Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family: My brother's family in France

It's been a while since I blogged about anything personal. I've been pretty caught up in blogging for Amazing Stories and podcasting for StarShipSofa (and others), that it must seem like that's all I blog about anymore. Well, that changes today!

My brother, Tom and his wife, Barb and their son, Sam came to France a week ago today. They departed this morning, which is why I have a moment to blog in the first place. It was their first trip to the City of Light and only their 2nd trip to Europe (the last being for our wedding in 2006!) and it was all too brief. But boy did they (we) pack it in!

We spent the weekend on the coast of Normandy. My brother had one "druther" and that was to visit the historical sites of the Allied Forces landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 during WWII. We visited the Memorial Museum in Caen after a picnic lunch on Saturday.
 Then we drove to Bayeux and our hotel. From there we were headed for Omaha beach, but veered off to visit the American Cemetery instead. Omaha Beach is a long stretch beach which we could see from the edge of the steep hill above it where the cemetery lies. The Cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful, moving place to visit. Here are some pictures:





We had a nice Norman meal (not good for Tom's gout, however!) and called it a night.

The next day we went straight to Pointe du Hoc, where the American Rangers climbed the 90 foot cliff to seize the German's lookout and anti-aircraft missile launchers etc. Even 70 years later the devastation is still evident. It was sobering to climb into the cement bunkers and see the bullet holes (gouges, really) in the walls just inside the doorways. It's a beautiful landscape, however and we had gorgeous weather. Here are a few pictures:







After lunch at the only place open for miles and miles we went back to Bayeux to visit the Cathedral (Notre-Dame of Bayeux), which was very beautiful and to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

There was an elderly lady in the Cathedral who pointed out the stained glass window honoring all the nations that contributed to the liberation of France from the Nazis. She bowed her head, touched her heart and said, "Merci".

We then went and saw the Bayeux Tapestry (or embroidered mile of cloth to be precise), which is extraordinary. the have it in a horseshoe shaped hallway and you can view it with an audio commentary of the story the tapestry tells, which is highly recommended! They have a children's version, but I'm not sure Dante quite understood how it worked for quite a while. The English version was quite entertaining. It was delivered in a deadpan British voice, which reminded me of Monty Python: "The march went through a village where, lamentably, there were a few houses which had to be destroyed. Well, never mind."

It was all-in-all a very moving weekend!

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