Our driving experience to Normandy confirmed that my navigating skills are not the best. We really, really miss Google Maps and have had to resort to those folding maps with teeny tiny numbers! After Eric passed the driving test to get out of the extremely tight parking garage while driving a standard car for the first time in several years, we were on our way out of Paris through the Arc de Triomphe. This would be our first pass through the Arc as we got hopelessly lost and found ourselves right back in Paris after an hour of driving. Somehow we made it to Giverny to tour Monet's house and lily pond. It started to rain but this did not deter the many people who wanted to see where Monet was inspired to paint such beautiful masterpieces.
The rain continued but we finally reached our second destination of Honfleur which will be our base to go see the Normandy beaches. The town is 1000 years old and is truly charming. Our hotel faced the harbor so there was no parking in front, in fact the reception office was on another street. I thought I was home free when I found the reception office but then the receptionist who did not speak English motioned to me and gave me a map that I would need to walk 200 meters to the parking garage three streets up hill and come back for her to take us to our room. Pulling our suitcases on 1000 year cobblestone streets in the cold rain was a challenge. The next day the sun came out and we set out to Arromanches, France, one of the sites of the Normandy landing, and the American Cemetery.
I had no idea the engineering feat that was involved in the Normandy landing and came away awed at not only the sacrifice of so many young soldiers, but the planning and execution that went into creating a floating port to bring in the soldiers and supplies that would be needed to liberate France and lead to bringing an end to WWII. The American Cemetery was absolutely beautiful and the Memorial was not only informative, but a touching tribute to our American brave soldiers who died so very young for people they would never meet. It made me proud to be an American.