NOTE: This blog is going back to last August as we were nearing the finish of Senior Nomads Round II. Many things have happened since then - some I have written about, but I didn't want this important part of our journey to go undocumented!
After our family gathering in Brittany last August, Michael and I had an additional week to spend with our 35 year old daughter Kelly. We had nostalgic visions of a pleasant family road trip along the coast of France to visit the World War II sites. Memory has a way of blurring the bad bits, and if we all admit it, there were really very few pleasant family road trips. Oh, there might have been moments where everyone was playing "Slug Bug" or telling fart jokes, or sleeping (not the driver of course), but road trips with our young children were taken well ahead of minivans with movies or the current device-for-every-child trend. Let's just say we went back in time 25 years and Michael snapped more than once "Listen you two" (that would be Kelly and I) "If I have to pull over you won't like the consequences!"
|The team! Kelly Chief Navigator, me Snack Mom, and Dad the Driver.|
|Finding our way on the small back roads proved challenging - but rewarding.|
My mistake was not stocking up on snacks and basics for our first night before leaving Quiberon Sunday morning. I knew better - I guess I just got flustered around three families heading in four directions and did they have snacks? A rookie mistake for this Senior Nomad. In France, especially outside of big cities, large grocery stores are only open until 1:00 if at all, and restaurants and other shops are definitely closed. We had a hard time finding lunch on the road, but finally diverted into a very small village and thankfully found a bar serving sandwiches. And an an amazing 16th century cathederal.
|Our airbnb farmhouse was warm and comfortable.|
|The lovely Kelly Anne taking a break from her navigating assignments.|
|It was a beautiful day in the popular village of Saint-Suliac.|
|Dinan showed off beautiful buildings and ancient stone walls around every corner.|
|We taught Kelly our rules around Gelato. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner!|
you'll know a majority of the book takes place there. With every twist and turn within the city I could experience that amazing narrative. After a "back to reality" pizza lunch we headed to St. Michele - the iconic monastery that sits off shore and is it's own majestic city on a rock.
|Leaving the shuttle for the civilized walk to the top of the monastery on St. Michele.|
|A peek at the sea from the ramparts around the monastery.|
|A Rye flour crepe with a perfect farm fresh egg framed in the in the middle.|
|Watching Saving Private Ryan was difficult - but a good set up for our D-Day excursions.|
|A 25 foot statue called "Unconditional Surrender" based on the famous kiss in Time Square on V-Day stands outside the World War II Memorial Museum in Caen.|
|Michael surrounded by some of the headstones overlooking Omaha Beach.|
The most fascinating story we heard detailed the allied ingenuity that built a man-made harbor in a matter of weeks on the shore at Arromanches out of derelict tankers and huge concrete slabs. This was one of the war's most strategic accomplishments in that men and materials could flow continuously onto French soil. Here's a link to a great article in Scientific American that explains it in detail: http://tinyurl/qetzmft
|Kelly and Michael outside the museum at Arromanches.|
|The German Cemetery and Memorial was a good reminder that war is in fact, Hell.|
For two days the check engine light had been glowing. On this last day it added the message, loosely translated, "get to a garage or risk implosion".
In the two and half years we have been on the move as Senior Nomads, we rarely move around behind the wheel. Our itineraries are built around staying in the center of each city and relying on public transportation to get us where we need to go. This road trip would be the only the third time we'd rented a car. We rest our case.
|We definitely didn't like the looks of this message!|
|Kelly saying goodbye to new friends in Paris.|
We put Kelly on a plane back to Seattle the next day. It suddenly seemed very quiet without a constant stream of advice from our daughter as well as way too loud bouts of laughter; some tender moments; some scratchy moments and some very, very good times. Bless you Kelly.
Thanks for following along.
Debbie and Michael
The Senior Nomads