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Old 08-27-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
DeeGee OP
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Viva La France

Another trip th missus and I did last week, we crossed the Channel from England and did a whistle stop tour of the Normandy beaches, and a few memorials.

Right folks here we go!
Bike ready to roll


We got down to Folkestone a bit later than we had expected due to a minor detour through London Town :
I was getting a bit giddy with my right wrist :bounce: and ............ Erm.............. :arrow: Well we(I) were going a bit too fast and I missed the turning So after a few choice words we ended up riding past the millenium dome and ended up going through Blackwall tunnel
Anyway we managed to get to our hotel in one piece!
We were sat having a beer and this woman came in carrying loads of luggage which she had to put all her bags onto a poor trolley and wheel it all of 5 yards to the reception desk


Up the next day and after breakfast we were off on the tunnel, managed to do it without getting lost
We got there and there was a bit of a queue


On the train


Half an hour later we were on French soil!
A couple of bizarre bridges and a few snaps of us on the road



My best Darth Vader impression

And many roads were just very, very very long and not a lot of traffic on them

We stopped here for some food and something to drink


But they'd stopped serving food! So we had a coffee each and carried on hungary
Now I'm not one for Micky Dee's, but on this trip they were a Godsend!


We trammed on and it wasn't long before we started seeing relics of the war with large concrete gun turrets built ito the hillside just a stones throw from the coast. We kept away from the toll roads and we travelled a great road running alonside the coastline. The views were beautiful.
But we stumbled across this large war cemetary and it kind of hit home what we were going over to France for. This was at Etaples and the graves were primarily from the 1st world war, but there were soldiers burried here from the 2nd world war, some total of almost 12000 bodies.


Another stop off and we reached our hotel. That's all for today. I'll post some more tomorrow :
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:56 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting all the pics. I'd love to get to France & ride some day.
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:29 PM   #3
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Nice.
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:54 PM   #4
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Vive la différence!!

Great start..... keep it coming please

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Old 08-28-2008, 01:03 AM   #5
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A few more snaps of the cemetary at Etaples.







Back on the road with a few thoughts asking myself if I was actually ready for all this? It's only recently that I've shown any real interest in the goings on in the 2nd world war and what the soldiers actually did for not only our country, but probably the rest of europe. But hey ho I'm no preacher by a long shot and I just figured that it was about time I paid my respects to the fallen soldiers.

Once we got to the hotel we did all the checking in and things and we went for a walk and a beer. Sadly on our way back the restaurant was closed so we had to make do with this



Next day after croissants, cheese, fruit, coffee and cake We went to find Pegasus Bridge.

This is the original sign



This is the one we crossed as the original that was at the centre of one of the first conflicts of the 2nd world war has been erected in a nearby museum.




And this is the original one (complete with bullet holes in the metal!) in the grounds of the museum.









This is a replica of one of the original gliders that were involved in the transporation of the troops to the bridge. They were only made of wood!



And inside



This is a memorial to the soldiers in the exact spot where each of the three gliders landed. The closest was only 47 yards away from the bridge!



This is the first building that was liberated by the allies in the war. The lady that runs the cafe is the daughter of the gent that owned it during the war.



Back on the road we next visited the Merville Battery, again the original concrete bunkers were there to walk through.





I couldn't resist one of these though!





And it wasn't all doom and gloom, we did manage to have a bit of a laff and keep it a bit light hearted





A bomb, not sure which kind but it was a big bugger, Jack's stood at the side to give you an idea



Onwards and we did a quick tour of a radar museum



And then it was on the road again, this time we visited Most of the beaches Sword, Juno and Gold.

These were taken overlooking Juno Beach, This mainly involved the Canadian Troops.






And I managed a quick spurt on my own







Then we moved along the coast to a town called Arromanche, overlooking Gold Beach, this was the job for the British troops. It looked so peaceful now it really was difficult to try to imagine what actaully happened on these shores only 60 odd years ago.

The large objects in the sea are the remains of Mulberry harbour, this was an artificial concrete harbour which was "floated" over the channel then pieced together to make a working harbour to offload equipment from the large boats.





A memeorial overlooking the harbour and sea.





We stummbled upon this place en-route to our next stop. This was the batteries at Longues-sur-Mer menacingly overlooking the beach and sea.







And it was here we had our first tiff!

As you can see

I think the heat had got to us both



Back on the bike after a truce and an Ice cream



Next one along the coast was probably the most infamous of all due to the opening scene in the film Saving Private Ryan. Omaha. Again very peaceful and kind of eary at the same time, there was definately an aura about this place. We sat for a while again just trying to imagine the carnage that once was.





The memorial at the beach





More tomorrow folks!

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Old 08-28-2008, 02:49 AM   #6
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Enjoying your first RR, DeeGee. Keep it coming'.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:01 AM   #7
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Vive la France !

Thanks to all the guys from USA who crossed half of the world on boats to give their life for Europe and save our ass... Even if relations between US and France are not at the best we don't forget their ultimate sacrifice.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:13 AM   #8
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I can't help but think of all the blood that was spilt on those beaches - its the most horrific thought. Again, what did those guys think while lying there...

My Dad was on the other side of the world in Russia (German) and had the scars to prove it. It all seems so sad that so many had to die because of power mad fools. Mankind will never learn !

Anyhow, hopefully more pics evocative of our history - pity those whose land all these battles are fought on as well and yet of course, it ends up being fascinating for those of us who follow in the footsteps of the dead.

Especially Europe - a long and bloody history....

Whoops, sorry, went off on a bit of a philosophical path there - please more pics and thanks for the RR so far. Super interesting !
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee
"Allons enfants de la Patrie..."

Great shot, Thanks!
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:13 PM   #10
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After Omaha beach we headed for the American Cemetary at Collville St Laurent. We got there just before 6pm and they were just closing

We headed back to the hotel and since it was my birthday that day we decided to head off into town for a slap up meal and a few beers!

I felt robbed after the taxi fare cost us 30€ for a five minute taxi ride into town!

Anyway we found a nice restaurant and ate!



Now look at this!!

I was testing my tastebuds and I decided to have Moules Mariniere for starters.



After I ate a good few I wondered what the "crunch" was and I decided to investigate a little further............

I found this!!!


Look closely and you can see a tiny crab. I looked in almost all the mussels I ate and they all had a tiny crab in each one
Here's another



Anyway I ate up and we both enjoyed the rest of our meal

Cheers!





Next day after our usual brekky



We headed off for The cemetarys'

First up was the British One in Bayeaux A total of 4868 soldiers are buried here.





This is the memorial at the roadside



And I hope that this works ok, it should be a 360 degree video of the cemetary. Fingers crossed!



When I was a few years younger I sometimes did wonder why we went to all the trouble of the rememberance Sunday with the poppys and the church service and wondered why we couldn't get on as it was all in the past. (Obviously my views have changed now!) I read this plaque at the memorial in the cemetary and this hit the spot.



A couple more shots of us at the gates





A few pictures from inside the museum









Back on the road with a few more quiet thoughts. Then I couldn't miss the opportunity.







Then we visited the American Cemetary in Colleville St Laurent here there is a staggering 9386 soldiers buried here

This is the sight that greeted us



And as we walked around





And there were many of these! Read the inscription on the cross



And hopefully this is another 360 degree video.

More tomorrow folks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Y5EwpUPHI

DeeGee screwed with this post 08-30-2008 at 03:54 AM
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:20 PM   #11
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A beautiful but sad sight indeed

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Old 08-28-2008, 10:52 PM   #12
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Magnifique....keep it coming !
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:23 AM   #13
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Thanks for sharing the ride I have always wanted to go to these places
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:03 AM   #14
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:16 AM   #15
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when we were there a few weeks back i was amazed at that there was some houses/building that still had battle damage. some were abandon . but some looked like bullet holes .

good stuff .

i was torn between which way i wanted to go when i was there. i felt i did not have enough time to and see everything on that side so i choose the med side. but probably will go back next year for this side.

not to hijack but here is my thread, picture and video links.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=377509
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