Sunday, September 2, 2012

Of Cheese and "Pancakes"

SUNDAY, 9/2:

Five cemeteries in a day.  For the Koskis, that may be a new world record!

Even when we’re home, we seem to spend a little time on an average Sunday walking through a cemetery, even if it’s just to enjoy the beauty of Park Cemetery in Marquette.  So I guess this Sunday was no different, except we spent a large chunk of the day driving around Normandy visiting one civilian and four military cemeteries, cemeteries representing four different countries.  The civilian cemetery here in Bayeux was actually the final stop.  Our first was at a Canadian military cemetery in a town called Cintheaux—

It’s really a pretty place, home to the final resting places of 3,000 of our North American neighbors.  It was empty the entire time we were there, although it obviously gets visitors from time to time--

Following that we scooted a couple of kilometers down the road to the town of Urville-Langannerie, where over 600 Polish soldiers were laid to rest following World War II—

The crosses are made out of concrete, if you’re curious (and I know you are).  In case you’re wondering why there’s a Polish military cemetery in the middle of France, a large chunk of the Polish Army escaped from their country after the Nazis invaded in 1939.  They ended up reforming in Britain, where units of their army joined Allied forces invading Europe.  They were particularly effective in closing what was known as the Falaise Gap, where they joined forces with Canadian troops to prevent a German counter-attack back toward the Normandy beaches.  And since the cemetery is located not far from Falaise; well, that’s why there’s over 600 Polish soldiers buried there.

That’s your World War II history lesson for the day.

We also made stops at another Canadian cemetery, this one in Beny-sur-Mer/Reviers, where 2,000 Canadians who died right around D-Day were buried.  And, of course, we also made a stop at the Normandy American cemetery, where we said “hey” to several soldiers from the Marquette area who are buried there—William Richards of Ishpeming, Harry Smith of Negaunee, and Roy Chipman and Roy Smith of Marquette.  The drive between the final two cemeteries was quite picturesque; you’d drive around a corner or up a hill and see something like this—

By the way, I wish you could have smelled what we smelled while taking the picture.  What you can’t see is that I’m taking the picture while standing on a dirt road between two freshly tilled farm fields that had just been covered with manure.

The things we go through to get a good picture for you guys!!

I notice I haven’t posted any pictures of flowers yet, and since I know a few of you really enjoy those, here’s something from the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian cemetery—

Those of you who’ve been following along on these trips for the past few years may remember that when we were in Bayeux in 2009 we tried to go out to eat at an Indian restaurant, only to find out that it had been closed due to a gas explosion.  You may also remember that a year later, in 2010, nothing had really been done to the building.  Well, you may be happy to know that another two years have passed, and I’m able to report that in 2012, not much has changed--

I notice they have made a little progress, though, in that the bottom floor of the building has been boarded up, with a building permit posted on it.  If that’s taken three years, I’m guessing they just don’t want to rush into anything.  And if anyone wants to start a pool on which year the building is finally repaired, put me down for 2021, please!

Finally, here’s your Bayeux beauty shot for the day—

That’s all for tonight.  While you guys are enjoying your Labor Day tomorrow, we’ll be hard at “work”.  We’ll probably visit another town’s farmer’s market, plus we may make an attempt to climb up a really, really, really big hill.  We’ll let you know how that goes.

(p.s.--if you're curious as to what the title of this blog means, there were two other American couples at breakfast in our hotel this morning, one of whom complained the French eat too much cheese, and the other of whom kept calling crepes "pancakes".  Sigh...  Speaking of our breakfasts, I'll share the details tomorrow!)

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