We went to Normandy after the Loire Valley and that is exactly what happened to me! Normandy itself was gorgeous, and I would love to go back one day to see more. I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would, probably because I felt so sick!
We started off by heading straight to Omaha Beach, accompanied by many history lessons from Stu about D-Day, and seeing where Saving Private Ryan happened.
(By the way, this is part 23 in my series on my recent trip to Europe. You can catch up on the previous posts in this series here)
After seeing the beach (which was super windy!) we headed to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial which was a really interesting experience. After seeing the Commonwealth battlefield cemeteries it was interesting to see the different way Americans do it.
The cemetery is huge and feels a lot more impersonal than the other cemeteries we had been to. It reminded us of Arlington, the American military cemetery just outside Washington D.C. Very patriotic and very different to what we were used to. They had the American national anthem playing every 30 minutes or so which we found a bit odd but I guess it’s an American thing?
In Normandy we stayed in a farmhouse in a little village called Cormolain with a lovely woman and her gorgeous golden retriever and cute cat. Stu fell a little bit in love with the dog, she was pretty adorable! It was a lovely place to stay and the lady we stayed with was so nice. She recommended an amazing restaurant for us the first night we were there.
It was called La Grignotiere in a tiny little village called Saint Pierre de Semilly and it was amazing! It might not look like much but the food and wine were so delicious and there was actually a table of food critics that arrived as we were having our meal so it must be a good restaurant!
Our second night there we drove over to Bayeux to check it out and have some dinner and the most hilarious thing happened. We were walking down the main street (which was super adorable), Stu was wearing his Australian rugby jersey and this was the day that Australia had lost to the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup. We walked past a restaurant when a man sitting next to the window called out to us and came rushing out of the restaurant to ask if we were Australian before saying he was sorry we had lost. He was Dutch!
We ended up having a little chat with this guy and he then recommended the restaurant where he was having dinner (with his wife). We ended up going in and the only table available was right next to theirs so we had a lovely conversation with this Dutch couple over dinner about all kinds of things. It was the most random thing ever but so much fun and such a good story.
The worst part of our trip to Normandy was getting sick. Like, really sick. I had a throat and chest infection, couldn’t stop coughing, had a red raw throat and quickly lost my voice. I was also the one Stu relied on to speak French as he doesn’t know any (mine isn’t great, just the basics).
It got so bad I decided that I needed to find a pharmacist to get some medicine. We drove through a couple of small towns in the area before we found one. We walked in and I rasped hopefully ‘Parlez-vous Anglais?‘ (Do you speak English?) and was met with three women, none of whom spoke a single word of English. About 15 minutes later and trying to mime what was wrong I walked out with some throat lozenges and some cough medicine.
Unfortunately it only got worse and by the time we left Normandy and headed back to England I had a hacking cough and no voice! Worst part of getting sick on a holiday is that you can’t just lay in your own bed and rest to get better. You still have to travel, still have to pack and move on. Stu looked after me really well, luckily, and we managed to make it through. I can’t say I would ever want to be sick on holiday (or on a 24 hour flight!) again though.
Next up is Mont St Michel, which we visited while we were in Normandy but it was so beautiful it deserved its own post!
Have you ever been sick on a holiday?
I’ve broken my Europe trip up into easy to manage pieces, otherwise I’ll be drowning you in hundreds of images at once! So you know what’s coming, I’ve prepared a list of the 24 parts of this series:
Part 1: London
Part 2: Cambridge
Part 3: Paris
Part 4: Amiens
Part 5: Battlefields
Part 6: Ieper (Ypres)
Part 7: Amsterdam
Part 8: Berlin
Part 9: Prague
Part 10: Cesky Krumlov
Part 11: Vienna
Part 12: Salzburg
Part 13: Venice
Part 14: Pesaro
Part 15: Amalfi Coast
Part 16: Pompeii
Part 17: Rome
Part 18: Florence
Part 19: Tuscany
Part 20: La Spezia
Part 21: Lyon
Part 22: Loire Valley
Part 23: Normandy
Part 24: Mont St Michel
Let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about any of these places and I’ll try to include it in my post!