We left Cornwall on Tuesday after a catch up with the owners of the house and pets we were looking after. Such a lovely couple and what a positive experience this has been. We had a really amazing time in Cornwall and got to live in a stunning house set in beautiful surroundings and have fun with the dogs and cats. We were particularly lucky that they lent us their car. Definitely worth doing if anyone is thinking of it. We will be working on our next housesitting adventure soon!
We drove on to Farnham, Surrey, and had dinner with my lovely uncle and cousin and stayed the night at the Mercure. Next day we headed to Gatwick, dropped off the car and boarded an Easyjet flight to Paris. That all went very well. No ATC strikes that day. Yay. We stayed at the Novotel hotel in the terminal and the next day picked up another rental car, this time Avis.
At this point we were going to drive to a Burgundy to the boat but having been informed that it wasn’t yet in the water due to all the flooding we decided to make a side trip to Normandy and stay with friends for a while which is where we are now. And I’m so pleased we did. Neither of us had been to this region before and there is lots to see. There are plenty of World War II sites to visit including the D Day landing beaches and sadly all the cemeteries. We headed to Omaha beach and the amazing US cemetery and museum. It is chilling to stand on the beach and imagine the carnage. There are almost 10,000 US military personnel buried here and each has a white cross with either their name or marked as unknown. The vastness of the cemetery is what really grabs you. It’s sad and poignant and stirring all at the same time.
We also headed over to Sainte-Mère-Église, a historical town heavily involved in the D Day landings and the site of the Airborne Museum. Another excellent display highlighting the role of paratroopers and the aircraft involved, including gliders!
Yesterday Alan and I visited Bayeux to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux which depicts the events leading up to and including William the Conqueror, until then known as William the Bastard (nice), triumphant battle of Hasting and taking of the English throne in 1066. It is actually embroidery, made of linen and wool, and was probably made in England but it was commissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux. It is 70 metres long and in remarkable condition considering all the handling it has had over the years. It is considered one of the world’s first comic strips! With the entry fee you get a hand held audio guide in your language which walks you through the 70 metres, explaining the story and pointing out interesting features. Well worth the entrance fee.
Before heading home we walked through the stunning Bayeux Cathedral, the original home of the Tapestry, and originally consecrated in 1077 in the presence of William. It has a mixture of styles, originally Norman Romanesque, but after damage in the 12th century it was rebuilt in the soaring Gothic style and is absolutely beautiful.
This morning Debbie and Lloyd took us to their local Monday market and it’s a good one. Beautiful fresh produce and lots of cheese, charcuterie, and plenty of livestock. I love the way the French take pride in the displays, everything looks colourful and enticing. The market hall, in St Pierre-sur-Dives, has an interesting history. Originally built in the 11th century the Norman building was used by Benedictine monks to sell their wares but was destroyed during the German withdrawal in 1944 and was then rebuilt using the original chestnut wood. Debbie told me they have the Xmas markets in there complete with nativity scenes. It must be so pretty. Cold too!
This afternoon we visited the Fromagerie Graindorge in Livarot to watch how they produce their cheese. They specialise in four Norman Protected Designations of Origin: Livarot, Pont-L’Eveque, Camembert de Normandie and Neufchâtel. We had a good taste of them all and came away with a decent selection. Which we are tasting as I write this. Avec ça, a little local aperitif called Pommeau which is made of apple. Trés bon!
Tomorrow we head to Auxerre. Hopefully we can move on board and start the boating part of this year’s trip!
Our lovely friends Debbie and Lloyd buying their weekly produce
As usual Alan’s head is too big lol
Heirloom (ancienne) tomatoes