Figuring out the reverse gear of a Renault 1990's Clio and adhering to the road signs of France was no easy task. Though the adjustment was fortunately quick and it was smooth sailing from there on in as we headed west from town to town, along the beautiful coast of Normandy. Our first stop was the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer. The museum and the beach itself were definitely top highlights during our travels. Spending about five hours in the immediate area, we took a tour of the underground German bunkers, read everything in the elaborately informative museum, walked on the beach, and admired our surroundings; all the while remembering and trying to grasp what had happened there 70 years ago. It was a humbling experience, but also made us extremely proud to be Canadian. Standing on the ground where our countrymen majorly influenced a crucial step toward ending the war was very special.
From the beach we drove to the Canadian War Cemetery about 7km away. A massive Canadian flag mural made up the centre of the parking lot. What awaited us in the cemetery was a beautifully kept resting place for hundreds of Canadian war heroes. I cannot describe how picturesque this place was (my pictures below may not convey this either). To see fallen young men our age was emotionally heavy, reminding us of how blessed we are today.
(If you watched the Normandy episode from this past season of Amazing Race Canada, where they went to Juno Beach and the Canadian War Cemetery, you'll see exactly where we stood and what we saw!)
After two nights in Normandy, we made our way inland to Paris. What a change of scenery: The big bustling city life. I'd much rather live in one of the small coastal towns of Normandy. I've been to Paris before, but I still wanted to show my brother the essential touristy spots of (and obviously being) Le Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Overwhelmed by hours of countless artifacts and masterful paintings, we couldn't drag our legs any further. We tiredly ventured over to the Eiffel Tower... A word of advice, do not eat near or around the admirable landmark. Our dinners were reasonably priced, but what we weren't prepared for was the price of our Cokes. We forked over the additional €16 for two Cokes and walked a block over to the tower. The tower itself was epic. We looked out across the city landscape from the summit, witnessing the whole city brightly lit, acting as a massive vice pressed against the Seine river.
The following morning we boarded an early train to get to the Bodensee region of Germany via Zurich. It was time for us to make our way back to Bodenseehof Bible School in Fischbach, where our journey came full circle to a halt. I joined the welcome team staff and was happy to help out with meal set-up, serving, dishes and various daily activities around town, which showed the new students the surrounding area. It was great to see old familiar faces from my time there and meet new ones as well. It was a great five day stay, and I'll have to visit again before my time in Europe is through.
Here are a bunch of pictures from our previous two weeks of travel:
|Juno Beach Centre|
|Safety glasses and free Stubhub glasses|
|Dug up bunker|
|A French memorial|
|Canada House--Most likely the first liberated building on the beach|
|Canadian War Cemetery parking|
|Centre Cross Monument|
|Row upon row|
|Love Lock Bridge in Paris|
|Willie can't look down|
|Back to the Alps and the Bodensee|
Ciao for now!