I had been urged by Mrs. T's cousin Joe to be sure and sample Normandies most famous adult beverage - Calvados. Sure enough the program included a visit to a place where the apples were converted into the famous beverage.It was all very interesting but the highlight for me was (given my perverted sense of humor) the "tasting" that followed the tour. It seems the majority of the elderly entourage had missed the part about Calvados being a rather strong applebrandy. Given the gasps and chokes that followed our group toast with the beverage, it seems the majority of people had expected to be imbibing an fruity apple cider!
Our first city stop was Rouen which had a long and exciting history. Here the French kings had been crowned and Joan of Arc burned as a heritic by the English. Naturally, we visited the famous cathedral.
spent many hours here drawing it. His studies of light and
shadow fueled much of his later work.
We had lunch in the town center, visited a market
and walked in the garden surrounding the marker to the martyrdom of St. Joan
The original bridge was replaced in the 1990's. During our visit to France every day except one was sunny and warm. Our D Day visit, though, was dark and somber. The weather that day was actually perfect, setting the mood, as we visited the places where thousands died to liberate Europe from the Nazis.
The soldiers killed in these actions are mostly buried in the cemetery at nearby Ranville. There is a commemorative plaque that was installed by the family Gondrée, whose house near Pegasus Bridge was the first to be liberated during D-Day. It still exists and nowadays contains a café and a small museum shop that sells Pegasus Bridge related material. The lady who runs this café was a small child living in the home when it was liberated. Yes, we stopped in for some postcards.