Day 2 – Bayeux and Nathalie

Bayeux Travel Blog

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Sept. 18, 2007:  Day 2 – Bayeux and Nathalie


            Justin and I had no idea what kind of hostel we were staying at in Bayeux that night.  As we walked from the train station (the fare was free for me due to my Eurail Pass, and about 24 Euros for Justin) to the center of town I was relieved to find it a quaint and peaceful looking town.  It definitely was tourist friendly with all the American and British flags (due to the Allied liberation at the beaches of Normandy, of which Canada and other countries were a part of also).

            Our hostel ended up being one of the best I’ve stayed at.  For only 20 Euros each we got a room with two double beds.  It was the first non-bunk room both of us had stayed in during our trips.  The name of the hostel is Family Home at 39 Rue Generale de Dais (, phone:  +33(0)231921522).  The hostel itself is in a very historic looking building with a French Riviera style.  There was a half life-size chess board in the courtyard outside our room which Justin used a couple of times while we were there.

            Justin and I ate like kings after we checked into Family Home.

  We walked to the nearest grocery and bought a whole chicken, potatoes and sauce.  Justin picked up some “Premium” beer for 1.70 Euros for a six-pack.  Seriously, it was called “Premium.”  We took our food back to the hostel to find no oven, but there was a stove.  So we boiled the chicken in water for a long time.  After about an hour we feasted.  Nothing was left of the bird when we were done.

            I had been in contact with a Couchsurfer named Nathalie for awhile.  She couldn’t host, but she was willing to show me around Bayeux and the beaches.  I had let her know Justin was coming and she didn’t mind.  I sent her a text message and told her I was in town.  After work, she came and met us.  Nathalie (Nath to her friends) is a resident of Bayeux but has lived in Argentina and other parts of France.

  She’s in her upper 20’s with shoulder length blonde hair and glasses.  We would find out that she’s very energetic with a great sense of humor.  She was sweet enough to go to the tourist information center and pick up a lot of brochures and maps for us.  She also came bearing four kisses each; two on each cheek.  She said it’s the norm to greet and goodbye with four kisses in that area of France, and two in Paris. 

            Just prior to Nathalie coming to the hostel, Justin and I met a guy named Jordan who was also staying at the hostel.  He was on a tour of Europe and lives in Los Angeles, California.  He seemed like a cool guy and we asked him to tag along with us that night.

            So it was Justin, Nathalie, Jordan and I walking around Bayeux.    Nathalie took us through the British Cemetery and Monument which is dedicated to all the British soldiers who lost their lives during the storming of the beaches.  As we entered the cemetery I split off from the group to absorb the atmosphere alone. 

We all got along great and in between the emotionally-charged memorials we filled the otherwise silent streets with laughter.  Through random conversation I found out that ‘fly’ in French is ‘mouche.’  And the word ‘foam’ in French is ‘mousse.’  So the obvious alliteration popped into my head:  “Mush the mouche into mousse.

  This translates to “Much the fly into foam”, but it sounds cooler in French.

We also laughed about something I said.  It had to do with ‘parking lots’ and would take WAY too long to explain.  So, I guess you just had to have been there.  Sorry!

Nathalie also explained to us some of the history of Bayeux.  Most of the city was spared during the war, and it was the ‘capital’ of France while Nazi Germany controlled Paris.

We said goodbye to Nathalie and planned on meeting the next day for a tour of the beeches in her car.  I was so excited and grateful that she was willing to spend her day off (teachers/students in France get every Wednesday off and go to work/school half of a day on Saturdays) driving us around Normandy.

I should mention that during the whole evening I was plagued with some guilt.  Stephanie, the first person I met on my world tour (if you read my first blog or the Cliffs of Moher blog you’ll remember), was planning on taking a train out to Bayeux the next day to hang out.  But Nathalie could only have four people in her car for insurance reasons.  So, I felt terrible because I had told Steph that she could probably go with us in Nathalie’s car.  I hadn’t planned on us meeting Jordan and bringing him along too.  So, you can see my dilemma.  Well, I planned on telling Jordan my dilemma at breakfast to see what he thought since he was the newcomer.  If he still wanted to come, then I would find a bus tour for Steph to take and meet her at the train station to explain it all to her.  It was troubling me so much I even had one of Justin’s Parliament cigarettes before going to bed.

hdichter says:
the war cemeteries are something, aren't they? I've gone to the cemeteries in Ypres, Belgium. The British have an office so that all Commonwealth war cemeteries are similar, but it's still quite powerful to be there.
Posted on: Oct 13, 2007
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