Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tour de France... without the bike.

The other day loud, long honks of annoyance could be heard across the french countryside as my mother and I made our way towards the coast in our tiny rent-a-car. The “Happy EUROCAR driver” sticker on the rear window of the car seemed to enrage the already edgy/erratic french drivers. I was behind the wheel and learned to adapt rather quickly to the road conditions; drive like a bat out of hell or get off the road.

Having embraced my new driving philosophy, much to the displeasure of my mom, we arrived to Mont Saint-Michel in what has to be a record for foreign drivers. Over the tall corn fields, the first sight of Mont Saint-Michel could be seen standing alone atop a rocky spot two miles off the coast. A spectacular feat of engineering and enduring piece of history, the ancient abbey sits as a crown in the middle of the sea.

It was then on to the beaches of Normandy. The morning began with typical October weather. Omaha beach was clouded in a dreary mist as my shoes made prints in the sand. Looking out across the vast open space that served as the landing for D-day is a surreal experience. Perched above on the bluff are rusted out remnants of German bunkers. The sun had found its way through the clouds as we entered the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. There is no picture that can capture the feeling of walking among the field of marble crosses. Long rows of white laid out across green grass over looking Omaha beach evokes a feeling of reverence I never thought possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brad--I'm trying to get on the friends list, and hopefully I've been successful, but I think I sent a comment to your email address instead of your blog. Anyhoo, Bruce told me a story about when he first got to France, and he saw the drivers in Marseilles--yep,"a bunch of drivers, including the occasional little old lady, racing around the coastal strip along the cliffs, their tires screeching as they hit the corners, and I assumed that I had stumbled upon a 24-hour at Le Mans-style road rally. I looked at the morning paper to see who had won, and only then understood that this was totally normal." Yep!

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