Posted by: Turkadactyl | November 10, 2008

France- The Wrath of Caen (Photo Update December 27)

For those of you who are familiar with Star Trek I am sure you will appreciate the title of this post.  Caen is pronounced the same as Khan.  Caen was wonderful.  It was our base of operation for me to visit the D-Day sites.  I really wish I could upload some photos to share with all of you what I saw.  I experienced a wide range of emotions for the two days I was in Lower Normandy.  I now have a deeper sense of admiration and respect for the soldiers of the allied forces who landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

Caen was a whirlwind for me.  We had two days there and I think I required a whole week to take in everything.  Since it is low season public transportation is not as frequent to all the sites.  I ended up coughing up the big bucks and purchased a tour of the area.  In the end I am glad I did because I would not have been able to see everything that I was able to go to.  The sheer magnitude of the evasion was enormous.  The amount of planning and coordination that went into that history making day is mind boggling.

It was an honour to be able to walk among some of the beaches that many brave young men sacrificed their lives so that France and Europe could be freed from the tyranny of Hitler and the Nazis.  If anyone is interested in seeing what I saw here are the sites I went to- Point du Hoc, American Military Cemetary, Juno Beach Centre at Courselles sur Mer, Arromanches, Omaha Beach, Sword Beach, and one more place which name eludes me at the moment.

There were two places I wanted to see but, unfortunately I was unable to.  They are Bayeux, where the largest British Military Cemetary is and Beny sur Mer where one of the Canadian Military Cemetaries is located.  I hope to return to Lower Normandy one day to spend some more time there.

I am about halfway through Ambroses D-Day.  After seeing the sites that Ambrose is writing about the history seems to be more alive.  I experienced sadness, joy, admiration, pride, appreciation, shock, surprise those two days.

In case you are wondering why we left so soon we found a good train deal before arriving and decided to pounce on it.  That then takes us to Paris.  Paris was the shotgun tour.  We bought a day pass for the underground, hauled our big packs and saw the big sites of Paris.  Paris is full of fashion, tall models (or tall women who dressed very trendy and were very thin so I am assuming they are models), baguettes (mmmm baguettes).  I lost my underground pass twice.  I found it the first time.  Not so lucky the second time.  Mrs. Turkadactyl had her first European espresso in Paris.

Our France trip concluded with the sleeper train.  We had an internet receipt but we could not print out a ticket at the station.  Thankfully the conductor was a nice man and accepted our receipt.  We lucked out on that one.  Next stop is Rome and Italy.

A concrete block sunk to break waves.  An artificial habour, called a mulberry, was set-up so the Allies could land equipment.  This is at Arromanchespart of Sword Beach.  The British landed here

A concrete block sunk to break waves. An artificial habour, called a mulberry, was set-up so the Allies could land equipment. This is at Arromanchespart of Sword Beach. The British landed here

Arromanches

Arromanches

St. Pierre Cathedral in Caen.  Most of Caen was destroyed in WWII.  We saw pictures of Caen.  Everything around this cathedral was destroyed.  Remarkably St. Pierre survived.

St. Pierre Cathedral in Caen. Most of Caen was destroyed in WWII. We saw pictures of Caen. Everything around this cathedral was destroyed. Remarkably St. Pierre survived.

Courseulles-sur-Mer.  This is Juno beach, Canadian sector.

Courseulles-sur-Mer. This is Juno beach, Canadian sector.

Juno Beach- a German fortification

Juno Beach- a German fortification

Juno Beach- beach traps for boats.  These were set up on the beach to rip the hulls of boats.

Juno Beach- beach traps for boats. These were set up on the beach to rip the hulls of boats.

Statue to the fallen soldiers outside the Juno Beach Centre

Statue to the fallen soldiers outside the Juno Beach Centre

A damaged German fortification on Juno Beach.

A damaged German fortification on Juno Beach.

courseulles-sur-mer08-42

This tank pushed a pillar into a hole dug to stop tanks.  The pillar was to be used as a bridge.  This tank drove over the bridge into a larger hole formed by an Ally navy shell.  It was then used as a pillar for two bridges so other tanks could get off Juno beach.

This tank pushed a pillar into a hole dug to stop tanks. The pillar was to be used as a bridge. This tank drove over the bridge into a larger hole formed by an Ally navy shell. It was then used as a pillar for two bridges so other tanks could get off Juno beach.

Longues-sur-Mer.  Four 170mm German cannons had a range of 13 miles.

Longues-sur-Mer. Four 170mm German cannons had a range of 13 miles.

Observation post for the 170mm.

Observation post for the 170mm.

Inside the observation post.

Inside the observation post.

longues-sur-mer-08-23

US Military Cemetary at Colleville-sur-Mer.  A statue of the spirit of a fallen soldier ascending to heaven.

US Military Cemetary at Colleville-sur-Mer. A statue of the spirit of a fallen soldier ascending to heaven.

Omaha Beach- the US Military Cemetary was establihed at the bloodiest part of Omaha

Omaha Beach- the US Military Cemetary was establihed at the bloodiest part of Omaha

Wall of Memories- the names of all the soldiers whose bodies were never found or could not be identified.

Wall of Memories- the names of all the soldiers whose bodies were never found or could not be identified.

Wall of Memories

Wall of Memories

us-military-cemetary08-23

us-military-cemetary08-19

us-military-cemetary08-39

Point du Hoc.  The battle damage in the form of craters has been left here as a reminder.  The craters were formed by the Allies navy and air bombardment.

Point du Hoc. The battle damage in the form of craters has been left here as a reminder. The craters were formed by the Allies navy and air bombardment.

point-du-hoc08-5

A crater formed by the bombardment.

A crater formed by the bombardment.

 

A bigger crater.

A bigger crater.

 

Le Louvre, Paris

Le Louvre, Paris

 

Notre Dame, Paris

Notre Dame, Paris

 

Notre Dame, Paris

Notre Dame, Paris

 

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Eiffel Tower, Paris

 

The Turkadactyls in front of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris

The Turkadactyls in front of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris


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