Christmas seems so long ago already and I realise how little I have written, it doesn't seem to take long for me to fall out of the habit, I must be much stricter with myself!
Christmas was spent with the family in the UK which was as lovely and as hectic as ever! The bad weather in the UK did not make for a promising journey back to France so we cheated and decided to do the smallest crossing possible, this is the Dover to Calais crossing, lots more driving but lots less sea sickness. It also means we actually get to have a mini holiday on our way home.
This trip we decide to visit Bayeaux in Normandy, now everybody has heard of the Bayeaux tapestry, but what we never realised is that this is such a small part of this beautiful town.
It really is amazing, the town centre is so pretty with its Norman style architecture and the river Aure running through the centre.
Stroll along the narrow cobbled streets lined with cafés and shops, admire the Norman style timbered houses that are set around the cathedral, stop for a while to gaze along the river and wonder how these houses do not get flooded!
Even in January we were able to sit at a pavement café to enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat, just watching the world go by.
Its at moments like these I remember exactly why we moved to France.
There is a tourist office in the centre of the town and we call in to see what else there is close by and this is when we learn that the largest Common wealth cemetery of the 2nd world war is located at the edge of the town.
We have never been too one of the war cemeteries before and drive over.
It is a strange feeling as you walk along the rows and rows of perfectly kept gravestones, are we horror tourists or ghoulish for wanting to see a grave yard? Are we glorifying some dreadful event for a means of entertainment?
But as you walk past and see the amount of graves with no names, but a simple message stating a soldier of the war, and just the age, we realise we are not glorifying anything, people need to visit and pay respect to these men and often just boys (so many were only 18 years old), these people who had no choice but to go to war and die should not be forgotten.
What was surprising was that this was a mixed cemetery, there are a total of 4,144 commonwealth burials, 338 unidentified and over 500 of other nationalities, the majority being German. (the facts above came from CWGC Common wealth War Graves Commission click on for a link to the site).
After a sobering time we paid out final respect and moved on.
We next visit Port En Bessin, this completely astounded us as we saw the remains of Mulberry Harbour, this was a giant mobile harbour that had been designed and built by the British and taken over to France to ensure that the D Day landings were a success. We had never heard of this before.
There is a fantastic museum there, unfortunately we didn't have time to visit.
But we were really glad to that we made the effort to visit Bayeaux, we never got to see the tapestry, but as the title of this post suggests, Bayeaux is so much more than just a tapestry