This year our group decided to locate our campsite at the Normandy coastline. Sainte Marie du Mont has a very kind Mayor, he welcomed us with a smile and gave us one of his pastures to put up our tents. We even were allowed to use his neatly cut firewood for our campfire all week! The campsite was great, thank you mister Mayor!
We’ve done and seen loads of stuff in Normandy! Mostly World War II related, but that stuff is really fascinating so it didn’t bother us at all! We’ve been to Utah Beach, seen it’s museum and our last afternoon we went swimming in the same waters the American soldiers fought their way into France. That idea spooked us a bit, but it was a nice day never the less. We’ve also seen Omaha Beach and it’s museum, which looked a lot like Utha Beach.
We’ve also visited Pointe du Hoc, which is located between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. Pointe du Hoc used to be occupied by the Germans, they had build quite a few bunkers on a rather small patch of land there. They also had build huge canons there which could reach Utah and Omaha Beach with quite a precision, especially for that time considering the technology back then. It was a priority to take out those canons as soon as possible so the Americans formed a special unit to accomplish this dangerous task. Most of them didn’t even make it to the top of the cliff.
Later that week we went to Gold Beach, where the British troops landed. Here you could still see enormous boulders lying at the horizon. These boulders are the remains of an American make-shift harbor to get supplies to the troops. We’ve also been to a special 360 degrees cinema. We entered a circular room with cinema projection screens all around us. Suddenly all around us started to show scraps of video material which was actually shot during the war! Sounds of chaos, gunfight, explosions and war surrounded us completely. I actually started to feel confused and a wee bit frightened.
War brings death. Therefore we visited the German, English and American war cemeteries. Each of them more impressive than the other. The English one actually made me cry. Every stone there carried a message of the people the soldier left behind, some of them where heartbreaking.
Ofcourse we also did other stuff. We cooked together and made fun around the fire. We drank wine and beer and talked and laughed till late. We also visited villages, went swimming and we’ve played lasergame in Caen. I know there’s a lot I’m forgetting right now, but we enjoyed ourselves. That’s what’s important!
I can’t wait till next year!