War in France – Normandy
Around lunch time on Tuesday, we left Honfleur and headed towards the Normandy beaches. Normandy is known for being rainy all the time (it’s near England, so it makes sense) – and half way through our drive to Arromanches (small town near the D-Day beaches), the skies opened up. It was absolutely pouring. It didn’t seem like the right time to wander the beaches – so we altered our course and headed for Caen.
Caen is the home for the ‘Memorial for Peace’ Museum. Rick Steves said to plan at least two hours for this museum … we were there for over 4. It was unbelievable. It told the story of World War II – starting all the way from how the end of World War I positioned the world for the next world war, and going all the way through the aftermath of WWII. It was fascinating, and it was incredibly well done. We were, of course, particularly interested in the D-Day landings at the beaches of Normandy, since that was what we were going to be seeing in the next few days.
By the time we left the museum, the rain had slowed down. We continued our drive to Arromanches – which would be our home base in Normandy. Much like it was a logistics home base after the landings at Normandy. We arrived just in time for a beautiful sunset walk along the beach.
Arromanches is a really small town – there’s pretty much nothing to do there. But it is a good home base. We found a good restaurant, and enjoyed mussels with cream sauce, pommeau (hard cider and calvados apple brandy), and saurkraut.
The most interesting thing to see in Arromanches is the remains of the temporary port. After the landing at Normandy, when the allied forces finally managed to capture a port, it had been destroyed. So they made a port where there wasn’t one before. It’s called a ‘Mulberry port’ after the big ‘mulberries’ that make it up. Parts of the Mulberry port at Arromanches are still there, with one even sitting on the beach.