Tuesday, 1 February 2011

ABC Wednesday - Caen

Early morning in the coastal town of Caen, with the rising sun shining on the roofs and spires.  We had stopped briefly after arriving by ferry and as the town was quiet thought it would be nice to have a quick browse around. Thereby hangs a tale. Driving into the town from the port of course the first thing to look for was a car park. "Look there" I shouted, as we swung left and then left again through an entrance.  Only it wasn't an entrance, it was a gap, as we realised after bouncing down the  high curb on the other side. Which would have been fine if it was not one of those car parks where you get a parking ticket when the barrier opens to let cars in. How to get out?  Too tricky to get out the way we had come in.  We had a look at the instructions. Do you know there wasn't anything about accidentally coming into the car park over a pavement,  but there was one if a ticket was lost.  Well it would have to do, oops, it was going to cost 8 Euros.  I always have some small change (sometimes I think its magnetically attracted)  but could only copper up 2 Euro.  We would have to buy something; never a problem to me. We wandered into town.
and admired the rather elegant town hall, its
formal gardens and the Abbaye aux Hommes built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century, as a penance to the Pope for marrying his cousin Matilda of Flanders, she built a twin church, the Abbaye aux Dames.  William was buried here but the tomb was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1562 during the Wars of Religion. Some of the bones remained but the last of William was scattered in the French Revolution.

Well apart from that gory tale, it was all very pleasant, the streets were being washed but nothing was open. So where was this change going to come from?  Then we turned a corner to a square and there in rows were the stalls of the food market with their produce stacked high, glowing in the sunshine.  After oohing and ahhing at the pile of produce (France is food central) visiting various stalls, stocking up with kilos of juicy tomatoes, fruit, vegetables (I'm putting tomatoes in a special category because I'm never sure what they are) and cheese, we had all the change we needed, and as a bonus almost everything required to arrive at our holiday cottage.  Which we reached after a short diversion to the coast (I thought I would try for a hat-trick of navigation errors) 
where as we saw the signs took a look at Omaha Beach and as I stood on the cliffs looking down, wondered how the troops of the bloodiest battle of the D Day landings in 1944 ever made it off the beach.  The Battle of Normandy apart from the tragedy of loss of life also destroyed much of the centre of Caen.

Catch up with what the other participants in ABC Wednesday are talking about beginning with C


Berowne said...

Well written, very enjoyable.

Sylvia K said...

Terrific post for the C Day! Love your photos! Sounds like such a fun trip with lots of great memories! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

ABC Team

richies said...

Yes it is a beautiful building even if the history is a bit gory

An Arkies Musings

Gigi Ann said...

Beautiful pictures of the old buildings. Thanks for the visit to Ann's Moody Blues today.

Kay L. Davies said...

We've been putting Caen on our list and taking it off and putting it on again, and never knowing what to decide because we didn't know what was there. Now we know where not to park our rental car, anyway. LOL
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Sara Katt said...

Meow! Oh my! That was indeed an informative post. I will tell my two-legged mother to read it too as her father was in the war that you mentioned and came to that beach. A couple of bloody tales in this post, about a quite walk through a sleepy town.
I agree with Berowne, well-written!
Sara Cat
Sara Cat's ABCWedrd-8-C as in Cheshire Cat

Tumblewords: said...

An absolutely delightful read - enjoyed the photos for sure!

Roger Owen Green said...

CHARMING in text and pics!


photowannabe said...

Living history. Thank you. Love the story about the car park.

forgetmenot said...

Lovely old buildings with such history behind them. Beautiful picture looking through the grass down on the water. Little "incidents" like the car port are just "fun" reminders of great trips.

w0rkingAth0mE said...

indeed a good place to visit. Hope i can visit it one day. MY ENTRY IS HERE take a peek :)

Cheryl said...

Gorgeous photos of those buildings. The last one surely gives cause to pause a moment to reflect upon what was and what's changed.

ABC Team

Paula Scott said...

So very picturesque that Caen is! And I do so love your banner image of the fence in the water. You always give me cause to want to wandering off to these kinds of places.

Leslie: said...

Fascinating post! I've been to Normandy and gazed down at the beach there, wondering the same thing exactly! It was suicide for those soldiers!


Cildemer said...

A Great entry for C day with fabulous shots!
Never visited Caen but would love to!
Thanks for sharing;o)

Hope you're having a happy week****

mrsnesbitt said...

Wonderful C post - as ever!
ABC Team