Last week (the first full week of May) I went on a little vacation to Normandy, France with my parents and one of my best friends, Yvonne. When I was still in high school we used to go there, to a tiny village called Anneville (nice, eh?), pretty much every year, but I hadn’t been back there since the year before my graduation because of university obligations and all that jazz. This time, I did have time to go (more or less — I took my laptop with me), and it was so good to be back!
The cottage we were staying was within walking distance (crawling distance, even) of the beach, which was amazing. The beach always helps to clear my head and cheer me up, so it was extremely nice to spend an afternoon sitting in the sand, in the sun, reading Eleanor & Park, and even getting slightly burnt.
That was our first full day over there, and also the best day, weather-wise, we had. It was pretty windy after that, and we had a bit of rain as well, but that didn’t really matter to me. It was just good to be at the sea-side, even if we stayed inside. We did spend a bit of time at the beach every day we were there, though.
On the fifth of May, which is Liberation Day in the Netherlands (World War II), we went to visit Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery and Memorial. I’d seen both of these places before, but it was still very overwhelming and impressive.
Pointe du Hoc is the place where US Ranger scaled the cliffs (pictured above) and seized German artillery in order to make the landings on Omaha and Utah beaches easier.
It is so strange to walk around this place, where you can still see parts of German bunkers, and where you have to walk around huge craters which were made by the allied forces. There is so much history in this place, and it made me feel tiny and in awe. The thought that roughly seventy years ago those horrible but also courageous things happened here is just surreal.
The American Cemetery has this surreal feel to it as well. All you can see is thousands upon thousands of white crosses, each inscribed with the name of the person lying underneath it. It’s just bizarre.
We also spent an afternoon in Coutances, which has a beautiful cathedral (as seen below).
It also has amazing icecream! When we asked for two scoops, we didn’t expect such big scoops (they’re a bit more stingy with scoops in the Netherlands), which was a nice surprise! I had a raspberry and mango icecream and it was delicious.
I also practiced my high school French when I went back into the patisserie to buy a few real French macarons. I’d realised I’d never actually tasted a real macaron (no wonder mine didn’t turn out as planned), so I figured I definitely needed to change that!
I bought six macarons: two lemon ones, two praline ones, one passion fruit and one raspberry. I took a bite out of all them, and they were pretty perfect (as far as I could tell)! Crunchy on the outside, and chewy in the middle, and they all tasted very nice as well. Although I do think macarons are a bit too sweet for my taste (I already figured that out when I made them myself).
On our last day we visited a castle from the 12th century, Château Fort de Pirou, which was only a short drive from our cottage. It was really cool to walk around this place — again, so much history!
And then it was already time to leave again, sadly! A week like this always goes by extremely fast, doesn’t it? But get this — at the time you’re reading this I’m already in London! Yes, yes, I’m quite the globetrotter (not really, though, it’s a coincidence that these trips are this close together). I’m going to see Eric Clapton in concert on Friday, in the Royal Albert Hall, and I’m SO EXCITED. I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time!
Anyway, enough about me — have you ever been to Normandy or any other place in France? Did you enjoy it, and where did you go?