Sunday, August 19, 2007

J - 1

The last day of the summer holidays - tomorrow the alarm will ring at 5.30am and the school year will start once again for my son. As I type this, there is snow falling! I can't believe it - it is 10 degrees outside so it isn't settling thank goodness! I returned to sunny Switzerland yesterday lunchtime after a fortnight in Brittany and Jersey with G. The lad arrived back last night with two cases of dirty washing and looking (and smelling) as though he hadn't bathed for the two months he has been away! The dog went beserk as we arrived back and is now jealously guarding my shoes, just in case I escape again...
Our trip to Brittany was great, and the weather was actually okay; not boiling hot but apart from one small shower we had sun all the time. We stayed north of St. Brieuc and pottered around the coast there. I don't know where all the tourists went this summer but it wasn't Brittany, which for us was lovely - enough going on without fighting through the crowds. During our time there we drove over to the west coast of Brittany to Beg Meil which is near Concarneau to visit the hotel where G used to spend his holidays as a child - the owners' children are his age and now no longer play on the beach but run the family business and are about to retire! A day of trips down memory lane and a memorable 'assiette de fruits de mer' which kept me going as an entrée, main course and dessert - glorious!
La suite : written on Monday.
After our Brittany trip we caught the ferry from St. Malo to Jersey to go and see Mum and just potter around - again the weather was good, the beaches empty and I overdosed on fish, which I miss desperately here in Switzerland. The weather broke the day we left and we set sail in some pretty rough seas, but the wind had dropped and the sun was shining in St. Malo when we arrived.
On our way home we stopped off to visit the Bayeux tapestry which I had never seen. What a marvel. We watched a short film before visiting the tapestry in order to jog the memory of history learnt too many years ago, and then were given personal audio receivers which lead one through the tapestry and what each 'panel' represents - I think even G enjoyed the visit, even though he had suggested it, I think he was secretly hoping I would say I didn't want to go!
We then went on to visit the Normandy landing beaches and the American Cemetery which I had never visited. Very sobering and desperately sad - the sheer numbers of those who died is mind-boggling and shows the futility of war. In the late afternoon we stopped in a British Cemetery from WW1 which was much smaller and just by the side of the road. Although more 'intimate' than the American one, there were still hundreds buried there, many with no name, simply their regiment and the date they died.

As we arrived late that night in Brussels, we passed through Waterloo and its splendid illuminated monument. A rather sad and reflective way to end a holiday - monuments to three wars and millions of lives lost...