Normandy (Part 2)

We spent this weekend in north-eastern Normandy. We took a bus there and back, which was a nice way to see the countryside. We also got to experience long-weekend traffic madness, and truck stop coffee. Both are largely unchanged from back home.

This area reminds me a lot of Southern Ontario in the autumn, with huge expanses of leafy trees, all painted different shades of green, gold, purple and red. There are more cows here though, and decidedly less snow.

So much of France seems to be geographically similar to the eastern side of the Canadian shield. It’s not quite as flat as Saskatchewan, but close. The scenery goes on, and on, only broken up by deciduous trees, farmland or giant metal towers, depending upon what parts of the country you are in. The flatness of the countryside extends all the way into the ocean at Houlgate. In the morning when the tide is low, you can walk straight out into the ocean for about a kilometer, along seashell covered sandy beaches. There’s almost no slope to the land at all, so when the tide rises, it doesn’t come in high, like it does back home, it comes in long.

This shows the tide about halfway in. Two hours earlier, the land went for twice as long, and by dusk there wouldn’t be much left here but the cold, cold water of the Atlantic.

It was a quick trip out an back, and we didn’t get an opportunity to see much war history. We found out after we got here that the storming happened a little further west of where we were. Houlgate isn’t much of a historical center at all actually. Since the railway came in 1860, it’s role has been pretty much restricted to cottage country. Nearly every house you see in the village can be described as a cottage (or villa) by the sea.

We are pretty sure that this is the most perfect house for haunting that we’ve ever seen. Perfect for Salty Jean-Claude, the ghost of a lonely fisherman.

The one tourist attraction we did find was a Minigolf course in the city center. Everything here was the same as back home, except for hole 9. This is the hole
I always wanted when I was ten. Basically, there is a step on one end, a batting cage at the other, and nothing in between but grass. You just have to wind up and hit the ball as hard as you can towards the other side. Sarah nailed the opening in her first try.

With our shoes full of sand, and our bellies full of cider, we are heading back to Paris again to meet up with Nick. His ship will be pulling into “Paris” tomorrow, which will be a great opportunity to show him the sites. You can tell he comes from the same genetic stock as his sister. When we asked him what Parisian thing he’d most like to do: drink champagne under the eiffel tower, see the art at the louvre, or eat snails and ground beef, he opted instead for the most magical kingdom of all: Eurodisney.

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