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    • Day 27

      St Etienne to Bayeux

      October 3, 2023 in France ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

      Yesterday we left St Etienne to drive to Lyon to drop our travelling companions Peter and Vanessa off at the railway as they are now heading home - sad to see them go after three great weeks.
      Then we had 720 km drive to Bayeux and we had to be at our B & B by 7pm and a car crash on the motorway to Lyon had put us back an hour plus we had to change cars so didn’t leave Lyon until 10:30. Luckily it was nearly all motorway so cruise control on 130 km/hr (the speed limit) and made it with 30 minutes to spare - after another motorway car crash to had us diverted for a while.
      Absolutely lovely old house with only two other guest rooms and central to all the sights and eateries in town by 10 minutes walk.
      Headed straight to the famous Bayeux tapestry first thing to beat the crowds. Quite an amazing experience to see such an ancient work of artistry in good condition - it is actually embroidery and the colours are still vibrant. At 70 metres long it is housed in a room that allows one way traffic to view the story of Harold and William - so detailed and depicts everyday life as well as royalty and battles. Not allowed to take pictures so you’ll just have to look online!
      Then a walk around the old town and then to another museum for the other important war story around here - D Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944. We haven’t noticed many American tourists up till now but Bayeux is mainly all Americans - this area is to them what the Northern front is to Aussies I suppose. The museum is very detailed and well set out to keep your interest.
      Tomorrow we will head off to landing beaches and hopefully some Normandy oysters!
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    • Day 28

      Normandy DDay American (West) Beaches

      October 4, 2023 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      Bayeux is perfectly positioned between the two American landing beaches to the west - Utah and Omaha (very original) and the three eastern British ( Gold and Sword) and Canadian (Juno) beaches.
      We decided to head west today and our first stop was the only still intact German gun battery at Longues-sur-Mer. There is a command post and four reinforced pill boxes with 150mm long range artillery piece. Set back about 500m from the cliffs they had a range of 19.5 kms! However due to intense bombing by air and then sea they didn’t have much impact on DDay (6th June 1944) and they were taken by British troops on the 7th June. Awesome and horrific all at the same time - you find yourself admiring the engineering and then you remember what they were made for - death and destruction.
      Next stop was Omaha Beach - the scene of terrible American casualties on the first day - a stretch of nearly 7km of open flat beach facing a small plateau of land before hills. The Germans had razed all the village buildings along the seaside and fortified it all with machine gun nests, cannon emplacements, barbed wire and mines, and three metre wide anti tank trenches. The first and second wave of infantry were cut to pieces mostly in the water and on the beach - the third wave finally breached the defences and turned the tide. By nightfall they had suffered 2400 deaths but had landed 34000 troops. I realised that this is the American equivalent to our Galliopi in terms of what it means to them - only they had Eisenhower and Montgomery in charge compared to us having Churchill!
      Lastly - because you have to be selective as there are so many sites and museums - we went to a site of unprecedented daring and courage . La Pointe du Hoc is a high promontory between Omaha and Utah beaches that had six 150mm artillery pieces that could reach both of the American landing beaches and the landing craft. So it was aerial bombed five times in the lead up - see archival photo - and the Germans expected a land attack from the Allies. However an elite US group - The Rangers - trained on the Isle of Man to come in by boat, launch rocket propelled grappling hooks with rope and rope ladders onto the 35m cliffs and scale up and surprise attack. Great plan except the ropes got soaked by sea water and were too heavy to launch from the boats so had to be unloaded at the base and launched by which time the Germans saw them - so they are climbing up whilst be shot at. Amazingly they scaled the cliffs in ten minutes and then two days of combat ensured before they overran the German post - only 150m from the cliff! 135 Rangers died.
      After all this we needed to relax a bit so we headed north to a harbour town to have a late lunch of some legendary Normandy oysters - magnificent and washed down with local cider which again is Normandy specialty.
      Sorry for the essay but the whole experience was very profound and sad because once again we are witnessing the same in Ukraine because of another megalomaniac.
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    • Day 8

      Pegasus Bridge

      September 14, 2023 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Well thems up early this morning as they have to be off site by 10.30 or they'll have to pay for another day. They're heading for Bayeux (of Tapestry fame) by way of the Pegasus Bridge. We are driving along the coast road and starts by going thru Trouville-sur-Mer and Deauvile, a beautiful town with big houses of all different styles.
      Arrive at Benouville home to the Pegasus Bridge Museum and parks up to have a look around. This was a key capture and stronghold in the Normandy DDay invasion, and the original bridge is now in a park alongside an informative museum. Now, neither of them is into WW-2 in a big way, but it was very interesting and was nice to show respect to those who fought and lost their lives for us.
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    • Day 8

      Stowaway on board Bertie

      September 14, 2023 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Well when them finished in the museum he decides he's hungry and wants a baguette for lunch so off we gus in search of a bolangerie luckily they find one just up the road so out her pops to fetch one while he parks up, trust her she only comes back with a bit of flan an all.
      They drives out to the light house at Ouistreham right by the ferry port and park up alongside some other vans.
      Baguette un cheese out on table ready to eat and she hears a bang, er dow know what it is so pops out doors to have a look, and sees nowt but the French women in the van behind is knocking on her window beckoning. She gus round the back of the van just in time to see a leg disappearing under the bicycle cover. She shouts ' Get out, get out, un this young black bloke climbs out from under the covers and walks off nice as you like. The French woman gets out her van and ses summat to her which her dow understand, the unny thing er did understand was there were 5 of em trying it on. So they eats up fast checks underneath fer klingons and get the he'll outta there.
      A short stop at the Inter Marche for sum supplies then its on to Bayeux to the Municipal Camp site. Oh oh ' computer say no' there's no room so a quick look at the closest Aire , they dow like the look at that so they pops up the road to a farm, lovely little site with 14 pitches and electric and a lovely view of cows backsides. We love a farm!
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    • Day 7


      June 16, 2023 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Nach einer relativ ruhigen Nacht geht es heute ein Stück nach Süden.

      Nachdem wir ja im den letzten Tagen gefühlt jedes Insekt in der Nähe mit unserer Front touchiert haben und uns heute ein Vogel einen halbe Kuhfladen auf die Scheibe geworfen hat (wirklich), ist jetzt klar: wir müssen Auto waschen!

      Gesagt, getan...
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Saint-Vigor-le-Grand, Сен-Вигор-ле-Гран, Сен-Вігор-ле-Гран, 大圣维戈

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