dimanche 8 janvier 2012

Mont Saint Michel Trip, Part 1

You all know the story about how I left my camera in someone's backpack at Mont Saint Michel, but luckily that happened after I got the chance to take lots of pictures!  That trip happened over several days, so there are photos of many different places.  I'll try to put them in some sort of order, but please forgive me if it's a bit confusing...

The first day of the trip was spent stopping by various sites on the way to Mont Saint Michel itself.  One of the places we stopped was a circular cinema in Normandy where we saw a video made of various segments of period footage of D-day and other WWII history of this area.  It was quite eerie, because everything was in a circle, so you got a bit of an impression of being in the battlefield.  I remember once hearing shooting behind me and having to resist the immediate instinct to duck. 

This monument was just outside the cinema. 

 I don't have a picture of the top of this monument, but I think it was just a simple obelisk.  The inscription reads,

"This monument is commemorative of the centennial of the naval combat of Arromanches on the 7th and 8th September 1811 erected on the hill where the fort stood.  
The courage of our sailors and of our soldiers decided the victory. 
Honor to their bravery!  
 8th September 1911."

From the cinema, you could take a trail leading down the hill towards the beach.  About a quarter of the way down the hill we found this tank, which of course everyone had to climb on and wave their country's flag. 

Unfortunately we didn't have time to get all the way down to the beach.  This photo was taken from the tank, which was
the closest we got to the famous beach at Normandy.  Sorry Mr. Kramer. 
 The next place we went was the American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy.  This was probably the most emotional place I've visited in France.  The sheer size of the place was hard to digest, when you thought about how each of those crosses represented a life that was never lived.  Looking at the birth and death dates, most of those men were in their late teens and early twenties.  They had their whole lives ahead of them, and those lives never happened.  That's what I really got from my visit there.  Another aspect that hit me hard was the fact that each cross had the state where that person came from written on it.  Something about that made it seem more personal.  

I didn't take any pictures here, because it didn't feel quite right- sort of disrespectful.  This photo is from Wikipedia.

And here I am with all the other Rotary students in the Paris area in front of the memorial.  This was taken by a Rotarian.
So that's the story of how we got there and all the interesting things seen on the way.  I'm going to break off here, and do Mont Saint Michel proper in another post, coming soon!