11 April 2009

the french countryside



Most of you know how much I love France.  I love the history, I love the language, I love the architecture.  I truly could live there, especially in the countryside, just outside a wonderful village, where I could ride my bicycle complete with fabulous basket to and from the village with my baguettes and items from le marche.  I would obviously be wearing a cute skirt and ribbons in my hair...













Five years ago, we took the trip of a lifetime and spent time driving around the north of France, exploring les petite villes and enjoying ourselves immensely.  We were there to experience the incredible 60th anniversary of D-Day and what an incredible experience it was.  Quite accidentally, we ended up on a ship sailing from Portsmouth, England to Ouistreham, France on the 1st of June, 2004.  After boarding the ship, we noticed that we were surrounded by multiple octogenarians  dressed in military uniforms.  My husband is fascinated with WWII and especially with the events surrounding the landing on the beaches of Normandy.  To hear people who had never met sharing incredible stories of survival, friends lost, and triumph was so very moving.  I shed quite a few tears that day.  
  



We were escorted the entire way by four military ships - one from the US, one from Canada, one from England, and one from France.  There were also helicopters flying overhead.  When we landed at Ouistreham,  the veterans received a hero's welcome - current military in their dress blues lined the gang way.  A full band played as the veterans disembarked.  People who had a difficult time getting down the gang way were assisted by a younger soldier.  It was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced. 



The entire time we were in Normandy, flags from Canada, the US, England, and France flew everywhere we went.  People were so friendly, and the feeling of celebration was constant.  We visited the beaches, and were amazed at how the soldiers that day could have ever scaled those cliffs.  It really made it real for me - the sacrifice these men made for all of us.  





So, this time of year, as we approach the 65th anniversary of D-Day, it makes me think of that trip, and wish that we could go back, do it again, and be a part of something so amazing once more.


5 comments:

Mamaoftwins said...

What an amazing trip you had. The pictures are just breath taking!

I love the history of Europe and the old brick, stones, and all the GREEN! hee Its like everything has a story to tell.

Gigi said...

What a beautiful and important journey. Thank you for sharing it.

sherry lee said...

What an incredible experience. One you were destined to make I expect. When you say you can't imagine the men being able to scale those cliffs...it makes you realize what determination, passion and a little help from above for the cause of goodness and right can enable you to do.

Your photographs are, as always, beautiful.

koralee said...

what a trip...my 17 year old daughter just got back from the same spot in Normandy....she said the emotions she felt were overwhelming and that it was an experience of a lifetime...i thought that was pretty special coming from a 17 year old....what a lovely blog you have..i will be back to visit...

Ana Marija said...

for someone who spent teenage years in war, with no electricity and running water for 2 years...living in and out of basements...this really struck a cord!