Driving Day

Monday, March 07, 2016
Bayeux, Normandy, France

 This morning, after a fabulous breakfast made by Frieda and Benno, we departed Bruges for an almost-five-hour drive to Bayeux, France . We loved talking to Frieda and Benno, about everything from the economy to religion to healthcare. Benno told us how his dad was a baker and was forced to do baking for the German army during World War II. He essentially had a gun to his head and had no choice. His Dad also told Benno to "never say anything bad about Americans," because how the U.S. soldiers helped liberate them. That was a neat thing to hear. His dad also told him to never buy anything German, although once he bought a Mercedes, which made us laugh. We love hearing those stories, and that's the benefit of staying at a family-run B & B. You won't get the same kind of treatment or hospitality at a chain hotel. 

We said good bye and started to make our way to Bayeux, France, which is near the D-Day landing areas. The terrain changed dramatically from the flatness of the Netherlands/Belgium to very green hills in the northern part of France. The drive was pretty. What was not pretty were the tolls we had to pay in France . One crazy, high bridge/tollway cost 8 euro, another stretch was 8 euro, then 5 euro, then 1 euro. But what are you going to do ?  

Halfway through the drive, we decided to stop at a Shell station to fill up on gas, use the bathroom and grab a snack. John's cards did not work, but my credit card did work to pump the gas, and we figured gas costs about $5.40 a gallon. Actually, we were pumping diesel. We requested a diesel car because it's cheaper than gasoline in Europe. The sandwiches and tarts we had at the Shell station were pretty awesome, so we knew we had more good food ahead of us if this was what we could expect at a service station. 

We arrived at our home in Bayeux on the street the size of a wide sidewalk in Wisconsin. We booked an entire home on airbnb, which sleeps six. Dad and John have their own bedrooms, and Missy and I are sharing the room with the twin beds, kind of like when we were little (awwwwwww!). It's nice to have an entire house to ourselves. We got situated, and Missy and I took a walk to the main drag, Rue St. Jean, to get some basic breakfast items from the grocery store. We have a full kitchen, so we can make our own. And, I really don't think Europeans value or eat breakfast like we do. I think, for most of them, breakfast is a coffee and croissant? Brunch? Not a thing. 

We had dinner on the main drag, which was a three-course meal for $18 ($19.50), which we thought was very reasonable. I'm not sure if food has gotten lower or we are just in the right towns, but dining out has not been terribly expensive. We aren't going to super fancy places, but definitely not going to holes in the wall, either. We have not had a bad meal here.  

Tomorrow is a low-key day. Nothing is on the schedule, so we have a few options to do what we want, or to rest. Wednesday is our tour with a private guide. 

I'm used to traveling alone, but have to admit that I am really loving being with family members and having these memorable moments. 

Thanks for reading. 

Au revoir,


Karen Sherman

Thanks for taking us with you.

Darlene Kientop

What a wonderf journey...for all of us!

Pam Ellingson

The Bayeux Tapestry is excellent.