Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Europe day 10: Normandy to Paris

Our first stop today was the Pegasus bridge cafe. It was the first house liberated in France. A British air division took the bridge and set up command and a field hospital there. The proprieter Arlette Gondrée was 4 years old when the British liberated her. It is an unbelievable site with such a story! I was a bit awed by madame Gondrée though. We had an amazing breakfast too. Two cafe au lait, a delicious cinnamon roll fresh from the oven, and Brandon asked for a ham & cheese omelette. Mme Gondrée told him they could do that for him. :)

Then on our way back to the car, pondering deep things, I felt something hit the side of my head. I panicked and asked Brandon to see what it was. "Oh my gosh!!" "what? What is it?! Get it out!" "a bird pooped in your hair." yep. Gross. I walked to a nearby parking lot with my body hunched over to one said calling for shampoo. Brandon sweetly washed my hair right there. It was pretty hilarious. This has happened to me three times in my life, but never in the US.

We had another beautiful drive through Normandy. The countryside is incredible. We talked about how fun it would be to stay there for a week camping or staying at b&bs.

Our final d-day stop was the American cemetery. It was very sobering. The lawn kept stretching on. So many young men and women. It was such a beautiful and peaceful resting place. On June 6, 2044 a time capsule will be opened there. How incredible will that be? How will d-day or the second world war be remembered a century later?

We returned our car then took a train to Paris.

It took some negotiating with the metro to get to our hotel but we made it! Our final stop.

I took Brandon to the marais, the area where my family and I had enjoyed a month in an apartment. Everywhere I looked I noticed changes. "that used to be..." "what happened to..." The area was crowded and brusque--Not what I remembered. Even our favorite gelato place around the corner was different. The staff was curt and the gelato didn't have the same presentation. It reminded me of a lesson that has been recurring during this trip--that you can never recreate or recapture something that is past. If you work hard to recapture something and hope for it to be the same, you'll surely be disappointed and you might miss something new and special. Even if Paris had never changed, I have changed. I'm not a single 20 year old anymore. I'm here with my husband, introducing him to an old friend. I hope to uncover something new here. We'll see.


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