This morning we got on the bus around 10 and made our way to a cheese factory in Normandy. We were able to see the process of cheese being made and it was super smelly. All of the cheese was unpasteurized so I did not partake; however, it smelled like death so I didn’t care! The tour was fun.
After the cheese factory we stopped in a small town for a Normandy picnic. A Normandy picnic consists of bread that is buttered, jams, cider, or apple juice in my circumstance. We had also brought some meat to add to the bread but I didn’t risk eating the meat because it was pretty warm even though I thought it was in a cooler? The picnic was nice; it did seem though that it was Damien’s idea and it was infringing on Greg’s schedule. So it felt a bit rushed but we did get to look around the little town a bit. It was very quiet.
After lunch we went to a family owned cidery. We got a tour
to see how the cider was made and then we got to try some ciders. I will admit,
I had a few sips.
When we got back it was around 4:30 and we went for a walk
before dinner. I wanted food, mostly pizza, so bad. Lunch hadn’t been very big
and I was hungry! Unfortunately, most places close for the afternoon so it was
a struggle to find anything serving food. It started to rain and got colder and
I got hungrier and grumpier. We stopped in Trouville for some espresso and we
ordered a ham and egg gallette. It was pretty good.
We walked around some more then we met at the El Central for dinner. I had steak and mashed potatoes, a tomato mozzarella salad, and chocolate mousse for dessert. Don had escargot and a crazy seafood plate!
Today we woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast at the house.
Then Don and I went to the store to get snacks for the bus. The bus picked us
up at 10 am and we had a different driver named Damien. He was very nice and
spoke very good English. He also was more of tour guide and told us a lot of
information about everywhere we went. He was very good.
We stopped at a rest stop that put all USA rest stops to
shame. It was like a palace—there was a restaurant with roasted pork shoulder,
amazing looking sandwiches, a very nice gift shop, and of course a Starbucks.
When we got back on the road Damien asked if we wanted a surprise and we all did. So he stopped off a road that had a view of Mont Saint Michel in the far background. In the forefront were pastures with sheep everywhere. It was very beautiful, like a postcard; in fact I’m pretty sure you can get this exact view on a postcard. We took a lot of pictures here and Mont Saint Michel just looked like a castle.
Before coming to France I did not know much about Mont Saint Michel. I had really only seen pictures, and funny enough, one time when we were playing GeoGuessers it dropped us at Mont Saint Michel. Basically Mont Saint Michel is a commune that sits on an island off the mainland of France. The tides around the island are also interesting because it made it accessible but also stranded enemies. The low tides protected the island and it was never conquered. We took some pictures of people walking on the sandvery far from the island during low tide.
When we made it to Mont Saint Michel we had about a 20 minute walk to get there. It was a beautiful walk and we took a lot of pictures. Damien guided us up to the top of Mont Saint Michel and told us a lot of history on the way. It was a very good tour.
Once we made it to the top we walked back down to the town
for free time before we had to head back. I think we had almost an hour of free
time and of course I was hungry. We found a sandwich shop and got a sandwich.
We walked around the town a bit but what we saw of it was so crowded and
touristy so we decided to stop at a place with a view and get a drink (wine).
After an hour we all met up for the trek back to the bus. We
wanted to take the shuttle back to the parking lot but it was so crowded and we
waited 20 minutes and still were not able to get on the shuttle. So we started
to walk back. The walk felt long and it actually got hot!
It was a long but fun day. On the way home we stopped and
picked up some sandwiches because we would be getting home late. When we got
home we all just relaxed, ate, and talked. Around 11 pm I got some news about
work from a coworker and it was pretty exciting so I went to see if Julie was
still awake to talk about it! She was!
Today was scheduled as a free day. Most people decided to take a bus to the town of Honfleur. We wanted to do that also but we woke up really, really late–like between 9:30 and 10. Everyone else was pretty much out the door when we got up. They walked to the train station for the 11:05 train. The next train to Honfleur after that was around 1 pm and the train back was around 4 pm so if we wanted to go we needed to hurry.
We were determined to make it to the the 11:05 train. We got ready super quick and we took an uber to the train station. The line to get tickets was making me a bit nervous because we arrived around 10:45, but we got the tickets and met the others in line. Many jokes were made between us and Kevin pertaining to The Amazing Race. We were the last team to arrive but we definitely were not out!
The bus ride was around 30 minutes. Honfleur is small, cute harbor town. We walked around looking for food and decided to eat at a place right on the water called Le Marin. Here we tried escargot. It actually was pretty good. We also had croque madames. It was funny, while we were sitting at this restaurant we saw almost everyone in our group. They would walk by and we would call out to them. It was like we were seeing someone we hadn’t seen in awhile.
The day was absolutely beautiful, the warmest day so far here in Normandy. We met up with Greg and Patty. They had drove to Honfleur after visiting the town of Bayeux. We walked around a bit and did a little shopping. Then we split up again. I was wanting a snack before we had to leave so we went back to the water and found a restaurant called 42. I had a cappuccino and ice cream. Don had a beer.
We walked slowly back to the bus station for our 4:15 train. This time we were the first to arrive. I’m really glad we made it to Honfleur because it was such a cute little town. Once we got back to the house we prepared a dinner to have outside. We worked on cleaning the tables and chairs, then we relaxed a bit outside since it was so nice out. Dinner was great. There was chicken, salad, green beans, potatoes, and a tart for dessert.
It was getting chilly so Don started a fire for warmth in the grill area but there wasn’t much to burn. We walked to a gas station to get firewood. After hanging out for awhile I was pretty tired so I went upstairs to bed.
Today we got up around 7:45. I made some eggs to share and had some toast and coffee. We were preparing to go on our tour of Normandy. Our bus came to pick us up at 9:45. The bus was really nice and it had wi-fi. The driver was very nice too and knowledgeable about everything.
It was about a 2 hour drive to our first stop the German cemetery. The cemetery is located near Omaha beach and is maintained by Germans today.
Next we stopped at Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is on high cliffs of Normandy and it was occupied by the Germans until the U.S. army scaled the cliffs on D-Day and captured it. Now there is a memorial and a museum there. You can also still see and go inside some of the original fortifications and bunkers. There are also still bomb craters to see. It was an interesting place to see and the cliffs were very beautiful.
We loaded back in the bus and went on our way to the American Cemetery. The American Cemetery was busy with decorating and organizing for the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Next we had lunch. Don had a galette and I had fish and chips. At one point during the meal Greg took a mayo packet, opened it, and sucked out some mayo. I forget what prompted this, maybe the fact we didn’t have a lot of mayo. An older French couple saw this happen and they just looked appalled. We had a good laugh though. I stole a mayo packet to give Greg a snack on the long bus ride home.
After lunch we checked out some intact German bunkers. That was pretty cool to see.
The last stop on our Normandy Tour was a lookout over the false harbor that was created. The British engineered large concrete pieces to create a port or false harbor to help move supplies and men to and from ships. They even purposely sunk some older ships to help create the harbor. The false harbor was essential in the Battle of Normandy.
It was a 2 hour drive back home and everyone seemed tired. When we got back Jim, Doreen, and Don watched the series finale of Game of Thrones. The rest of us just relaxed, sat outside, and talked. It was a nice, sunny afternoon. We had dinner at 8 at an Italian restaurant called Il Parasole. This was super exciting for me because I love pizza and Italian food way more than French food haha. We were able to pick out an appetizer and pizza or pasta, then a dessert. I had calamari with a diavolo pizza, which is basically pepperoni with peppers. I had ice cream for dessert. I am blanking on what Don had right now but we both enjoyed our meals very much! Best food so far in Deauville.