Being in Belgium, I knew I couldn’t leave without a quick stop to Dunkirk!
I figured, This was the point that WW2 seemed to be at its worst. The French were over run, the Belgium were lost, the British were defeated and the
Nazi's seemed unstoppable on their way to Paris.
Dunkirk, was where WW2 became a fight for survival.
Now, I love Winston Churchill, he's the last great man of our age I believe. I love his speeches I can listen to them for hours.. It felt fitting,
sitting on the beaches of Dunkirk, listening to his great speech over and over and over..
I found myself a nice piece of land in the scrub over looking the beach
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender!
Sadly, I didn’t get much time in Dunkirk but I was able to walk up and down the beach for about 2hrs...There was little there to remind you of those
fateful days, only what I’d read and seen in the history books!
Next stop NORMANDY!
I was fortunate enough to have booked out 4 nights in a hotel on Gold Beach, Arromanches!
The view from my room was spectacular, Mulberry, Mulberries everywhere!
For those not aware, Mulberries were the artificial harbor the British made - the knew taking Cherbourg or any of the channel ports would be a big
fight, instead - they made a harbor and towed it across the channel and built it like a lego set behind in the invasion. There was some question as to
the actual advantage of this as the Americans at Omaha without an artificial harbor managed to offload more supplies, still it was a major engineering
If anyone ever visits this part of the world I strongly suggest you visit the 360o Cinema in Arromanches. It’s by far the best museum/movie piece
I've ever seen!
If your lucky enough, you can even get yourself a nice seat on the Sherman tank over looking Normandy.
I left Arromanches and took off for the hills.. I wanted to see the cliffs, the beaches I wanted to see Normandy.
Not content with using the roads, I found a track worn into the country side, to me this was Normandy!
I walked for hours
every now and then I would come across some rusted metal, some barbwire..
I found a small path leading down the cliff onto the waters edge into a small cove. I was probably 3-4kms into my trek.
I climbed down and found myself at the sea wall
In thongs, shorts and my headphones in.. I took on the challenge.. I didn't climb back to the top of the cliff.. I followed the sea wall... all be it
a bit dangerously..
I couldn't believe it, this was Normandy.. men and materials landed here... there's probably relics just under the dirt and the rocks..
I started finding things..
pieces of boat
there was crap everywhere..
Unfortunately for me, the tide was coming in and I was stranded.. I had to bail on my sea wall trek and make it to high ground.
No more messing about, I wasn't here for Gold Beach or rock climbing.. I was here for Omaha.
10yrs of traveling.. 15yrs of interest.. I finally got to Omaha BEACH!
It was busy, busier than I expected and busier than I hoped. I had these thoughts id be on my own out here and i could just walk in the water
I was amazed, people used this beach like any other.. take their kids for lessons, throw the ball for the dog..
If I had this beach at my door step, I’d feel uneasy here..
I suppose its a bit hypocritical to say, but I did take of my shirt and go for a swim... I swam out far, dived down and grabbed a fist full of sand..
then watched it dissolve in my fingers..
I stared back at the beach... bobbing up and down in the waters on Omaha beach thinking.. is this what the soldiers saw when they abandoned their
Higgins boats.. I swam for the shore as fast as I could until my feet could reach the sand.. then I ran as fast as I could through the water, onto the
beach and up onto the dirt..
I started at the hills above and the scenery..
'' how can such a peaceful beach have been the landing point for D-day..''
but now.. id seen the view of the allies, I wanted the view of the Germans.
It seemed difficult to get to the top of the hills where the machine gun nests would have been.. I had to walk all the way to the beach side town then
track my way through some open land and back to the beach.
I had to jump some fences and run through some scary looking bushes.. but I found myself plump where the Nazi's were.
Staring down at the beach.
I had the same vantage point they did..
I walked for a few more hours back to Arromanches at the top of the hills/cliffs.. I found along the war some barbwire, cartridges and a pill box that
had seemingly been forgotten.
And of course... craters!
Point du hoc was a major target for allied ships and you can see the effort they put into destroying these guns
On my last day, I headed west, to St Mere Eglise.
I'd been here before and I was a big fan of Band of Brothers.
I felt this was a great place to end my 10day journey
at the break of dawn in St Mere Eglise.. sadly, there were no paratroopers falling from the sky..
But it didn't matter!
Now I'm home, I feel some what.. lost.
I've been to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Auschwitz, Berchtesgaden, Normandy, Ypres and now the Somme.
Where too next...
If your still here!
thanks for reading.. I hope you found something you liked!
edit on pm100318112014-10-11T13:00:45-05:00012014p by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)