01 June 2009

Vacation: France Port of Call

Our final port of call was Cherbourg, France. This was the only stop where Mom and I took a tour offered by the cruise line. We traveled by bus through the Normandy countryside from Cherbourg to Bayeux to see the Bayeux Tapestry

Nearly 1,000 years old, the tapestry, which is actually an embroidery, looks like it was made only weeks ago. It sits in a glass display case that is U-shaped and carefully lit to show off the entire tapestry. Or what's left of it, anyway.

We walked in front of the tapestry and listened to the audio guide that was included. Normally, I am not a fan of audio guides, but this one was excellent. A British narrator - pictured in my head as someone wearing tweed - with a very dry, witty manner provided a terrific explanation of all the panels in the tapestry.

About two or three blocks from the tapestry stands the Bayeux Cathedral. Originally built in the eleventh century, the church is massive and dominates the town.

We didn't get to spend very much time in Bayeux. Mom and I would love to go back there to explore more and go inside the cathedral.

While we were having a wonderful time seeing the tapestry, some of the people on our tour were angry. They thought the tour was also going to stop at the beaches of Normandy where the liberation of France began in 1944. To appease these angry tourists (as there was not time to go to the beaches), we stopped at Sainte-Mèré-Église. In this village, American paratroopers were dropped on D-Day. One unfortunate soldier's parachute got caught on the steeple of the church. In remembrance of that event, that soldier and the Allied troops, a mannequin of a U.S. paratrooper still hangs from the church steeple.

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