Bonjour from the Seine!
Honfleur certainly lived up to its reputation as a picturesque seaside village! Narrow medieval cobblestone streets jammed with shops selling Calvados, Pommeau, artwork, antiques, clothing , and other local artisan products, and cafes serving crepes, pastries, wine, beer, and “fruit de mer” – fresh local seafood. The tiny harbor is home to an active fishing fleet of 15 boats, and fresh oysters, mussels, shrimp, turbot, and sole is harvested daily. The bus ride to the coast brought us through the Normandy countryside, resplendent with its small family farms, Norman cows, sheep, quaint stone-hewn chateaux, and traditional thatch-roofed cottages.
Our dinner last night featured Chateaubriand and Crepe Chanterelle, Bourgogne Aligote (vin blanc), and Valle des Oliviers Cotes du Rhone (vin rouge). We capped the day with a competitive game of music trivia in the piano lounge. We had no idea that Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile”!
Still docked in Caudebec-en-Caux, Sunday featured a very special excursion by bus to the Normandy D-Day beaches. Our guide provided a terrific history of World War II, the occupation of France, and the allied invasion on that fateful day in June of 1944.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the event, and the tour of the beaches, battlefields, memorials, and museums was both awe-inspiring and sobering at the same time. At Pointe du Hoc, we explored bunkers, bomb craters, and viewed the sheer cliffs and rocky coastline where the American Army Rangers scaled the cliff walls to engage the Germans to destroy their biggest guns. Of the 250 brave young men who landed there, only 90 survived to fight the next day. At Omaha Beach, we collected some sand from the battlefield where so many GIs sacrificed their lives for liberty and freedom from tyranny. We ended the day at the American cemetery just above the beach, where we visited the graves of nearly 10,000 of the more than 22,000 American servicemen who were killed during the campaign, and toured the museum dedicated to their valor and courage.
The AMALegro will set sail tonight for Rouen, the first leg of our return voyage to Paris.
Tiffany and Michael of WineStyles Greensboro, NC