When we first got to Nice on Wednesday, we checked out the beach. This was my first view of the Mediterranean!
After wandering along the coast, we spotted a waterfall that was very high up on a cliff. I could tell that people were up there, so we decided to climb up to it. It was beautiful – and the view from up top was amazing!
Next, we walked through “Old” Nice. It was a pedestrian only area and it was exactly how I had always envisioned Europe. Narrow roads, laundry hanging from the windows, cute little shops….you get the picture.
On Thursday, we took a bus to a medieval town called Eze. It is situated up on top of a cliff and was originally built as a type of fortress to keep its inhabitants safe. The bus let us off at the bottom of the village, and then we climbed and wound our way up tiny streets to get to the top. There were adorable shops, cute places to eat, and the view was incredible. It was hard to imagine what this little town must have been like when it was bustling with people.
While in Monaco, I was hoping to see some famous people. My camera was out at all times just in case. I didn’t see anyone famous (sad face) but I did get some pretty awesome pictures.
On Friday, we were supposed to go on a bike tour of Nice. Unfortunately, it got rained out. Which we came to find out NEVER happens. It hardly ever rains in Nice. Bummer. Instead, we decided to have coffee and croissants while waiting for the rain to stop (the croissant that we bought was my 5th croissant of the day….I’m not kidding). Once the rain cleared, we walked around, shopped, and ate the rest of the day. Perfect!
On Saturday, we went to the beach and went swimming in the Mediterranean before it was time to catch our train back to Paris.
We spent one day in Paris in order to recharge, and then we set out in a rental car for Normandy on Monday. We first went to Mont Saint Michel, which started as a monastery for monks and has history dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries. In the 1800s, it was converted to a prison. Now, it is just a tourist attraction….and a busy one at that. I couldn’t believe how far away you could see Mont Saint Michel as you approached it. It basically has farmland on one side, and water on the other.
Anyway, the first place we went was Pont du Hoc. It was a cliff area that 250ish US rangers climbed up to get to some very powerful cannons that the Germans had in place. These huge guns could shoot up to 14 miles. If left there, the Germans could potentially use the guns to ruin the Allied troops strategy of taking Omaha Beach (just a few miles down the coast). So, before the rangers climbed up the cliff, the Allied troops heavily bombed the area where the Germans were thought to be. Then, they climbed up the cliff to take anything that was left. What the rangers didn’t know was that the guns had been moved inland. So everything that they just did was for nothing. You can still see all the craters left by the bombing.
|craters left by the bombs|
|The cliff the rangers had to climb.|
|Dustin in a bomb crater|
|Dustin in a German bunker. This is where they would have had someone watching at all times what was going on outside.|
Our guide pointed out a new house that had just been built in 2007 at the top of a huge hill. Believe it or not, when they broke ground for the new house, they found 2 German soldiers who they identified with their dog tags. He told us that there are bodies still found quite often.
It is interesting to note that the land the American Cemetery is on was given to the US for free forever. It is considered to be US soil. So, for about an hour on Tuesday, I was back in the United States of America. It felt good to be home.