White Birthday

25th November

Bernice was woken this morning by a birthday phone call from Antony, which was a very nice surprise.  Roy was out doing his usual early morning wandering so by the time he was back, the car park surrounding the van was starting to fill up, so it was decided to beat  a hasty retreat to save us from getting blocked in.  That done, we had our breakfast and then set Heidi to take us to the British war cemetery in Bayeux…this time we programmed her so that our setting was as a truck so we would not be taken through the VERY narrow back streets of Bayeux. 

bayeux cathedral Bayeux Cathedral

Oh how wrong we were. We were in fact taken through probably one of the narrowest streets of the city, getting stuck on one corner as a delivery van had parked right on the corner making it near impossible for us to get around. The vans driver was nowhere to be found, oh, and Alex happened to ring just at this moment, but with some skilful driving and manoeuvring by Roy and some excellent guidance by Bernice, we eventually made it around the corner.  We made our way along the one way street straddling the street and footpath. 

We arrived at the cemetery (which was on a main road, we still have no idea why Heidi took us through this narrow back route) and spent the next while wandering through the grave markers. This cemetery was very different to the American one, in that anyone could wander around at will as is usual with most cemeteries. The only people we met there were gardeners who were tending to the flower beds, each marker has different flowers planted at their base.    There are 8 New Zealanders commemorated at this site, however, we could not find their graves.  Again, it was extremely poignant and very moving.  So many many young men/boys lost their lives.

so manyEarly morning light through the markers

 poignant Very moving

The monument opposite the cemetery recording all those who have no grave

monumentNote the inscription over the top.

Soon it was time for us to get on our way to Paris.  It had also turned very cold and icy, and started to snow!!  So back into the warm van and on our way. We seemed to encounter all sorts of weather along the way including some very heavy snowfall, hail, rain and sunshine.

The following five photos were taken in this sequence over a stretch of 220 kilometres.

road 5

road 4

road 3

road 2

road 1

Our drive into Paris was uneventful (apart from the snow), and we got to the camp ground with no problems.  We are right in Paris, parked up in the camp alongside the River Seine and just short bus/train ride into the hub of the city.  As it was bitterly cold when we arrived (and snowing again), we needed to get some more gas for the heating as we did not want to run out.  However, next problem, the French it seems have different connectors for their gas bottles to the rest of Europe and  although we have converters for Italian/Spanish etc gas bottles it seemed as though we were unable to get anything in France.  So for the last hour or so of dusk, in the freezing cold, Roy managed to eventually sort out the problem and we now have plenty of gas to keep us toasty warm in our van.

We celebrated Bernice’s birthday in the van, having decided to stay in, keep warm and get an early start on Paris tomorrow. Dinner was a delicious risotto of champignons, bacon and zucchini all washed down with Pineau followed by some wonderful hand made chocolates Roy had found in Bayeux.

The next few days in Paris we will be doing all the usual touristy things, plus a few surprises no doubt as well.

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One Response to “White Birthday”

  1. D-Day | The Vannini's Manoeuvres Says:

    […] Sword, Gold and Juno Beaches, Arromanches, Bayeux, Caen, Benouville, Grenville Pegasus and the many cemeteries. I can vividly recall the eerie silence and the overwhelming emotions, and the tears, that came as […]

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