Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Parents in Paris & Normandy

Towards the very end of our stay, my parents flew to Paris for several days. We hit the big tourist spots, including Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Louvre (just my mother and me), but the focal point of their visit was touring the Normandy area. We rented a car and drove the three hours Saturday morning to Normandy, toured Omaha Beach, the Omaha Beach museum and Pointe du Hoc. On Sunday morning, we spent some time in Bayeux, a quaint town not far from the beaches, and viewed the 70 meter long tapestry from 1050 on display that portrays the Battle of Hastings. After that we visited the American cemetery and made the long drive home in traffic.
I'm grateful to have made this trip. Traveling outside the U.S. always makes me thankful for my home country, and I especially felt that love and respect visiting a place that witnessed the deaths of so many Americans.
These first pictures are at Omaha Beach and the Omaha Beach Museum. The beautiful, tranquil beach bore almost no scars from the horrific battle. 
After walking along the beach, we drove to Pointe du Hoc, an arrowhead cliff the Rangers climbed via grappling hooks. The cliff has a couple German casements and severely pocked terrain from the Allied bombing raids. 
Inside a German casement
The craters are from Allied bombs.
A few pictures in Bayeux

After we toured the tapestry in Bayeux Sunday morning, we drove to the American cemetery. Fiona fell asleep just as we reached the cemetery so I stayed with her in the car for a little bit to let her sleep. She had her moments but was a really good traveler.

The cemetery is wrapped in a solemn hush. As you look past the crosses, the water disappears into the sky, and I felt a very real sense of peace. We walked through the extremely tasteful museum that briefly educates visitors on the events imminently leading up to the invasion and then wandered past the infinity pool and to the rows of crosses.


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