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In the summer of 2004 we got the opportunity to join a group travelling to Normandie in France. Heading the group was my fellow Rotary members Börje Emilsson and Bernt Lindén. Bernt is a former naval officer, with a great knowledge on World War II.

Map with Normandie
The red arrow points to Normandie, France

Big guns still firing?
We went by bus all the way down to the city Caen. In the evening, when we had settled at the hotel, a magnificent thunder storm hit the coast. We almost got the impression that the big naval guns were still firing at the shore!

The first day in Normandie we came to see Pegasus Bridge in Quistreham. This was an important bridgehead during the invasion, or Operation Overlord as it was called. Close to the bridge there was, and still is, a café. By the time of the invasion, they served coffe to the Allied troops. Today they serve coffe to the tourists instead... We got an early calvados to start the morning with.

 


Monument in Quistreham by the Pegasus Bridge.


The whole area around Normandie is full of wartime cemetaries..


In S:t Mere Eglise, a paratrooper got cought up in the bell tower. He survived, and is now honoured by a dummy hanging from the tower.


Not everyone was happy because of the Allied invasion. The French communists tried to scare their compatriots!

 


This is one of the beaches where the Allied troops begun the liberation of Europe.

Memorial by the Pegasus Bridge.


Craters still visible

During the week we came to see a number of interesting places around Normandie. On some places there are still craters visible from the bombardment. There are also remains of the Nazi bunkers in Festung Europa. We also visited some of the wartime cemetaries, where thousands of young Allied soldiers came to rest.

Local Calvados
We also visited some local farms, including some cheese production. At one place, we got to learn more about how Calvados is made. Looked quite simple, but evidently the whole thing was approved by the local authorities.
That would never happen in Sweden!


Calvados destillery in Normandie.

A Nazi gun, silenced since long.
   
Bayeux tapestry

The final days we went to see the Monet garden and also the Bayeux tapestry. The tapestry is 230 ft long (75 m) and describes the battle at Hastings in year 1066. The story surrounding the tapestry is quite amazing, and we recommend that you read about it on the Internet or in a book before going to Normandie.


The Bayeux tapestry is almost 1.000 years old by now!


Beautiful details on the tapestry, annotated in Latin.

Given the heritage with Northmen, or Vikings, Normandie has quite some connections to Sweden. There are villages with Swedish names, more than 1.000 years old. The village Yvetot was once founded by Swedish emigrants from Ivetofta, just outside Bromölla!

Latest update
2008-02-10

 


Inside the Monet museum. On this sofa, the great painter could relax.


There are memorials from the invasion all along the coast.


Calvados in barrels.


Monet garden, it's easy to see where the great painter got inspiration.


Remains from the ports built by the Allieds, which got destroyed in a storm.


Cheese production is important in Normandie region.