We were playing hosts throughout December and into the New Year to our friends Keith and Marlene Stillman from Virginia, in the US of A. They planned to join a Christmas Markets cruise up the river Danube from Vienna for one week of December and would then be spending Christmas and New Year with us. Spurred on by Keith’s having expressed an interest in seeing the D-Day invasion beaches and cemeteries in Normandy, Carol found an apartment available for rent in Dives-sur-Mer just beyond the eastern end of the action. Dives-sur-Mer was also the starting point for the action of 1066 when William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquerant) set sail from there. So, without further ado, we determined to spend four days over New Year sampling the delights of Normandy. To give Keith and Marlene a complete Channel crossing experience, we decided to go out on the Channel Tunnel so that they might sample that technology, returning on New Year’s Day aboard the ferry so that we might eat in Langan’s Brasserie since I feared other options would probably be closed.
On the outbound journey, we managed to call into Honfleur, a picturesque harbour town on our wish-list which we had hitherto always managed to miss visiting. Then it was on to Port Guillaume in Dives-sur-Mer to find the apartment and begin playing tourist in Normandy. To give a break from the carnage of war, we popped across to the other side of the Cotentin peninsular to visit another place long on our wish-list, Le Mont Saint Michel. To break the journey home on New Year’s Day, we called into Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.