Saturday, September 3, 2016

What If They Threw a Beach Party and No One Came?


Today we went to the one of the biggest beaches I have ever set eyes on, and I had to recoil in horror when I saw no one was there.

More details on that in a bit. We spent another sunny and 80 degree day today just tooling around Normandy, visiting places we've visited before and taking in a bunch of new things, the beach included. But as always, we started our Saturday by visiting one of the main reasons we keep coming back to Bayeux, and that would be the town's weekly market--

Like I've mentioned before, it's a combination of a farmer's market with the world's strangest flea market. Need a mattress? You can buy one here, right next to the place that sells live ducklings.

You these ones--

Of course, you can also get your fresh fish at the market--

And grab some lunch to take home with you--

While I didn't indulge in any paella this time, I did buy my customary container of fresh raspberries to munch on while wandering around and seeing what else there was to see, like the guy who was in the middle of the market trying to sell one little, shivering piglet, but found no takers.

But maybe, for the shivering little piglet, that was for the best considering the purpose for which it was probably being sold!

We made so many stops today that it's hard to get to them all without boring you to death, so I'll just try to highlight what we found driving and wandering around Normandy. For instance, yesterday I was mentioning a guy from Maryland, Theodore Mister, and one of our first stops today was the memorial placed where he and a dozen of his comrades died trying to cross a river that's all of four feet across--

Mr. Mister actually led the charge across the river, making him a bit of a local hero, so much so that the street of a subdivision in a town many kilometers away is actually named for him--

The cool thing about Rue Theodore Mister? There's a time capsule there to be opened on June 7th, 2044, one hundred years to the day he died. I'm assuming I'll still be alive then, so who knows—maybe I'll hop over and watch as they open it.

Oh, and at Mr. Mister's memorial we made a new friend--

Actually, last time we were here, there were four horses in the field, as opposed to only one today. But Loraine, who's been a horse freak since childhood, was happy to see it, and even happier when it ate a bunch of grass out of her hand. Too bad it would be such a hassle to get it through Customs; otherwise, I'm sure she'd love to have it as a pet!

From there we drove around, stopping to have lunch in a little park in Le Hommet d'Arthenay, where they still have the decorations up they installed when the Tour de France passed by in July--

Little towns all across France put these things up when le Tour passed through, in hopes the TV cameras spend a few seconds of air time focusing on their work. Because U.S. TV coverage hadn't started when the Tour passes through Le Hommet during stage 2, I have no idea if the bicycle Viking ship made French TV, but a big part of me hopes it did.

We also visited another cemetery today, this one the German military cemetery in Marigny--

Whenever we stop at a German military cemetery over here, it's always the same thing—it's empty and it's quiet. And you see a lot of headstones like this one--

Which translates to “Two German Soldiers”. It's estimated that Germany lost over a quarter of an entire generation of men during World War II, and many of them died unknown, to spend eternity in a grave unmarked with even their name.

Have I ever mentioned that war seems really, really stupid?

Finally, I suppose I should mention the beach, right? We were driving along a road on the western side of the Contentin Peninsula (what most people think of as “Normandy”), when we saw a sign that said simply, “La Mer 1,5 K”. That meant the sea was a mile away, so we decided to take a saunter down to see the sea. We saw the sea, plus one of (if not) the biggest beaches upon which I've ever laid my eyes.

This beach--

A beach totally devoid of anyone enjoying the sun, the endless sand, and the fact that there was a huge honking beach all for the taking. Since my dream job would be to work as a professional beach bum, I was really disappointed it was so empty. In fact, for the next half hour, as we were driving away, whenever we saw someone standing around, I would yell out to them that there was an empty beach nearby. No one heard me except Loraine, and I'm sure she got tired of it quite quickly, but it stuns me that there was an amazing, low tide beach open on a perfectly sunny day, and no one was taking advantage of it.

It was a shame.

Tomorrow, we stop playing around so much and spend the first of a few days in a row meeting with people, doing things, and saying “hey” to friends we haven't seen for a few years. But don't worry—we'll still try and do enough to keep you guys entertained!

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