Monday September 5th
The journey home started out auspiciously. Two others of our fellow travelers were scheduled for the same flight out of Charles De Gaulle airport (they live in Tacoma), so we made arrangements for a shared taxi. It worked out very well, and we arrived at the airport by 7:15 AM for our 10:25 AM flight.
But as we were standing in line to get aboard the airline stopped boarding the plane. After we had been standing for half an hour or so they brought out bottled water for everyone. That was an ominous sign. There was a mechanical problem, they said, and they had to fix it before we could take off. We didn’t lift off until 12:35 PM Paris time.
So by the time we finally arrived in Seattle it was roughly 10:30 PM Paris time. We were really tired. And as a final insult, once we got back to the car lot to pick up our car, the battery had died. Fortunately the staff were very understanding and they gave us a quick jump start.
Several months after our return I re-watched “The Longest Day.” It had been years since I had seen it, but overall it was pretty true to reality. There was a lot the movie didn’t cover, but D-Day was huge. It spanned an 85 mile long front along the Normandy coast. The winds were much stronger than had been anticipated, and most every ship was blown off course. Overall the Germans were indeed caught by surprise. Once the Allies had a beachhead at Gold Beach, the establishment of a safe harbor exclusively under Allied control meant that personnel and supplies could be delivered in an unbroken stream. That’s what doomed the Germans– not just D-Day, but the unstoppable aftermath that resulted in a relentless push toward Berlin.
We’re both so glad we went. It was our first trip to a foreign country other than Canada. We had some stumbles and some difficulties, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Our guide Linda was terrific, as were the special guides we had at Guédelon and Normandy. We enjoyed meeting and chatting with the other folks on the tour. We learned a lot about France in particular and about international traveling in general. And we can’t wait to go again.