Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trip to Normandy

I think the trip to Normandy was such an amazing experience and I truly recommend everyone to go there, not only because of it's historical significance during World War II, but also because of it's beauty and relaxing vibe that anyone will enjoy.

Omaha Beach
After four weeks of classes, my friend and I decided to take a weekend trip up north of France to Normandy.  We decided to stay in Bayeux. The first day we were there we decided to just get settled in at the hotel and explore most of the town. The town was so cute because of the many small shops ranging from crêperies, souvenir shops, and antique stores. We also found a farmer's market as well. It was very interesting because there were just so many different things going on. People were selling live animals, there were cheese stands that sold many different types of cheese, and there were even food stands that served from huge cooking bowls. It was amazing.

On the second day, we planned to head down to Juno and Gold beach. Unfortunately my friend and I missed the bus. Luckily we were able to catch another bus that took us back to Omaha beach. So most of the day we just explored that beach and collected sand as souvenirs. The descent to Omaha beach was tiring. It was even worst going back up. I'd imagine how hard it was for those soldiers to climb up the slope from the beach back then.

Juno Beach
Also, I was able to collect a lot of shells from that beach. The shells were really pretty and big; different from that of back home where I would find shells in pieces. Because we had so much time, I even walked further towards the water. It was quite a walk as the sand area extended quite far before hitting the water.

On Sunday my friend and I were finally able to go to Juno and Gold Beach. The first one that we went to was Juno. We were actually dropped off at a port side town so we were able to do a bit of exploring before heading to the beach. The town was really interesting because like Bayeux we went through many little shops and farmer's market there. Once we reached the beach the first thing I noticed was how different the sand was from Omaha. The sand at Omaha was more soft and fine. At Juno, the sand was more rough. You were able to tell the difference.

Gold Beach

After Juno, we headed to Gold beach. I think this was my favorite because of the remains of history you can find here. On the beach itself, you can see remnants of the D-Day landings such as the floating bridges. My friend and I then walked up a hill to the Arromanches 360 for a better view of the beach. It was amazing. Going to the town was great too because it felt like I was in a movie.

Town near Gold Beach
Going to Normandy was the perfect way to end my study abroad program. Being able to experience the city life and exchange it for a simple country life in the end was very fun and relaxing. Normandy is an amazing place. I've only explored a small part of Normandy and didn't try everything yet what I've experienced was enough to make me fall in love with the place. Before going on this trip I never knew about the history and beauty this place holds and I'm glad I was able to experience it. I walked through history and it touched my heart. What that place went through and the soldiers that gave their lives that day sent chills down my spine as I walked those streets. This place is full of treasures and I would definitely come back in the future.

- Allysha Mae Martinez, Summer Study Abroad ESCE

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