers in all). 

Next was Battery of German Bunkers at Longues-sur-Mer in round, using stepped design to deflect bullets, shells, still with long range guns in place to fire over cliffs and out to sea. 

The past two years visits of the cities of Europe torn by conflicts, battles and wars over the centuries, plus recent scene-by-scene Bayeaux depictions of medieval invaders, certainly puts modern oppressors like Hitler into a much longer term perspective for Wanderoos. We humans are sometimes not very human at all….

Bought Calvados Brandy and "Pommes Cidre" for sundowners, camped at Longues-sur-Mer, between Omaha Beach and Gold Beach. Ate our fish, potatoes in jackets and salad outside as the cold settled in.

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