Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Europe 2000, Day 4 - American Cemetary at Normandy

Day 4 - Saturday, May 13, 2000.

The Normandy Invasion, D-Day, began 6 June, 1944. This joint effort of American, British, and Canadian troops established at great cost the point of entry for allied forces to the continent of Europe.

British forces came ashore at Gold Beach. The artificial port which was constructed here allowed 2 million men and 300,000 tons of supplies to flow into the continent. Some of the pontoons remain.

American forces came ashore at Omaha Beach. Troops coming ashore from amphibious vehicles were exposed to withering fire from German bunkers.

Low hills overlooking Omaha Beach provided German troops a commanding view of the invading forces.

Roughly 25,000 American soldiers died in the Normandy invasion, most at Omaha Beach. Of these 9,386 are buried here including 1,557 who were unidentified. The rest were returned home at the request of their families. The American Cemetary is comprised of 172 acres of American soil, given to the United States by France.

There is a solemnity about the place that requires a respectful quiet. Many of us were surprised to find that we had tears in our eyes.

The inscription carved into the stone atop the memorial garden reads: This Embattled Shore, Portal of Freedom, is Forever Hallowed by the Ideals, the Valor, and the Sacrifices of our Fellow Countrymen.

............................. 1941 - 1945
................... IN PROUD REMEMBRANCE

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Europe 2000, Day 3 - Crossing the English Channel

Day 3, May 12, 2000 - We board the hovercraft "SuperSeaCat", and cross the channel to France. With three levels of seating, it holds 700 passengers.

We make good time from Newcastle, England to Dieppe, France, just before dark.

We stop at Hotel Clarine in Rouen and eat supper. Once checked in we go on a late night walking tour. It was too dark for many pictures in this picturesque town but a few things were worth the effort.

Tradition has it that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake upon this stone.

This arch with clock is a local landmark. The underside is quite elegant.

The church of Notre Dame (Rouen) was well lit enough for some photos.

There was no way to get back far enough to get an overall shot. The church was begun in 1100 and went through several styles of architecture as it was built over the centuries. It was almost destroyed during the French revolution and the lower figures on the facade were "beheaded". We stumble to bed exhausted at 11:30.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Europe 2000, Day 3 - Winchester Cathedral

Day 3, Friday, May 12, 2000. Bus to city of Winchester. Very old, lots of nice shops. Walk through town to Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Town Hall

The Winchester Cathedral was first constructed in the 600's as a largh church in the Romanesque style. It was rebuilt in the "new" gothic style beginning in 1070. The Nave is very long and high. The choir and sanctuary are enclose by intricately carved wooden screens. The originals were dismantled during the protestant reformation then rebuilt by Queen Victoria.

Unlike many heavy stone cathedrals, Winchester has an open spacious feel to it.
This is an exceptionally beautiful church.

Altar forward of choir area for everyday services

Ornate enclosure of choir area

Elaborate decorations above back altar

Awe-inspiring back altar

While others shopped, I found a nice little tea shop for tea and a pastry.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Europe 2000, Day 2 - St. James Palace, London

Day 2 - May 11, 2000 - We see the Changing of the Guard at St James Palace, the official residence of Prince Charles.

We end up in an area of shops and pubs where many office workers congregate for a pint at the end of the day.

I am told that the red brick building is the original Harrod's.