France 2014 - Arromanches

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In Arromanches we found a bench with a lovely view of the beach where we ate lunch. That's an interesting beach to look at: it's littered with the remains of pieces of one of the two(?) massive floating artificial harbours the Allies built during D-Day. The floats on the beach are hollow concrete and steel things the size of small houses. There are eight or ten of them there, rusted, holed, and covered in seaweed and small molluscs. That's impressive enough, but rather more awe-inspiring is what I took to be the outline of the artificial harbour, drawn out by a line of concrete barriers still sticking out of the water. I'd guess those were about a kilometer from the shore, and ran for a couple kilometers. It was a BIG harbour.

We looked at the floats for a while, and I collected sand for a friend (who had requested sand from Juno beach, the Canadian landing point on D-Day). But when we asked at the tourist office, we found out we were on Gold Beach, and Juno was down the way a few kilometers. Back in the car and off to Courselles. The beach at Courselles is dull as dish water: no relics of the war, just an abundance of rotting seaweed and shells (plus seaside houses, a boardwalk, a carousel ...). We collected some sand, and celebrated the error that took us to the fascinating Arromanches. We did find a monument, a Sherman Tank near the shore. Apparently the tanks were fitted with propellers and dropped in the water to paddle to shore (I'm not joking: I would have thought they'd sink, but apparently not). This one had badges from two different Canadian regiments on it (Nova Scotia and Alberta).

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by giles