You are here

Normandy History

October 8, 2018

I was most excited to visit Normandy. I think the history is very interesting and my neighbor landed on Utah Beach during WWII. We started our two day excursion with a stop at Memorial de Caen Museum. The museum started with the history of WWI and then it literally spiraled downstairs into more exhibits about how it led WWII. We had audio guides, so I was learning a lot. I didn’t realize the role of the Roaring Twenties and how it contributed to the economic downfall of Germany. At one point in the exhibit there was a breakdown of the number of casualties by country. China had the greatest number of deaths, which I found very surprising since we never really discussed China’s role in school. I was bummed because I spent too much time on the beginning of the exhibits and didn’t have time to get into depth with the history of D Day and Normandy at the museum. However, the trip was still very impactful.

Paris_Normandy_WWIIFlags_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

The next stop was Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is a cliff where soldiers launched a daunting amphibious attack on the Germans by scaling the cliff. We walked to the lookout point at the edge of the cliff, which was a very high drop to the ocean. I don’t think I can convey in words how impressive this was. Soldiers trained for this attack by scaling cliffs in England.

Paris_Normandy_PointeDuHocMemorial_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_PointeDuHocLookout_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_PointeDuHocViewFromEdge_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_PointeDuHocView_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

That night we stayed in a hostel on Juno Beach where the Canadians landed during D Day attacks. We had the opportunity to wander the town and walk along the water. As we were walking back, there were pictures along the road of troops coming through with Charles de Gaulle. This was a very surreal moment because I was standing in that exact same spot. There were only a few differences from the picture. I could really imagine the walk from the beach into the town.

 

Paris_Normandy_JunoBeach_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_CharlesDeGaulleMarch_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_CharlesDeGaulleMarchModern_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_WWIIFlagsJunoBeach_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_JunoBeachSunsetPanorama_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

For day 2 of this excursion, we started off by visiting the Musée de la Tapisserie in Bayeux. It depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England dating back to the 11th century on a 70 meter long tapestry. It was cool because it is older than anything you’d find in the United States, but I personally found it much less interesting than the WWII activities. The town itself was really pretty too!

Paris_Normandy_BayeuxWaterMill_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_BayeuxCathedral_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_BayeuxPoppies_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Next on the agenda was a visit to the American Cemetery on Omaha Beach. We hiked down to the water, and I dipped my hand in. This moment was incredibly moving as well because I could imagine all the soldiers disembarking the boats. I made my way up to the cemetery and that put everything into perspective. The perfectly aligned white crosses represented the thousands of brave people who died for freedom and justice. It’s a lot different seeing a number on paper compared to seeing the memorial. There were a lot of French people there, and you could definitely feel a sense of respect. Some of them placed roses on the graves, and it was a very somber scene.

Paris_Normandy_OmahaBeach_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_AmericanCemeteryMemorial_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

Paris_Normandy_AmericanCemetery_CourtneyMalecki.JPG

To finish out the day we toured a cidre, or cider, farm. Normandy is known for their cider and it was quite good.

This trip was very moving and gave me a new perspective of WWII. There are many brave people who fought for me to live in the world as I know it.

From Our Blogs

Feb 13 5:42pm

Settling into Roma

by Hope

I have been in Rome for about two and a half weeks already. Here is a glimpse of my first week attending orientation and settling in my apartment, learning to do as the Romans do.

Learn more
Feb 13 6:05am

Past, Future, Orientation

by Katya

It was a Wednesday morning, bleary and drizzling, in the center of Meknes, Morocco, a city full of orange trees (don't pick them; they taste like lemons), and we were all slouched in a classroom, learning Moroccan Arabic.

Learn more
Feb 11 5:39am

Love at First Sight

by Sophia

I have officially lived in Berlin for a week, so now that the jetlag has worn off, I’m awake enough to write my next post. Before boarding the plane a week ago, I had so many worries running through my head. What if my luggage is lost?

Learn more
Feb 10 9:53am

Being Sick While Abroad

by Ameer

 

Learn more
Feb 8 3:55pm

So Many Activities And So Little Time

by Thomas

Somehow, my time in Quito has ended already, and even though a month in a foreign city seems like quite a long time, it never is enough. Luckily, the time flew so fast because I could not have filled it with more adventures and activities.

Learn more
Feb 7 5:12pm

Near, Far, Wherever You Are...Go to Howth

by Kirsten

I truly believe I have discovered the oasis of Dublin.

Learn more