Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne...
Martragny Travel Blog› entry 9 of 16 › view all entries
Up with the crack of dawn, I hustled and I bustled and I got the heck out of Paris as quick as I could. I motored to the train station and hopped aboard for the ride to Caen. It was a fairly short trip (only about 100 miles) but it made all the easier by having a 6 person cabin shared between just 2.
This was it... this was ultimately the centerpiece destination for the entire trip. my obsession with WWII was about to come to a head, as I visited some of it's holiest of holies... the D-Day beaches.Nothing excited me more, and nothing scared me more. Owing to the fact that I don't drive, and the fact that I was headed into farm country transportation was a real concern.
I arrived in the city of Caen.
I found a cab and took the painfully expensive ride out to the château I would be staying at. That sure sounds fancy, doesn't it? In actual fact, I would be 'camping', in the European sense of the word, which is not much different from a trailer park in the States.
I was assigned my lot, where I set up my tent as quick as I could and threw my things inside. I'd foolishly left Paris without any money, and needed to get to a cash machine. I rented a bike from the château,and made the 10 Km trek to Bayeux.where I found a 'pointe d'argent' and finally got my hands on some cash. While I was there, I took the opportunity to stop at the Commonwealth Cemetery to pay my respects. It was an extremely emotional experience. I read dozens of the tombstones, and most of them we were far younger than I. It was sobering and the first hint at the enormity of what had happened here.
I was too late for lunch and far too early for dinner, so I returned to the château, where I purchase ham, cheese, bread and wine. I also got some detergent, so I ran a load of laundry while sitting out the afternoon reading tour guide of the Juno Beach sectors on D-Day preparing for the next mornings journey. It was a lazy evening, and I drifted off to sleep thinking of the hundreds of thousands of men who had done the same nearly 60 years earlier.