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Crusaderwoman logging geocacheGeocache TravelbugApproaching Arromanche les Bains in Normandy

DAY 14 - Mont St Michel to Arromanches 18/10/2007

We climbed the hundreds of steep steps again to tour the abbey and do our own treasure hunt to find a Geo Coin hidden here and bury our Kiwi travel bug. Thank goodness I went for the Kiwi and not the All Black key ring as a travel bug as after the All Blacks effort it may still be there in 4 years time with New Zealand’s rugby world cup hopes.

To add to the salt and pepper collection we bought a set from one of the many tourist outlets on the rock, which apparently weren’t here when Roger last visited. We also bought some very expensive morning tea including a NZ$9 hot chocolate and NZ$7 donut. A Dutch tourist asked Roger if we had an abbey back home in England like this and traitor boy who has changed his allegiance to a country still in the rugby world cup said yes and explained to the Dutchman where the Abbey was in England and how to get there. Roger even splashed out NZ$7 for a Union Jack to sew on his white shirt for Saturday. However he never wore it as we remembered that the Union Jack is the flag for the United Kingdom and to represent England he should have bought a St Georges Cross.

We had to sadly leave the impressive abbey on the rock and headed for another impressive piece of history, the Bayeux Tapestry. The tapestry is actually a piece of extremely long embroidery. The whole exhibition is very well organised, presented and informative. I now know the story of William the Conqueror who was really William the bastard done good.

D-Day landings, NormandyOn our way to Caen, otherwise known as the tripe capital of France we detoured pass the D-Day beaches. That was as far as we got because we remembered our rugby tour of France was actually just a cover story for our ANZAC tour of France and we had to visit the battlefields of Normandy. We went to a cinema that had a 360 degree screen and bars to hold you up when you followed the picture over your head. The movie showed contrasts of wartime shots in black and white and what those same areas of France look like in colour today. For example they showed boats landing on the beaches and soldiers running off the boat as bombs and guns went off. In the contrasting shot they showed in colour people swimming and sunbathing on the golden sand and laughing.

Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, scarred by D-Day bombardmentThe movie had such a moving affect on Roger that he felt the need to visit the very large American cemetery. However they are not so trusting out this way and we found the gate to the cemetery was locked at 5.00pm even for foot traffic. You couldn’t even sneak a peak because the cemetery was surrounded by shrubs and a perimeter fence quite a distance from the grave sites.

After driving along the D-Day beaches and discounting a number of camp sites we parked in a Council free site in Arromanches les Bains (one of the D-Day beaches) which was of course a car park near a church with ringing bells, haven’t they heard of peace time. The site is so popular with the tourists there are about 20 motor homes parked up for the night, we headed into town for tea. I had oysters for entrée, and a Salmon, mozzarella and lemon pizza for the main course. The menu was in French and lucky I knew what the English was, or should I say lucky I had interpreted it correctly or I could have had something undesirable.

A whole bus load of Kiwis arrived wearing All Black suroad approach to Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandypporters jackets, just like the church bells there is no avoiding them. Considering the prices of the group package tours to the rugby world cup there appears to be a lot of rich Kiwis or a lot of heavily mortgaged ones. We found out the next day from Tiz that Tricia’s mother's (Trish worked at National Express) bus load of Williment's group package tourists sold their tickets to the finals to a collection of Poms for 2,500 pounds per ticket. That is roughly NZ$7,500 which sounds attractive considering that would pay for our rugby tickets, airfares, insurances and some of our spending money. However back in Paris we only hear stories of people paying 700 pounds per ticket.

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road approach to Arromanches-les-Bains in NormandyApproaching Arromanches-les-Bains
Travelbug dropped in a geocache at Mont St Michel by CrusaderwomanTravelbug left by Crusaderwoman
Crusaderwoman logging her geocache find at Mont St MichelLogging the geocache find