D-Day to Camembert
The Normandy, located in the rugged north-west of France, is well known in Europe and far beyond. Accordingly, terms like D-Day and Omaha Beach are widespread and Normandy photos often have a war context. Besides, many people think of the allied soldiers who rush to the beaches under German machine-gun fire as soon as the Normandy is mentioned. On the other hand, connoisseurs imagine the lush green meadows, the excellent Camembert or the delicious Cider.
January Normandy Photo Tour
On a Normandy photo tour in the wet and cold January, I had the opportunity to get to know another side of this fascinating region.
January is not a classic travel season for this corner of Europe. The weather is frosty, muggy and somewhat uncomfortable. For this reason, many travellers disdain this area. This, in turn, means that many shops are closed, and the streets are mostly deserted. Only the locals flock to the bars and restaurants, and the parking lots at the sights look like abandoned places. In other words, a true sloverlanding paradise as longs as you bring adequate weather protection :-).
In this quiet, almost lonely atmosphere, I explored many sights which remind me of the time of the invasion in 1944. Among them are landing beaches, memorials and small villages, all telling their individual stories. Of course, I do not miss a stopover at the world cultural heritage site “Le Mont-Saint-Michel“. This architectural marvel attracts about 3 million visitors a year and is the tourist hotspot.
These quiet times are very thought-provoking for me because then I can fully concentrate on the stories of the people and places. Somehow everything seems to run slower. Which means that I pick up every observation, every scent in the air and every sound more intensely. After a while my fingers get stiff like icicles and it is time to make a warm-up break in a bar or a cafe to observe the locals or just to contemplate about what I’ve experienced.
After three days of my Normandy photo tour, just following my nose and finding some exciting places by pure coincidence, I suddenly get struck by the thought that pretty everything here is about change and contrast. For example, the enormous differences between low tide and high tide, which dramatically change the entire appearance of areas within a few hours. The population also embraces the theme of contrast. The locals at first seem closed and aloof towards strangers. But after I have cracked the hard shell a little bit, an open and very hospitable person almost always appears.
The more that I get involved with this regional motto, the more I discover.
The English, too, came into contact with the Norman will change very early on. When in the 11th century William the Conqueror and his Normans crossed the English Channel, this meant a change in the British Isles that lasted for many centuries.
Finally, the grey, foggy and humid days, which on the same evening conjure up an unforgettable sunset as if it were the most normal in the world.
Finally, the Allied invasion on 6 June 1944, entirely fits into the canon mentioned above. Indeed, the landing on the beaches of Normandy was one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War. But it was also a turning point in the Nazi reign of terror and the beginning of the liberation of France. Consequently, it was a pivotal point and a great upheaval in European history.
The following Normandy photo-story tells the narrative of these contrasts and the changes that this region has undergone. It is hopefully an inspiration for you to take a closer look at this incredible place one day.