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Friday, 22 April 2011

Normandy 2011 - Day Two 27th March

After a relaxed breakfast at the gite (while we watched the Australian GP) we went into Port-en-Bessin to check out the Sunday Market.
The harbour in the center of Port-en-Bessin
Only 11am and Greg & I have been persuaded to try 10, 20 & 30 year old Calvados.........mmmmmm. So good we bought a half bottle between us! We then took a look around the port in the beautiful Sunday weather checking out the Vauban tower etc.
The Vauban Tower (also seen in The Longest Day!)
The port was used to double up for Ouistreham in the making of the film The Longest Day and on one of the hand painted hordings it's still possible to read where Port en Bessin has been overpainted.
If you look closely you can see on the building behind Roland where Port-en-Bessin was painted over with Ouistreham for the film The Longest Day - seen in the scene where French Commandos storm the "Casino" Bunker
Lunch at a bagette bar and then off to the Longues battery.
One of four concrete casemates with 155mm ex-naval cannon
Fantastic, concrete at last..... Four bunkers with 155mm naval guns and an observation post. Fabulous site with plenty to see and touch. The observation post overlooks the cliffs to the sea, (the guns having a range of 12 miles and could reach both Omaha and Gold beaches) it also appears a number of times in the film The Longest Day!
The famous Observation Post used in The Longest Day
Late afternoon sees us in Arromanches. Greg looked longingly at GI helmets but decided not to spend 135€!
The tide's in but you can still see the remains of the pontoons from one of the floating roadways
In the hazy afternoon sun it's difficult to make out the Mulberry harbour. The tide's in so we cannot walk out to it and there aren't any boat trips until June. So we plan to return another day when its at low tide.
Mulberry Caisson
Nice examples of an 88mm Anti-Tank gun and an M3 half track are on static display in the square. The Mulberry Museum looks good so we decide to come and look around on our return.
88mm Anti-Tank/Flak Gun
Free wi-fi here so it was our first chance to post some stuff on the internet. Final stop tonite is in Graye near Vers-sur-Mer where we find a lovely example of a recovered Churchill AVRE in the dunes before a 12€ meal in the town.
Found buried in the dunes where it had been left since it was abandoned on 6th June 1944. Now restored to it's former glory. Note spare bogie wheel assemblies mounted on rear mudguards (on both sides) and mounting brackets for Canadian Mine Plough equipment (Front sides)
Back to the gite and time to actually watch The Longest Day!

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