It was a nice leisurely start to our Sunday at Pointe du Hoc. No-one felt much inclined to move from our very comfortable home. Eventually we dragged ourselves to the actual Pointe du Hoc, a few minutes away.
Pointe du Hoc is the point where the US Rangers (a highly trained elite group of American soldiers) stormed on the French coastline to try to take out the German guns in WWII. Looking at the cliffs, we were in awe that anyone had managed to get up them, let alone while being heavily fired upon. The Rangers lost half of their men, but managed to find and destroy the German guns that were causing so much difficulty on the D-Day beaches of Normandy. The guns were originally thought to be at Pointe du Hoc itself, but once the Rangers attacked the position, they realised that the Germans had been forewarned and had already hidden the guns in a different area. The guns were eventually found in an apple orchard (maybe it was our orchard here?!) and destroyed. Matty enjoyed running around the sites…”go running” as he put it. There were many craters in the area as well as bunkers to investigate. The boys were sobered by the numerous bullet holes in the walls.
Next on the list was a trip to Grand-Champ Maisy, the nearest village with any shops. I don’t know if it was because we were visiting such a small village, or it is a different way of life for the French, but people seemed so relaxed and operating at a slower pace than we are used to. We observed many people standing around, just watching someone going up a ladder erecting some bunting. Many were chatting in the market, taking their dogs (and even a cat) for a stroll. It may just be a false perception, but it seemed a very relaxed and laid back lifestyle – perhaps only on a Sunday?
I so enjoy the French markets, and trying to make myself understood in them (even if the proprietor of one of the shops was a little unkind and sniggered at my impersonation of ‘beurre’ – butter). We bought some supplies, and could not resist buying a very expensive roasted chook for lunch (about $30) which was absolutely divine. The butcher laughed at Josh’s impersonation of a pig when I was checking that the sausages we were buying were made of pork instead of, say, horse. We find it hard to resist an opportunity to delight in the patisseries, and so enjoyed our selection on the pier where the fishermen’s wives were selling their produce.
This afternoon most of us enjoyed relaxing at the house. Tim took Caleb off to see the American Cemetery, while the rest of us played games and investigated the vegetable garden and orchard. I’ve never seen anything like the espaliered apple trees, almost collapsing under the weight of all the apples. Not quite like my pitiful efforts back home!