Man oh man, was today a busy day! We had to get up at 7:00 in order to leave for the train station by 7:30 to get there by 8 to catch an 8:40 train to Normandy.We planned to stop at the little store by our place to get breakfast but unfortunately they weren't open yet so we headed off to the train station. Once we got there we spotted a little food stand so I walked up and ordered 3 crossaints, 2 for me and 1 for Jake. I was hungrier then him.
We looked at our tickets which didn't say a track number & the board didn't list our train so we sought out an info booth and asked them. They told us it was at gate 23 so we headed over there and got on our train. About 15 minutes later we were off to Normandy. The train ride only took about 2 hours so by 10:30 we were pulling into the station. We went over ot the car rental place that we booked our car through and picked it up. Jake was the driver and I was the navigator. It was pretty stressful driving in a country we have never driven in before. They have different road signs and they use kilometers instead of miles which I am really bad at understanding. You tell me something is 10 kilometers away and I would have the slightest idea how long it takes to go that far. I know it is all math but I want to try to convert to miles but it isn't easy to do. The other weird thing is there doesn't seem to be any yellow lines dividing the opposite directions. Also the street signs are very badly posted. So after passing a few streets I was wishing I hadn't directed Jake to go through town.
We managed to find our way out of Caen and the road leading to Bayeax which is where the hotel was at. It was about a 30 minute drive on the highway until we pulled into Bayeax. We didn't have a map of the town yet so we followed signs to the tourist office. We started to head down this one street when all of a sudden Jake questioned if it was a 1 way street so he started to back up which left the girl in the car that was turning to where we were backing up from looking at us as if to say what the heck are you people doing?? Since that car when in that direction then so could we. We drove about 6 blocks until we found the tourist office and parked. I stayed in the car with the luggage and Jake went in for a map. While he was inside I ended up finding our street on the drawn map in Rick Steves' book. As it turned out back at the intersection where Jake tried to back up ended up being our street. We decided to walk to our hotel since we already paid for parking but after the 4th block I was really wishing we had driven. It ended up being about 6 blocks and we still had to walk back to get the car.
After the trek back to the car we left for Arromanches to see the D-Day beaches. It was a very short and amazingly pretty drive. Our first stopwas up on the hill above the beaches looking down on them. The American sectors were to the left and the British, French & Canadian beaches were to the right. Out on the water you could see parts of the break wall that was created for the invasion. Although they were 1.5 miles off shore they still looked enourmous because each section was the size of a football field. It was a pretty spectacular sight.
We had already paid €2 to park so we decided to walk down the hill to the town. Before we left though we decided to watch the 360 degree movie of the landing. It was pretty cool. It showed footage from the landing and how the area looks now. After that we headed down the hill. We walked around for a while then caught the little trolly train back up the hill to our car.
This is going to be a long entry but it is getting late so more to come at a later date...