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Northern France

In The Footprints Of Hero's |

Day two of this tour was the main reason that I did this trip, the D-Day Beaches.

Our first stop of the morning was to Ponite Du Hoc, a reasonably preserved German heavy gun site (the guns have been removed but the craters from the Allied bombardment before the landings remain). The landscape was as close as you could imagine the moon being. Massive craters dot the land around the concrete bunkers of the German defensive position. We wandered around here for a while, looking inside the remains of some of the bunkers and tunnels.

Next stop was a drive along the coastal road that was Utah Beach, unfortunately the tide was in so we were unable to get a full scale of what would have confronted the troops during the invasion although the rising hillside was very evident.

The bus came to a stop at the American War Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach (the landing scene from Saving Private Ryan) where we got out and spent time wandering through memorials and graves. A moving experience.

We departed the American Cemetery and headed on to the town of Arromanches. This town was key to the Allied invasion as it was where the Mulberry Harbour was located. An artificial harbour that enabled the Allies to land men an equipment. Some sections of the harbour remain as a reminder of the role this small town paid in liberating Europe. At Arromanches we went into a 360degree theatre to view a documentary on the landings before grabbing some lunch and heading off to our last stop of the day, Bayeax and it's famous Tapestry.

The Bayeax Tepastry is a 70 metre long by 1 metre high tale of the Battle of Hasting in 1066. Designed and constructed shortly after the battle, it tells the story of the last time that England was conquered, culminating in the Battle Of Hastings. The amount of work and detail that went into this Tapestry is amazing and how it's survived almost a thousand years is beyond me.

After a quick walk in the rain around Bayeax is was back on the bus for a quick trip to a British War Cemetery. It was then back to Caen for a delicious Fondue, (love the French food scene!) a few beers and bed.

Visiting the D-Day beaches, the memorials and the cemeteries that are a result of the the thousands who died was quite a moving experience. It was a part of France that I desperately wanted to get too during my time here and I'm so glad that I was able to see these places.

Locations Visited: Arromanches, Bayeux, Caen

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