During my earlier summer wanderings and adventures, I declared that a perfect vacation (one where nothing goes wrong) is a boring vacation. I still hold that as true, for the most part. Sometimes, though, there’s nothing wrong with a Nothing Vacation (as I have dubbed it). And that’s pretty much what the first week of my most recent vacation was.
Ironically enough said vacation has been spent in quite a momentous location. Back to my beautiful France I went with the family I am currently living with. Not down to my most recent home in the south (much as I miss it), nor to the beautiful Paris that continues to hold a place in my heart. We went somewhere new (for me at least) instead. To the far northern reaches of France, where lay the famous Beaches of Normandy.
We stayed in a rented house on Utah Beach (I found out in the museum that it was almost codenamed Oregon Beach instead!), one of the five landing beaches of the Allied Forces in WWII. It was a beautiful place, with wonderful sandy beaches just on the other side of a small set of dunes from our house. And truly a nothing vacation as we swam, sat in the sand, and enjoyed the sunrise (okay they did, with no gym to go to I actually started sleeping in… or at least not getting out of bed at 6 am.)
We hit the nail on the head with the weather as well. While the temperature finally warmed up back in Rotterdam (okay, that may be an understatement, it skyrocketed up to triple digits within days of our departure) it was absolutely perfect in Normandy. The water was a little cold for true swimming, but we still enjoyed wading out into the tides and a bit of paddle-boarding and boogie-boarding (with a wetsuit for ever-cold me). We were there during the full moon too, which meant we got to see the tides at their highest and lowest. We were able to walk all the way out to the ends of the oyster and mussel farms which lay partially submerged even during low-tide.
In addition to exploring nearby bunkers, I did pay a quick visit to the nearby Musée du Débarquement of Utah Beach which is without a doubt worth a visit. In addition to the memorials, tanks, and other memorabilia, it gives a wonderful summary and explanation of the D-Day landing on Utah Beach.
A wonderfully relaxing week of absolutely nothing. Who can complain? And yet I’m glad to have gotten my share of history in such an important location (I got even more the second week, hopefully coming soon in another post). I have always wanted to visit Normandy. I got close when I went to Dinan, in Bretagne, during my year abroad, but didn’t quite make it all the way to Normandy. I’m glad I got to this time.
Do you have any favorite do-nothing vacation destinations (whether you’ve been there before or not)? Or what about a place that really spoke to you for its historical significance. Share your travel experiences and wish lists in the comments! And also check out another Normandy post I wrote about an interesting experience on the beach at Kindness of Strangers : Barriers on the Beaches of Normandy.