Normandy: Mont St Michel, American Cemetery, Caan

And Day 2 started with the ever magical Mont Saint Michel!  The weather was BEAUTIFUL, blue sky dotted with clouds, sunny and breeezyyyy.

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I do think I prefer the night view though!

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Imagine, 1000 years ago, someone said, let’s go build on that island that can be only reached in low tide.
How on earth did they drag all that stone and machinery and tools and all the materials
all the way to the island only in limited time slots, and still drag it up there!

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and then you felt like you stepped into Disney world… or Harry Potter…

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very very narrow streets leading up.
we were told this was peak tourist season, but I found less tourists than I expected.
lucky for us, not even as crowded on a weekday morning in Mong Kok Smile

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this sure reminded me of Laputa!

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how magical is this place… archways and all….
what a feat to built this, to remember the architecture, twists and turns, calculate the mathematics, design!!!
I can’t help but think of the book Pillars of the Earth. 

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looking up at the gargoyles!

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the land around it is mostly dried up.  but twice a month, it still gets covered completely by water.
the government is now channeling the water from inland to the canal, which will bring it to here,
and then it would be surrounded by water always…. I think.
and then you would only be able to reach it by one bridge.

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the cloisters.

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there is a glass there but I guess back in the days, it was just open….
what a view from the cloister eh?

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what the monks see when they look out!
all these gorgeous gorgeous view from the abbey!
Normandy of the left and Brittany on the right…
Mont Saint Michel is right in between the two provinces..

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those big areas where people are standing is under a huge chimney
and its where the cooking was done. 

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this little strip on the left…LAPUTAAAA

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I wish we got more pics from afar in the day… it was sooo pretty…

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at the American Cemetery

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Being here was humbling and moving.
Over 9000 bodies buried in one place from world war II.
and this is only the American cemetry, there were still British, French… saddening.

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We saw quite a few crosses that did not even have names.
“Here rests in honored glory
A comrade in arms
Known but to God”

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for the 70th Anniversary, a non-profit organization organized for the veterans to fly in for the celebrations.
the veteran on the right  had some kind of sickness that was misunderstood as tuberculosis
so the American army rejected his registration.
So he went and registered himself in the Canadian army to fight in the war.

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This is Phil Nicastro.  We started chatting with him and his family.
Every veteran had their old photo in army uniform and name on a card around their neck.
Phil, instead, had a picture of him and his wife on their wedding day.
How sweet is that?  They are married over 60 years.

He was 17 (!!!) when he was called to the army.  He also served a dual role as a cook.
He was among the FIRST WAVE on the Normandy landings.
That means the very first ship/batch to arrive.
To clear the way for more troops.

the chances of surviving in the first wave was very very slim.
His 2 daughters were with them.
They shared with us that he actually NEVER talked about the war until 2 years ago.
And the war is why he hates firecrackers
2 yrears ago, his son in law was reading a book about the war and then, suddenly, he started talking…

One simply cannot imagine what a 17 year old must have gone through in that situation.
And that too, among the very first troop to land.

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His daughters were crying the entire time they chatted with us.  It was a very moving and humbling experience.
And a complete honour to meet this WWII veteran.

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On our drive to our next hotel, I said to Tom, look, the contrast between the rainy clouds and the bright sky!
Then Tom replied: Look THERE!!!!!!!

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This HUGE cloud had formed in a spiraling manner!

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It was really quite a sight!  Like a tornado almost…!
This was taken from our car just outside our budget hotel.
Then we checked in, and on the OTHER side of the hotel, was the view BELOW:

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this was the sky right opposite that tornadoish sky… at the SAME MOMENT. 

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We went into town…everything was closed…so we went into the first busy restaurant we saw.
And splurged on a 3-course meal at almost 30 euros each (which is v cheap for Belgian standards)!
Tom enjoying his OYSTERS!

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my starter was YUMMY: risotto with langoustine and a lobster bisque sauce…yummm

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main courses were less good. 

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hot apple cake with ice cream – DELICIOUS.  Apple was cooked so evenly to just the right degree.
and a “Normandy” Sunday with coffee, coffee icecream, vanilla ice cream, caramel…yumm
And of course. whipped cream.

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the sight driving around the town after dinner in Caan.

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this beautiful abbey was built by the famous William the Conqueror.
And his wife built a similar abbey for the nuns on the opposite end of the same town.
wish we had time to visit the inside. 

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One comment

  1. Pingback: A Dream Experience | Lily & Tom

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