D-Day (minus 2)

The planned schedule for the day included a visit to the Normandy Armour museum and watching the 1st round of parachute jumps to commemorate D-Day at Carentan.

Things started out slightly wobbly with Pieter being wet (running and slipping) before we managed to leave the hotel grounds, so we had to change his clothes as we entered the museum. Annabellé who followed him only suffered wet shoes. Dry pants and both in slippers we ventured into the museum.

It is small, but it does pack a punch in terms of diversity – a very worthwhile visit for the enthusiast and his/her family, Pieter loved taking photos throughout the visit.

The Family (photo be French stranger)

The Family (photo be French stranger)

Outside were a few tents selling food and militaria, so we could get new shoes for both kids (camouflaged sneakers of course).

Accross the road for a beer and to order a taxi, we hit town for a worthwhile lunch across from the station and then a 2km walk (as advised by the tourism office, due to the congestion) to the drop zone at Carentan. This is to commemorate the jump by the 101st Airborne division in the early hours of the morning before the invasion.

We got to the zone, unfortunately the jump was delayed by an hour and half and Pieter and Annabellé decided that playing in the long grass was the best remedy!

Action photo!

Action photo!

Hurray up and wait! (The memories!)

Hurray up and wait! (The memories!)

At last the planes appeared, but alas the wind was too strong and the jump was cancelled. If you think the 2 000 or 3 000 spectators were disappointed, I can only imagine the feeling of deflation of the 250 odd jumpers that were in the fleet of nine Dakotas!

The jump converted to a fly past.

The jump converted to a fly past.

The rest of the afternoon included the unveiling of 2 monuments on the way back. The first commemorating the bayonet charge by Lt Winters at Carentan (as made famous in the Band of Brothers), and the second the liberation of the town by the 101st Airborne. Watching them aware not fun for the kids :). This was followed by a parade through the town by military personnel from 5 countries and a few bands, this they enjoyed a lot more and they got to play with the flags bought earlier the day.

At the Parade

At the Parade

Then, back to the Hotel for a dinner and crashing, we were all dead, especially the adults who carried the children (by then sleeping) back nearly all the way the 2km to town!

D-Day (minus 3)

Ok, with a keen interest in military history we were not going to miss out on a visit to Normandy during the 70th celebration of the D-Day landings (the only other major event being the centenary anniversary of the start of world war 1 in August, just to show us how little humanity actually learns!!!!!!!).

The fact that the famous Mont St Michel is nearby, and looks like a fairy Castel for the kids, of course helped in the discussions, but that is a story for later in the week. The itinerary includes a visit to Carentan (where we are staying, and made famous by the mini series “Band of Brothers”), with a numerous events nearby to chose from, they will be highlighted as the unfold.

To give you a flavor of the town (which is abuzz with vehicles, people in uniform, flags etc.) a few pictures from our hotel parking lot!

 

An American Willys Jeep and Armoured Car (will confirm, Hellhound?)

An American Willys Jeep and Armoured Car (will confirm, Hellhound?)

 

Pieter and Annabellé with a German "kübelwagen".

Pieter and Annabellé with a German “kübelwagen”.

 

Viva Espanea!

From Thursday to Sunday the parents committee had arranged for a visit to Spain for the kids, all costs for the kids paid and parents accompanying had to contribute!

It was a fantastic 4 days, a few photos to follow!

A few observations:
In Spain the food does not match up to France,
The prices are a lot cheaper though,
They serve large glasses of Jaegermeister, must be a good sign – as are Menues in Spanish, English and Russian!

The babysitter!

The babysitter!

image

Sea shell house!

Sea shell house!

Friday Lunch!

Friday Lunch!

Friday evening Braai!

Friday evening Braai!

Marineland for Saturday!

Marineland for Saturday!

Good physique!

Good physique!

Kids first ever slush puppies (and dolphin show!)

Kids first ever slush puppies (and dolphin show!)

Photo of the week!

And a very full week, including the local parents’ association sports day and Mommy leaving after spending 2 months in France!

At the town's barbecue

At the town’s barbecue

Bedtime? Can't be! The sun is still shining!

Bedtime? Can’t be! The sun is still shining!

Farewell drinks with Mommy before her return to South Africa

Farewell drinks with Mommy before her return to South Africa

 

Mmmmmmmmm skaap tjops!!!!!

Mmmmmmmmm skaap tjops!!!!!

 

Pizza dough getting ready...

Pizza dough getting ready…

Mmmmm chocolate brownies!

Mmmmm chocolate brownies!

Eating my crisps around the corner - so I don't need to share this packet too!

Eating my crisps around the corner – so I don’t need to share this packet too!

Staying fit!

 

Our route for the day

Our route for the day

I was invited to join the Monday walking group. A friendly group of lovely people, enjoying life and fresh air. The walk started at about 10:00 and we were back in town by 16:00.

A few fellow walkers

A few fellow walkers

The scenery was lovely. Small field flowers – pink, yellow and white in abundance. Butterflies and bees and blue, blue open skies.

Lovely view, all the way to the sea!

Lovely view, all the way to the sea!

We stopped for picnic at noon and to rest the tired legs. Wine, bread, fruit and some chocolate were shared.

Lovely

Lovely

The distance of our walk.

The distance of our walk.

Short rest

Short rest

 

Admiring the view

Admiring the view

More fellow walkers

More fellow walkers

The Roman road

The Roman road