Canada's Juno Beach Centre

Trip Start Nov 24, 2010
Trip End Jul 14, 2011

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Friday, June 3, 2011

My goodness, what a crazy day. We started off on the freeway with the map book in my lap heading west from Giverny to see the beaches of Normandy. After a ways we decided to take the more scenic route from Honfleur to Courseulles sur mer to see Canada's Juno Beach Centre and the beaches of WW II. We didn’t realize that June 6, D-Day, is still a huge deal in France, particularly when it manages to fall on the Monday of a 4-day weekend with beautiful weather to boot. And we had no idea how congested the roads in France could be, the freeways and these narrow roads through beautiful towns. We finally arrived at Canada’s Juno Beach museum late afternoon. The museum is very well done and we learned a lot about Canada’s role in liberating France and then continuing on up through Belgium and the Netherlands. Seeing the Canadian flags flying all along the Normandy coast was very moving and I was definitely a very proud Canadian.

As we toured the museum we were a bit concerned about finding a place to stay the night so we decided to head inland to Bayeux and look for a place. No such luck. Then on to St. Lo and again no rooms to be found and we were told that there wasn’t likely anything south either. This is probably the first time in over six months of travelling that we decide to wing it and not book ahead. Bad timing – a 4 day weekend in D-Day Normandy to decide to try it. One hotel that was full made a call and found us a room at an interesting hotel/restaurant/truck stop. Fearing the worst, I was pleasantly surprised to find an OK room with a newly renovated bathroom and great wifi (pronounced 'wee fee’ in France). Dinner was served at banquet tables with bottles of wine on them reminding me of a wedding. In France, most restaurants have set menus each day, often three courses with a glass of wine included, and the choice of entre, plate and dessert, and often reasonably priced as well. While it’s not likely we will backtrack to see the famous tapestry of Bayeux, we should be able to see mont st-michel tomorrow and then head the car southeast with the next few nights booked in advance!
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