If you travel to Normandy by motorhome, you will encounter an area of France that offers an enormous amount of variety, scenic treasures and a turbulent past. The memories of the Second World War are omnipresent, but you can also explore a past that goes back much further.
In Bayeux, a tapestry is on display that is probably unique in the world. On 70 meters, countless embroiderers in the 11th century recorded the story of the conquest of Great Britain in 1066 by William the Conqueror in artfully designed scenes. The unique "document" has its own museum, which is definitely worth seeing, where an audio guide takes you on a journey to a distant age.
A closer, but for us Germans much darker past has dug its traces deep into Normandy. The liberation of Europe by the Allies began at the foot of the Cotentin Peninsula. The landing beaches are still much visited places for people from all over the world who want to see the conditions under which the forces defeated the Germans.
The losses were high and so, in addition to many museums, there are also numerous military cemeteries where thousands of soldiers found their final resting place. We visit the American cemetery, impressive for its size alone, and join hundreds of people present - many of them Americans - to watch the lowering of the American flags, which is solemnly performed every evening.
Our journey into the past continues with a visit to the coastal battery of Longues sur Mer. Four large guns of the Germans were stationed here, guarding the stretch of coast that would later go down in history as "Gold". Archaeologists have studied this site, including an X-ray soil analysis.
The results show the enormous bombardment to which the site was subjected and countless impacts from the sea. The site - the only remaining surviving World War II coastal battery - offers a strange mix of grim past and scenic beauty. Here, cruelty and new life meet in a very special way.