Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach

Time for a recap! I didn`t get to write yesterday because we had a busy evening (well, we ate a leisurely dinner but then I had to find a hotel in Nantes for my parents--harder than it seems) and then we up early today.
Yesterday, my parents and I went to Vimy Ridge for the 95th Anniversary of the battle. It was an incredible day, but so incredibly cold. It was overcast, rainy, and cold. But this only made you think more about what the soldiers went through to claim that ridge!

So we arrived in the morning, just in time to witness a silent march of 5000 Canadian students, all wearing red jackets, to a morning ceremony. This was the only time you will ever see 5000 high school students being totally silent. It was pretty neat. But the best part was the person that we actually managed to spot in the crowd...
My brother!!!!
He was there on a school trip, but we didn't think we'd see him. Well, we did, we got to walk with him, and catch up a bit on his trip! They had wonderfully warm weather in Rome, Switzerland was great, and he was really enjoying France. We even got to snap a quick family photo...
It was probably the highlight of my day. We saw a bit of the student ceremony, checked out the memorial, and then went to the exhibit. Afterward, we got ready for the big ceremony, attended by the governor general. What was too bad was that it was so long, and the ceremony was outside. It was so cold that we couldn't feel our fingers or our toes. We really wanted to stay for the whole thing, but we were just so cold that it was hard to appreciate the service. I snapped a quick pic of the GG, and then we left. I was quite torn-- I didn't want to leave, but it is hard to concentrate over the chattering of teeth.
David Lloyd Johnston
The poor students had to stay for the whole time. We saw some back at the hotel afterwards and they were just soaked and freezing. Too bad. Hopefully they enjoyed the service though, because it was really well done from what I saw.
In the evening, we went back to the same brasserie as before and had another great meal. We returned to the hotel, I found a place in Nantes with a kitchenette, free parking, and good reviews (only took an hour...) and we all went to bed.
This morning, we woke up bright and early and were on the road. It was a long day of driving, as it took about 4.5 hours to get to Caen. After a few wrong turns, we eventually met up with Camille, my old exchange student, and her parents. it was amazing to see them again. It has been about 4 years! We all drove to Juno Beach together and had lunch near the centre, then actually went to see the Juno Beach Centre. I have already been, but it was great again.
Parents and I

Camille and I

Chilly beach!
Afterwards, manned with our GPS machine and our human GPS, Camille, we drove back to Le Mans where we will be spending a couple nights where I once lived for three months. We had a lovely dinner all together and I got lots of translating practice.
Tomorrow, we are off to Mont St Michel and St. Malo. Pray for good weather!!!
Sorry if this post wasn't as detailed, but I'm feeling fairly tired and believe it is time to go to sleep. it was a fantastic, but long day. I will share more details about what it is like to be back here soon!

1 comment:

  1. Very instructive this commemoration of Vimy Ridge. We can easily see that, in spite of the cold and teeth chaterring, u really spent a good time with your relatives !

    Amuse-toi bien le reste de ton séjour à Saint Malo avec ta famille Nicole, et n'oublie pas.. "la Bretagne, ça te gagne" ;)