Originally published 26 March 2012
Well it is hard to believe we are at the end of our excellent adventure. Let's hope the trip to the airport and turning the car in are uneventful. Turning the car in when we got to Munich was a nightmare. The address on the rental agreement was a blocked off car park and Munich is no place to be driving if you know where you're going, let alone if you have no clue. The whole car thing there was a bit difficult but it's over and all good and getting this one to the return will be easier I hope.
Anyway, for the most part our travels have been pretty hassle free thanks to Bill's obsessive preplanning. There are always those things you can't plan for but c'est las vie, as they say here. I had total language confusion when we first got to France and just ran through any words I knew in any language until the person I was trying to communicate with nodded. Anyway, all the time in Montreal has paid off some here.
People in France do not speak English as readily as they did in Holland but they have been very nice and as long as I approach them in French, very willing to help and communicate. The only ones who have been short are people in service positions, ie. don't ask for information at the metro, it will only give you headaches.
Paris was an amazing, vibrant city with art and culture oozing from the pores of the city. Very fast paced. I don't know where the relaxed Parisains were who hang it and drink coffee all day. Everyone was in a typical big city rush, maybe they were rushing to get somewhere to relax. I will say, the food in France has been wonderful, even their fast food is real food.
After all the hustle, bustle and crowds of Paris it has been wonderful wandering around Normandy and the beach areas. Bill runs around taking endless pictures of war things and I wander around taking pictures of animals and the scenery. We are here at the right time, their season starts with Easter weekend next weekend. Many things are still closed but I have always preferred beach communities off season.
The weather has been perfect, blue skies and spring temperatures. It would be easy to spend a month here, exploring the coast and all the historic and natural sites. It is amazing how real the war is here still. We ran into a German fellow my age and we were talking about his experience traveling here. He was here 30 years ago when, as he put it, they were still quite distant to the Germans in Normandy. Now it appears not so much since we have encountered a lot of Germans here. It is interesting that they are visiting theses sites.
He said that in school they are taught that what the Nazis did was bad and to make sure Germany never does anything so terrible again. His father was in the army and stationed in Finland. He said his father never talked that much about the war but did say that most of German people really didn't know how bad the Nazis were until after the war. I don't know, it's hard to hold everyone accountable but when you go to Dachau and see how close the camp was to the town, it's not really believable that they didn't know something bad was happening there. And then there were the riots against the Jews, the roundups, the stealing of property... A complicated time. But I am glad we won, and so are the people here in Normandy. There is about of a sense of unreality here driving through these tiny villages that are lost in a time warp somewhere between the 16th and 20th centuries.
When I have some time I will post some pictures to fb. Right now it is time to bid you all good night. I have a kitty friend here. Our b and b has been wonderful.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.