As I walked along the beach at Omaha, still golden in the low winter sun, watching families building sandcastles and holding the hand of my better half, I could not imagine the horrors that struck this place just 72 years ago. That’s tangible history and yet it didn’t seem possible watching the scene unfold before me that something so unimaginably terrible had taken place here. At first I felt bad about the family enjoying their time building sandcastles underneath the sculpture remembering those who’d lost their lives here. Then I realised that if we weren’t enjoying our time there it would have been for nothing. They gave their lives so that we could enjoy ours. This place was once blood, bullets and bodies and now there was love, life and laughter.
The Normandy beaches should be visited in your lifetime. I think it should be part of every school curriculum to visit these historically key locations, to learn about those who made the greatest sacrifice at all, to learn how it all started, the evil genius that brought this into being, the brutality, the morale, the struggle, the fight, the resourcefulness and why we are here now doing what we are doing. It’s a part of history we all have in common.
We took the ferry over from Poole to Cherbourg early on Monday morning. We were lucky to have such a lovely sunny day for our sailing and even got to peek at millionaires row at Sandbanks on the way out to sea whilst sailing just past Brownsea Island. Don’t pin your hopes on the Brittany Ferries‘ breakfast and take a good book with you to keep you occupied!
We arrived in France at around 2pm and headed straight to Auchan to stock up on French goodies. We selected several wines with the aim of tasting them before our return journey so we could buy more of what we liked. Good decision!
For this trip we were reaching back to our childhood memories and decided to stay at the perfectly located Eurocamp Cote de Nacre at Saint-Aubin-Sur-Mer, now part of the Sandaya Group, about an hour and a half away from Cherbourg. It was a lovely site tucked away behind residential streets which felt as though we were part of the community. We took a walk around the site which was really quite quiet in April. Our holiday home was completely private and had no-one staying immediately next to us which made it nicely secluded. The grounds were beautifully kept and for those needing the communal washing facilities, we’ve never seen such a modern shower block.
Saint-Aubin-Sur-Mer was fairly quiet in April. The cold windy weather, although sunny, didn’t help much in bringing out the crowds but we were welcomed by the restaurateurs and chose to eat at Cote Sable. On our first night we enjoyed the local delicacies of Normandy Mussels (mussels in a creamy white sauce) and a ham and cheese galette all washed down with wine and a bowl of cider. It would have been rude not to have sampled the crepes and so of course we obliged!