D-Day, Rouen and Champagne
Well, it is Monday and I am doing last weeks Weekly Update today. Any guesses why? Lets just jump right in! This one is full of information, but the best part was our D-Day experience.
APPLE IN PARIS!
Oh Apple. We have not had a very good relationship in France. More than once now I have taken my computer in for a repair and they have not fixed it properly. In Marseille and now in Paris. And they gave me the runaround with my Applecare. I held tight and they finally fixed it at their cost. However, when they replaced my keyboard they messed up something with the mouse. I never got the whole story. So, we had to take a detour back to Apple in Paris for a same day appointment. The kids and I made an adventure out of it, got inline early, ate Five Guys and pretended we were doing an all nighter to get the latest phone. The earliest available appointment they had was in a week and I could not go that long so we had to wait for a cancellation. There is a happy ending though. They fixed it on the spot and sent me away happy in less than two hours. So, now you know why this post is late. I was without a computer for three days, yikes. We do have a back-up, but it was over the weekend and I had planned on taking Friday off so I did not worry too much.
We just spent a week in a full-service campground in the Normandy region just across the street from D-Day happenings. Our choice to stay in a campground was because of our situation. My parents were visiting and we wanted to have a place for them to stay (cabins), while we had a place for our RV. In addition, we wanted someplace for the kids and my parents to be able to adventure while we were working. We stayed at Cormoran and everyone loved it. It is pretty isolated so if you don’t have a car it might be challenging. However, I did learn that they rent them at the front desk and some tour operators will pick you up as well. For us it was perfect, it had pools, games, a store, activities, fresh baguettes (very important), horseback riding (see below), mini golf, bounce houses and much more.
Now, would we do it again? Not unless we had guests in town. It was perfect for guests and our RV, however it is not really our cup of tea. We did love that the kids were able to play with other kids, but it also felt like a bit of a bubble. It could have been our location or just how these things are, but for us it felt a little closed off. I think most people go there to relax and let the kids run free and for that I see value, but for us we are very different travelers and not on vacation so we have different needs.
Wow! Wow again! What an experience we had learning about D-Day. I could talk about this for pages and pages, but I will touch on the highlights for the sake of this post.
- We took a full-day (9 hour) tour of the American sector of D-Day. It was phenomenal. So amazing that we all agreed it was the best tour we have taken in our three years of full-time travel. The company we used was Bayeux Shuttle and our guide was Tom. We highly recommend him.
- The Normandy D-Day region was cold and rainy. They said it is normally warmer, but it does rain a lot so be prepared.
- Will and I were saddened by the lack of desire to preserve and protect the historical sites. Tourists were allowed to walk on/walk in everything and touch it. If this continues it will eventually deteriorate.
- Utah beach was less touristy than Omaha.
- There are monuments and plaques all over the region, plus quite a few museums. We only visited one museum in Sainte-Mère-Eglise, but it was a fabulous airborne museum.
- The American cemetery was beautiful, somber and enlightening. So many men and some women fought hard for freedom. Over 9,000 individuals are buried in the cemetery. 60% of the families offered plots here declined because they wanted the bodies brought back home. You either got a cross or a Star of David, there was no other option. We spent a lot of time here just walking, looking and learning.
- We explored for a half day on our own and then did the full day, guided tour. If I had it to do over I would have spent more time and done at least four full days of tours, museums and exploring. There is that much to do there in regards to history.
- Our guide Tom still finds remnants from the war just by walking the sights.
- Try the local food. It was a bit heavy for our taste, but fun nonetheless. I was not a fan of the omelets, but the cider is fabulous.
The kids and I rented horses from the stable next to our campsite. We left at 8:30 pm to enjoy a sunset stroll on the beaches of Normandy. It was lovely, breathtaking and magical, until it was not. I had a wild horse (yet again) and when I said “hi” to Will on his bike it spooked the horse and he took off on a full on gallop for what seemed like five minutes. According to Will it was 10 seconds. I think we should split the difference. Anyway, I was scared to death. I have an unnatural fear of horses, but I still get back in that saddle. When I got back to the stable I said, “never again,” but of course I am saying maybe now. I have ridden horses in every country we have lived in and sometimes twice. I fight that fear every, single, time. I will do it again one day. What fears are you fighting?
We had yet another amazing experience through France Passion. FP is an organization which you can join for 29 euros a year. This membership gives you access to the agricultural farmers in France. The idea is that they allow RVs to stay on their location for free. There are no hook-ups or dumping, but you get an amazing environment to sleep in. We have taken tours, made new friends, drank, eaten and had an overall amazing experience. We will be sharing our FP journeys often on the blog and all of our social media.
The champagne vineyard we found through France Passion welcomed us with open arms. They were kind, generous and a wealth of knowledge. Our kids played with their grandchildren, we drank champagne and exchanged travel stories. And we left with several bottles of amazing, local champagne, now we just need someone to share them with us!
We only had a couple of hours in the city of Rouen, but we made the most of it. We visited the cathedral where Monet painted his seasonal masterpieces that now hang in d’Orsay museum in Paris. And we paid tribute to the spot Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We did not have time to take a tour, but be sure to visit the tourism office if you go to Rouen. They have free, self guided tours which looked amazing.
DO YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS REJECTING YOUR CROSS CULTURE KIDS?
“Unfiltered, your laughter or side comments or untactful gifts reminding them of what they should be according to so-called normal standards all build that wall of rejection towards them.” I love this quote from the article. We have seen many families who deal with extended family trying to force the home country culture on the kids. I am sure they mean well, but this lack of understanding about what it is like to be a cross culture kid only hurts the kid. Plus, it pressures them to adhere to another version of normal that is not theirs.
ARE YOU THINKING OF TAKING YOUR KIDS OUT OF THE US?
I think this is a very interesting read. I agree with some points and disagree with others. Your thoughts?
CHILDISM, IS IT REAL?
I love this post. We aspire to practice all of these, some days we are better than others. But, our goal is to treat AvaLar as we would treat a friend, an equal, a team member.
First RV Trip – Getting our feet wet
Architecture, D-Day, lego D-Day bunker creation, champagne grapes, champagne, American cemetery, family, cute towns, Monet, Cathedrals, Joan of Arc, drone, fan club, history, worldschooling, amazing tours, change, bunkers, community, new friends, dance, Utah, Omaha and much more. There were so many photos it was hard to choose for this post.