After lunch we headed for the Normandy Beaches. The tour guide decided to stop at Juno Beach where the Canadian Army took responsibility for landing in 1944. He said he had some time and about a third of the people on the coach were Canadian. I didn't know we were going to do that before we came and I felt a shock run through me. I have watched the Canadians storming the beaches so many times in film that I felt I almost knew the beach by heart. We stopped the bus and I quickly headed for the beach. I raced out on the pier to get a view of the beach from as far out as I could go. I did not really know what I would see or feel. No one I knew died on that beach or even landed on it but Canadians landed there and I feel akin to all those people who lived and died on the beach that day. It was pouring with rain just like D Day but I was greeted with a huge expanse of sand in front of my eyes all the way back to the edge of the beach. I was used to seeing all the blockades that had been put in place to prevent the landing on the beach and all that is gone. The sandy beach looks so welcoming and it had been so harsh on our Canadian soldiers who did so well that day achieving their objectives and moving inland. The price they paid gave back to France that beautiful expanse of beach. I finally reconciled that in my mind. Their sacrifice had given normalcy back to the French; had given life back to the French and as I looked around me I saw Canadian flags everywhere. The French have not forgotten those young men of Canada who died on those beaches. I said a prayer for those brave Canadians who died on those beaches 70 years ago (this was May 28 and already the grounds were being readied for the 70th anniversary of D Day on 6 Jun 2014). We walk freely on those beaches because they died and we must never forget that or let our children and grandchildren forget that.
The other item we were going to look at this day was the Bayeux Tapestry. I have heard of the Bayeux Tapestry since I was a child and this was one of my dream items to do on this trip. Its size is amazing, I guess I knew that it was very long, but seeing the actual length amazed me. The colours still so beautiful and the images so perfect. We had an audio guide and moved along in a group looking at all the images and listening to the guide. The time passed too quickly but there were so many people both ahead of us and behind us looking the Tapestry. We found a booklet that includes all of the images on the tapestry with a short writeup for us to look at when we return home again. On to the Novotel where we were staying the night at Bayeux. We had dinner at the Novotel.
Just a note to say that we stopped in several villages and towns that are on the pilgrim path to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.