That old chestnut of things going wrong in threes was on our minds all weekend. Luckily the third thing happened and wasn’t too much of an impact – the barrier on the aire broke so no one could come or go. As we wanted to stay it suited us fine, the police arrived 2 days later and fixed it, they even gave us a water token for free, result :). When we thanked them they responded ‘da iawn’, Welsh speaking French gendarmes??
The weather has been pretty glorious for the time of year so we have made the most of cycling and walking. We found a cycle path that took us into the countryside then back along the coast so had an enjoyable 12 miles pootle along that on Monday. Considering the public holiday is Tuesday we were amazed at the amount of people around on Monday. The beaches were really busy, yes everyone had coats and hats on but there were hundreds of people either just walking along the promenades or nearly as many actually on the beaches playing games, flying kites or just walking. It seems such a different culture to Britain, much more family orientated and people seemingly wanting to get out and enjoy the sunshine even if it is a bit chilly.
The dinosaurs at Viller Sur Mer appears to be having their annual clip this week, right outside the tourist office the topiary adult is joined some years by a baby, we were lucky to get a photo in just before the municipal workers made a start on the annual chop down. The town is much quieter now as most people seem to have gone after the extended Armistice Bank Holiday. There are still lots of cafes open but most of the shops are closed now and there are just a few people milling around the streets. On the motor-home front we are very surprised at just how many there are out and about on this coast. Everywhere we go we see several parked up on aires or at camperstops. The vast majority are French but we have seen one or two Brits, it seems this is a popular place to motor-home this late in the year and to be fair its easy to see why as there are plenty of dedicated parking places everywhere you go at museums, parks, shopping areas etc. Already we are saying ‘this is somewhere we want to come back to’, we thought of Normandy very much as a transit, its worth so much more in terms of spending some time here.
Today there was not a cloud in the sky so we headed out in the direction on Caen and then up to the Normandy Landing beaches. To be honest Sword beach just seemed to be a beach, there are some very pretty little villages all along but nothing to give any indication of the landings. We moved further along to Juno Beach and it was a total contrast. Although there is a holiday complex along the sea front there is also the Juno Beach Centre which has a Canadian museum, access to bunkers, a memorial area and several access points down to the beach itself. Very moving place to be, whilst the world goes on and there were wind-surfers and walkers on the beach there were also a few ‘old soldiers’ visiting, hard to imagine over 21,000 solders landing here but I guess the old soldiers could do so easily. Just west of the centre is the Cross of Lorraine which marks the spot where Charle De Gaulle came ashore on 14th June 1944, yet another very poignant place where the 18 metre high cross shines like a beacon across the sand dunes. We still want to visit Utah Beach before we leave the coast so plan to do that at the weekend.
Before that we have our date with garage for a new motor on Friday, at last! We intend to move from this aire tomorrow morning and use the aire in the centre of Deauville, partly due to the fact its forecast to rain Friday and without wipers we want to be as close to the garage as possible – also because the Deauville aire is free and Iain likes to keep his Yorkshire cap on when minding the budget 🙂