Thursday, July 30, 2009

The End Of The World

Onward to coastal France. Leave Cologne and bid farewell to Tina and Nani. One we will see within a few hours time, the other regrettably we will say goodbye to for the rest of our journey. Germany falls beneath our wagon relatively quickly as the language barrier ratchets up in our first Belgian port of call. We arrive France in roughly 8 hours time. First order of business, find the sea.

Le Havre is not a typical French town. Badly damaged by the conflict which stormed through in the early 40's most of the original architecture has been levelled. Predominantly replaced by squared symetrical brick ediface.
It would later be explained to us that for this very reason our town here is not one of the most renowned tourist spots. We disagree and we are thoroughly tourists.

Arrive beach. Dash to the Atlantic. 3 pints of the finest Belgian and off to meet Pierre.

Pierre, strikingly handsome with beautiful family, hands over keys to a flat located in an old part of town which has obviously managed to elude some if not all of the bombing. The hospitality we are offered is beyond generous and equally appreciated.
Arrive Nani. Quiet evening in with a movie and early nights sleep. This is a first.

Morning, 3 Americans and 1 German motor to the site of the invasion. Lunch at the harbor. Trace the steps of Sword beach conflict, complete with climbing through abandoned bunkers and a swim. Very surreal to witness. Seen the films, read the books, watched the mini-series time and again and here we are.
Back to town. Dinner with our gracious hosts. Show is set in an Irish Pub near the center. Walk off the fatigue.
Post show A/P with entourage wander to the 'end of the world'. Beach singalong with guitar and assorted drinks one as unnecessary as the next. Wander in turns into stumble out and through the town some in song, some in drink, and some just keeping pace a wave of friends weave through the dark streets of a place where these tourists will absolutely be visiting again.

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