So many lives lost...

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Dieppe is a place we all learned about in school and, as a Canadian, with some knowledge of what occurred here 63 years ago, I found it to be very powerful and emotional.

I was surprised to see so many Canadian flags flying, not only at monuments.  Stores, restaurants and even children's playgrounds around Dieppe where flying the maple leaf.  After almost 63 years there is a lot of gratitude by the people of Dieppe for the loss of so many Canadians in that ill-fated raid.  

There is also remembrance for the eventual liberation, two years later, by Canadians, as they came north from Juno Beach to finish what was attempted first in 1942.

As a Canadian, it was very powerful, even without directly having lost a family member in the raid, to visit this site and see it in person.  Textbooks cannot convey it fully.

I had planned to rent a scooter to get around Normandy and priced them out on the internet at around €35 a day.  Friday I went to the train station to find a rental place that would give me the best deal and ended up getting upsold to a car instead for only €5 more a day, including insurance and all the other taxes.  Good thing too, 'cause I hadn't realized it was almost 140kms to Dieppe from Caen.  That would have been a long, cold ride.

Got a map, figured out the best route, and headed out.  Shortly onto freeway A13 I came to a surprise toll booth that wanted €3.  It was a bit of a surprise because the very detailed map I had did not mention this being a toll road and I was having no problem understanding the road signs and saw no indication there was a toll ahead.  Oh well - €3 seemed reasonable and it was kind of unique as the only other toll booth I have driven through before has been the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia. 

50kms later I wasn't as happy when I came across another toll booth on the same stinkin' highway.  This time it was €4,50.  That's almost $12 cdn for 75kms of driving.  Thankfully I didn't pass another toll on the way to Dieppe.

Coming back that night I thought I'd be smart and bypass A13 and go back a different route.  As soon as I turned onto A29 and rounded the corner I saw the toll booth - except this time it was an automatic machine that just gave me a card.  I figured out that it was going to cost me €0.36 / km.  I stopped in a small town for dinner and had to pay €2.20 to get off. 

By this time I was already committed to A29 so I got back on and got another card, which eventually turned into €2.70 when that part of the highway ended.  Then I hit the bridge.  A massive bridge.  The Normandy Bridge...once the longest cable bridge in the world.  It lost that title in 1999 but is over 2kms long.  And it came with a hefty €5 toll.

After I got off the bridge and turned towards Caen, I hit another toll booth for €1 and about 15kms from Caen I got my (thankfully) last toll booth for €3.  By this point my enthusiasm for toll booths had greatly waned.

Going to Dieppe = 2 tolls & €7,50
Coming back (trying to be smart by choosing a different route) = 5 tolls & €14,00.

That's €21,50 in tolls to drive less than 300kms, about the distance it takes to drive from Calgary to Edmonton one way. 
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