4/3: Lost a day there–the flight to Paris is over night so began on 4/1 and we arrived on 4/2. Other stuff I forgot to mention about the bus ride… we saw many trees with these balls oaf greenery hanging down. At first I thought these were nests of some kind but then I guessed (and guide confirmed) that it was mistletoe! Was L sending me kisses? I choose to think he was. Also not to worry there’s a MacDonald’s in Honfleur but why anyone would choose that over a wonderful crepe or local fish is beyond me. Also I did go shopping–two days in the same clothes was my limit!

So on to this first truly full day in Normandy. I pretty much missed b’fast (another lovely spread offered by hotel) because I overslept and had about 15 minutes to get dressed and down to the lobby for our walking tour of the village. We were each given listening devices so we could hear her clearly even with traffic and other tour groups along the way. The village has a fascinating history that dates back to the Middle Ages and has some buildings still standing to prove it! During the D-Day battle the town was spared because there was far more interest in a larger port nearby (Le Harve).  So there are wonderful buildings from as far back as the 13th Century plus a LOT of cobblestone streets (do NOT bring your high fashion shoes to Honfleur!!!) Our guide was full of information about history and architecture and the shifting of the town’s priorities over the centuries…a fishing port turned military stronghold turned Impressionist art community (Monet painted a LOT of scenes in Honfleur and all the Impressionists loved the way the light came over the horizon on clear days and clouds gathered on dreary days.) But more about Monet and his pals later in there week. I took over fifty photos on the tour but of course forgot the proper cord for downloading so we’ll have to wait for that show.

We had lunch at another charming bistro (the town is full of eating places!!!) called le Chat que peche (the cat who fishes)– we had beef burgundy plus a wonderful dessert called a “floating island.” Later in the afternoon I will admit to stopping for an éclair…after all this is France! After lunch most businesses and museums close for a couple of hours so I cam back to the hotel to check on my luggage (not yet here) and take care of some e-mails. The afternoon was. Ours to do as we wished so I went to the museum of Normandy (showing artifacts of historical life/costume in Normandy and located in a former prison (as in line from the 16th century) and the Maritime Museum (located in a former church). I also went back to some of the places the guide walked us past on the tour and took pictures…a couple of wonderful churches included.


Got back to the hotel just in time for wonderful lecture by D-Day expert William Jordan–an Englishman who has done wonderful research and is exceptional at bringing the story to life. He will travel with us tomorrow as we head for the beaches. I’m not sure some of my fellow travelers liked that he let us know that Americans–because we were fighting TWO wars at opposite ends of the world– actually had a lot fewer men storm those beaches than did the Brits. But he gave us full credit for–as he put it–coming up with  huge amounts of  “stuff” necessary for the invasion to be a success.

We were on our own for dinner so I chose to come back to the room–wait for the luggage that United assures me is “out for delivery” and catch up on my blog. Tomorrow we start our tour of the D-Day sites and I am so looking forward to that and know L will be fascinated!!! Sleep well–I know I will.



  1. Dear Anna, I believe we have mutual , Wisconsin friends in Cindy Bacskal and Margaret Fliss. They both suggested I follow your blog when I lost my dear husband of 53 years. They were both fond of Ed and the first to send flowers when he died.

    To be honest I haven’t written sooner because I am a bit intimidated writing to a writer. But your journal from France was just too much to keep me from the keyboard. My “journey through widowhood” has paralleled yours in so many ways. The dying and death experience, holidays, dealings with friends and family and feeling so very alone. I was packing for a month in Florida when I saw you had made the same decision. The first time vacationing without Ed…what was I thinking.? Going on long beach walk alone, to our favorite eateries, farmers markets, galleries and even a weekly flea market without him. And here was Anna doing the same things and feeling the same way. It turned out to be very therapeutic.

    Well this one takes the cake. I am about to address our “bucket list”. I’m headed for Barcelona in May! And as you stated I know Ed will be with me every step of the way. Your journal is fabulous. I know Chicago well and will prepare for the long afternoons in the airport. Love the packing tips.

    God bless you, Dear Anna. Please don’t stop blogging.

    Joy Britton

    P.S. Where is the spellcheck on a blog?

    1. Joy,
      So glad Cindy and Margaret recommended my blog although I will admit that the real deal is that I get far more from folks like you than I give out. Still it is a place to gather… community. And please never be intimidated to write to a writer–we are a lonely bunch and thrive on hearing from others!! Delighted to hear you are traveling (and your Ed would be as well!)– as you will see as I write more about Normandy the trip has been wonderful for me. I feel L with me every moment and yesterday when I saw the cemetery of those Americans who died on the beaches of Normandy I could practically hear him bemoaning the loss of these wonderful young lives. Enjoy your trip and when you return start planning your next one!! Allow best, Anna

      PS: Spellcheck on a blog is part of creating the message although I will admit that I don’t always remember to hit that button (and am painfully aware that it shows!!)

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