Through Europe, backwards

17 Jul

Here’s a wee taste of our trip since leaving the Fritzen family reunion. I added the photos using the WordPress app on my iPhone and they ended up all out of order, but whatev. It’s either lazy posting or no posting at all.

Here’s a shot from lunchtime today. We were on the beach in Normandy, enjoying the perfect beach weather. We had just finished a visit to the very excellent Juno Beach Centre, which explains the events leading up to D-Day. It was enlightening to understand something of the economic, political, and cultural climate of the years leading up to WWII, and there was information specifically geared toward kids, too.



As a former student of marketing, I was drawn to some of the wartime posters. I thought this one was pretty fantastic from a graphic design point of view.

20140717-221600-80160815.jpgHere’s Michael outside the observation bunker built by the German army. In 1944, it was at the edge of the beach, but wind and waves have changed the landscape significantly.20140717-221640-80200148.jpg


Random beach shot because it was perfect out.20140717-221639-80199354.jpg

Near the entrance of the centre, rows and rows of posts represent the over 300 men who fell on the first day of the D-Day mission. They came from all across Canada, although this one caught my eye because the fellow was from Minneapolis. There’s a QR code on the back of each post so you can read up on the life of each man. I don’t have a QR app, but I hope to look him up.20140717-221802-80282920.jpg

This fire hydrant was just down the street from the fantastic B&B where we stayed the night in Creully, about 20 minutes drive from the Juno Beach Centre. I just wanted to capture it because it looks decidedly feminine to me.20140717-221803-80283750.jpg

A monument to the fallen sons of Creully was evidently yarn-bombed last month.20140717-221951-80391581.jpg

Enjoying a glass of local “cidre demi-sec” at dinner. (And Jade is clearly enjoying her apple juice.)20140717-221952-80392392.jpg

This might be the girls’ only chance ever to be inside a telephone booth…20140717-221950-80390768.jpg

Creully has a château that we didn’t get to explore. And there are many other sights around that could easily turn this part of France into a weeks-long holiday.20140717-222243-80563205.jpg

We spent Wednesday at Vimy Ridge. We had a tour of the underground tunnels used to capture the ridge, and the above-ground trenches. The monument itself is beautiful, imposing, and very moving. Halia was enthusiastic about learning more about the end of WWI, Remembrance Day, and how it connects to her birthday (November 11th) and her name, which is Hawaiian for remembrance.20140717-222244-80564610.jpg

Someone had left these at the base of the monument. It appears to be rocks in water in one container. The other might contain ashes (?) but the 613 area code tells me these folks were from Ottawa.


The Grange trench used by Canadians at Vimy.


Our previous day was spent in The Netherlands. An impromptu stop in this charming town was full of delights for the girls, including an affectionate cat, a close encounter with a duck, some amazing fresh strawberries, and Jade finding a boat with her name on it.20140717-222512-80712885.jpg

Dutch is often so close to German… But even if you speak neither Dutch or German, I’m betting you can figure out what this idiom is.20140717-222513-80713831.jpg

Even the girls loved the architecture.20140717-222514-80714915.jpg


Aforementioned close encounter of the duck kind.20140717-222516-80716106.jpg

Entering Belgium. We just drove through. Except Antwerp took 2 hours longer to “drive through” than planned…20140717-222512-80712018.jpgThat’s it for today. Tomorrow we’ll get further south in France and prepare to drive through the Pyranees into Spain. Pray for cooler weather for us, please. We northerners are melting in 35 Celsius!


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