Bayeux to Cherbourg
Cherbourg to Poole by ferry
Poole to Crossways
85 + 20 miles (1,289 total) / 136 + 33 km (2,075 total)
2,680 + 522 feet (46,253 total) / 817 + 159 m (14,098 total)
We left in good time, had no issues and a relatively flat ride. We then arrived at Utah beach, which deserves its own section, even more so than Col du Galibier did a few weeks ago, and so everything in the paragraphs below is about that mid morning section. We got to Cherbourg in good time so found a bar for a few drinks, had a pleasant crossing and had an easy 20 mile ride to our accommodation, trying to make Saturday’s ride easier.
We got there mid morning on Friday and ever since leaving I’ve been trying to put our visit into words. I’m writing this on Saturday morning and still can’t think of how to put in a few sentences the magnitude of the place. To be at one of the most significant locations of WW2, even 70 years on, hit us more than we expected. To try and imagine the place with the landing parties and gunfire all around, and what those soldiers must have faced, we really could only try to imagine what that must have been like. The sacrifices made by them has allowed us all to live in the world we do. Without them we wouldn’t have the freedom we enjoy, we wouldn’t even be doing this ride.
The above doesn’t fully get across how much the place moved us, but I’m struggling to find anything better at this time.
When we arrived in Cherbourg we saw lots of souvenirs and flags, all of which included the flags of the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, and usually the French also. However where the French flag was shown it wasn’t in the most prominent position, in fact the opposite, the others were first, then their own, if it was there at all. For a nation that’s so patriotic and proud of their nation to put themselves almost in the shadow of others reinforced the feelings that Utah beach had stirred up.
Along with the alps, problems we’ve encountered along the way and fun times we’ve shared, Utah beach will stay with us at least as long.