Jour Onze - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2011

Jour Onze

What a day! Besides the things I talk about in my 'D-Day' entry I had a great day riding through the French countryside and meeting interesting people.

I was glad I was up and out early to Utah Beach. Besides having a better 'feel' as far as the 'D-Day atmosphere' it was low tide and some of the local horseman were out exercising their race horses. I enjoyed watching them going back and forth on the sand.

Riding to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont was a slog into the wind but nothing is that far away here so it didn't last too long. Along the way I met a Dutch woman and at a site honoring the Danish participants of D-Day. The woman is a pathologist and makes frequent visits to the states as a result, often to California.

One thing I learned today is that I'm glad I am NOT part of a bike tour group. At the little café at Utah Beach I had lunch and a mob of about 18 American cycle tourists came in, it was a supported group (van carried their stuff). They seemed to me self-contained and, in my opinion, self-centered on what was going on as far as the French waiters and people around them. When I said hello, one said, 'Oh, good, someone who speaks English,' as if it was some kind of a big surprise that people in France would speak some kind of other language besides English? They were kind of loud and seemed to think they were in a Denny's. They didn't even try to speak French. Even when I am completely lost with the language, I try to say 'Please, thank you, and those kinds of things in French.' I guess it's people like that that give Americans a bad name?

Later I pedaled, through the peaceful country lanes to Saint-Mere-Eglise, and it was there I met my ol'friends, from 2 days ago, Alan and Katherine from Wales. :-)

While we were talking another touring cyclist came by who was from the same area as Katherine and Alan and it was like a big reunion.

From there I pedaled south and am now in Carentan for the night at a really nice campground.

Utah Beach in the morning
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Looking back at Utah Beach from the ocean--what the soldiers would have seen
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Utah Beach again. This guy was all harnessed up.
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And these guys are racing...
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Woman from Holland
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Church window at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont...
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...notice how it matches this picture from June 1944
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Bike from 1944
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One the road to Saint-Mere-Eglise
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These two keep ending up in my pictures! Alan and Katherine from Wales.
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Touring cyclist Stephen from England
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Inside the church at Saint-Mere-Eglise
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Just another pretty little village in Normandy...ho hum...
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Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 370 km (230 miles)

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