mardi 23 septembre 2008

Normandy continued: Bayeux

That night we headed to Bayeux where we had a reservation at a hotel. Unfortunately said hotel is a bit loose with its reservation system; even though I had sent them my credit card number they didn’t bother to hold the reservation on the busiest holiday weekend of the year!! There were no other rooms in Bayeux, or in the other nearby towns we tried, or anywhere in Normandy that we could discern, for that matter; we drove around for several hours before returning to Caen, where a hotel clerk advised us to drive to Rennes for the night, 200 kilometers to the south. We arrived there at 1 am, miserable, tired, and hungry, and went right to sleep. The next morning we drove all the way back to Bayeux because we had reservations in another hotel room there that night.

Despite the proceeding misery we had a nice day in Bayeux. Here is a street in downtown Bayeux. We went to see the Bayeux tapestry, which tells the story of William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. The tapestry was commissioned at the time by William’s brother, the bishop Odo, and is about 2 feet high and 50 meters long, showing successive scenes of the event.
When you walk into the gallery they hand you an audioguide, which once it started, could not be paused. The audioguide whipped through a description of each scene: “On panel 37 you can see them bringing the horses onto the boats; on 38 and 39 you see the channel crossing…” and we dashed alongside the tapestry trying to keep up with the guide. It was like the scene in Airplane where the announcement says, “plane arriving gate 9. gate 10. gate 11,” and the passengers run across the terminal. Whew!

Here is B outside the building that held the Bayeux tapestry.After this workout we wandered though Bayeux and stopped to try the local Calvados (apple brandy). Here was the view across from the bar: it says "hall of meats."
We stayed that night at a lovely B and B owned by a British couple, who also kept a goose, a cat, a bunch of rabbits, and a large collection of WWII paraphernalia. We checked out their map room and learned more about the D-day events.
The house goose.

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