Memories of Two World Wars

I write this blog with a view of Utah Beach, one of the landing beaches of the Allies in World War II. Shrieking seagulls, the waves of the sea, a sky with heavy clouds of rain, but now clear blue with a watery evening sun.

In the second and third week of our trip we decide, because we have other plans later in the month, to explore the west side of Belgium and France. This is how we arrive in Ypres where the Great War (the First World War) was decided in the trenches of West Flanders.

We see the “In Flanders Fields Museum” in Ypres, an overview of the war and experience the Last Post under the Menin Gate, very impressive.

The Last Post, Menin Gate Ieper

The next day we do a route past war monuments and cemeteries in the neighborhood, so many young people have died in that terrible battle, a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes …

The sky is crying too, the weather is like on the images of WW1, rainy, puddles on the land and greasy slippery clay on the roads and paths. It must have been terrible to have to fight here during winter …

Many young German victims are also commemorated

We make a stopover near Calais, where we see the refugees of today, tents among the bushes and people strolling on the side of the road, looking for a new life, for an opportunity to reach England.

England from Cap Griz Nez

Later we visit Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez, from where we can see England, we drive on to Normandy. Tanja has warned us about the Pont de Normandie (she is afraid of heights),

Le Pont de Normandie

but because we avoid toll roads and highways we cross the Seine with a (free) ferry at Quilleboeuf sur Seine.

Ferry across the Seine at Quilleboeuf

There we can camp on the Seine on a public camping place for campers.

Camper site at Quilleboeuf

To visit the Normandy WW2 beaches, we downloaded a route that starts south of Le Havre. Via OsmAnd we can include all the important places on the Normandy coast. On Friday, October 18, we start in Honfleur and ride until just before Arromanches-les-Bains (Juno-Beach). On October 19, the 26th birthday of our youngest son Rindert, we visit Gold Beach, Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.

Monument in Arromanches

The 360⁰ film show in Arromanches and the American cemetery in Colleville-sur Mer (Omaha-beach) are very moving, always reminiscent of those boys, as old as or younger than our own children, died here for the liberation of Europe, Goosebumps.

The American cemetery at Omaha Beach

We spend the night on a dune on the beach of Utah-beach, we toast to peace.

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