The plan: get on a bus in the evening, get on a plane over night, get on another bus and try to stay awake all day. Sleeping on the plane proved to be a challenge for Matt, but he was able to read most of the book that Mr. Coppinger gave him at Awards. I was able to crash pretty easily, but three hours of sleep was rough. The plane had lots of great movies to watch and everyone in our group was pretty excited about arriving in Paris. Flying over and looking out his window seat, Matt told me that he could see the channel and imagine crossing that distance in a storm, he could see Cherbourg (the port the Americans needed to seize in operation Overlord), and of course Paris from above!
The time difference in France is six hours ahead. During the adjustment period, we thankfully had a lighter travel day, stopping at Pegasus Bridge (a bridge seized at midnight on D-Day by British gliders), a fort that was part of the Atlantic Wall, and the home of Marie Louise Ormott (a Norman woman whose home was occupied by Germans during the war, and whose diary, describing the war and D-Day, we read).
After a quick transition at the hotel, Matt and I walked into Bayeux, a city not bombed in WWII, to have our first dinner in France! The architecture around us was beautiful, many of the buildings built around the founding of New Hampshire. This area is near the sea, so despite the difference in the style, the homes reminded me of Nantucket in their size and purpose. The area is surrounded by gorgeous fields where cattle and horses graze. It's incredible being somewhere where people have thrived for centuries, rich in history, dating far before D-Day.
Before we left we had two lectures. The first was on the strategies used by the various nations during Operation Overlord. The second was on the artistic choices used in designing the cemeteries.