A Day About Canada

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Friday, August 7, 2009

We had another full day planned and were up early, ready to go.  We had a natural alarm clock that morning - not a rooster, but seagulls, looking for some scraps from the fishermen.  The B&B was very close to the town harbour.  The petite dejeuner was very satisfactory (cereals, coffee and juice, breads, rolls) and talking with the other guests and our hosts made for an enjoyable experience...although our host only spoke French, another couple also only French, one other mainly Italian but a bit of French and English, and us, mainly English but enough French to understand what was going on.  You just have to try!

We knew it was Market Day, so we spent some time checking it out, before heading over towards the Juno Beach Center.  We needed to be there for 11am, to meet up with an English cousin of John's, his Wife and Mother-in-law.  These are people we had never met in person before...and only learned of earlier in the year.  But that is a different story and I am just focusing on the vacation at this time. 

We saw lots of cute little dogs during our walk through the town that morning - I love that French people take their dogs everywhere!

11am came and we met the cousins in the lobby of the Juno Beach Center and went through the museum together.  And hit it off!  Our tour of the center included going onto the beach and seeing the bunker that was moved from another site to the vicinity of the center.  Very good tour, good guides, the museum was well put together.  The first part of the tour included a mock up of a landing craft, complete with visuals and audio.  I considered this to be one of the best parts of the tour.  We did not expect the museum to focus so much on Canada's history.  We thought it would be exclusively about D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.  One interesting part of the museum was a scroll of names of soldiers killed in the Battle of Normandy reflected on the ceiling of the exhibit.  The names are alphabetical, and happened to be in the "M" section when we were there.  I waited for quite awhile, but managed to see the name of my grandfathers cousin, Sterling Alvin Moore, who was killed on June 8, 1944.

The five of us found a cafe, Cafe Les Alizes, along the wharf and had a wonderful lunch.  It was a great time - the company, meal, ambiance.  I had Creme Brulee, which was fabulous!  Afterward, we walked along the promenade in Courseulles to walk off lunch.  We all made plans to meet the next day at the American Cemetery and went our separate ways for the rest of the day.

But, John & I still had an important thing to do that day.  We wanted to go to Beny Sur Mer Canadian Cemetery, where my relative is buried.  We got into our little car and headed out to the countryside.  It was a beautiful evening.  We did some driving around, enjoying the area, before finding the cemetery.  We were the only people there at the time - the place was so quiet and peaceful.  The only sound was of birds chipping.  For the first time but not the last in France, we were struck with how beautiful and well kept the CWGC sites were.  The Maple trees planted in the cemetery are a really nice detail.  We spent quite a bit of time walking around, reading the headstones and seeing the personal items some visitors have left behind.  I realized I came unprepared.  No Canadian or New Brunswick flags to leave behind...we decided if we could find a flag and make it back, we would revisit the cemetery. 

At some point, we realized we had no reservations between the next night (the 8th) until August 13th in Paris.  Yikes!  We had so much more to do in the D Day Landing Zone areas so we hoped to stay one more night at the Willies.  No luck - they were full and even called around to other B&B's in the area.  Their suggestion was to try around Caen - lots of chain hotels, there was sure to be a room.  Even though the next night was Saturday!

After getting back to the B&B and leaving the car there, we took a night time stroll back to Juno beach.  At this time we collected some sand and stones from the beach to bring home.  It was a full day and we were happy to get to bed.
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