Normandy and Disney

We took a bus from Dortmund to Paris and then picked up a car and drove to our house for the night. We arrived at the bus and found that there was no power, ac, or wifi… for a ten-hour bus drive. We messaged the bus company and told them we were not pleased. At our next stop, we were transferred to a bus that had all the stuff we were promised. The bus driver still did manage to get lost near Dusseldorf.

In the morning we went to Disney! We rode on quite a few rides and my favorite was Pirates of the Carribean. There were not a ton of people there so we really didn’t have to wait in line much. For lunch, we had fish and chips. Other than that we just did the usual rides and had an amazing time. We did a small studio train tour and got to see a “film set” that shot fire we could feel from 50 feet away, A flash flood that got us drenched, an earthquake that shook us all and lastly all of them together.


We drove to our house in Normandy. From there we went to the Omaha Beach museum. We wandered around it and found a few pictures that we think my grandpa’s ship (he was a ship engine engineer) We stayed at the museum for a long time learning a lot about Normandy and the invasion. We then went down to the beach and were really surprised about how nice it was. I would never have guessed that only 75 years ago that such a bloody battle happened there. I met some Danish kids and we dug a huge hole and made a big castle. While we were digging we stopped to watch a memorial service at the beach where there was a trumpeter who played the U.S. National Anthem. It was really amazing and sad to see and it really helped you connect with the history. On the way home, we saw an armored personnel carrier driving in a ton of dirt and went over to near where it was. We made a reservation to get to ride in it in the morning.

The next morning we showed up at the APC place. There were only 2 other people and Dad and I were the only ones who went so in all there were 4 of us. We got to ride around for a while shooting up dust and mud and getting jostled around. It was really fun and now I want my own APC.

We also saw the American Cemetary. It was amazing to me how many people died because that really put it in scale. What was most interesting to me was the fact that there were only a few hundred people who claimed to be Jews as they knew if they were captured the Christians would be treated better then Jews. They said they were Christian to avoid the extra punishment so there are very few people who are listed as Jews. After the Cemetary, we went to the beach and it still amazed me how even though it is an amazing beach now it was not always that way. It is so peaceful to imagine a battle going on there.

Today we went to see Mont St. Michel. We took a bus to the bridge that goes over the water but there was no water as the tide was out. We went inside and saw the monastery. It was not as fancy as I expected it to be. I loved getting to walk along the walls and see the island (which is also now my zombie apocalypse fortress) It was also not as large as I thought and uses a lot of forced perspective. It was still an amazing castle and I would like to go back sometime when we have more time.

Our last morning we went out on a bike ride to the shore. It was nice and cool and we also saw a man digging for mussels. We saw bunkers and farms and also accidentally trespassed a bit but the people were fine with it and I think it happens a lot. We then went and got Caramels from a local Caramel shop and maker.


3 Responses to “Normandy and Disney

  • Annabel
    5 years ago

    Thanks for this fascinating yarn, Rhys! I’m loving the fact that you might already be back home but your followers are still on your journey with you.

  • Barb Walker
    5 years ago

    My dad, your great-grandfather, never talked about the war. He was in the Merchant Marines during WW II and saw a lot of the destruction as his ship stopped at many foreign ports. His ship made many trips to the Normandy beach head after the initial assault. They were bringing supplies to the troops I think. I remember him telling once about taking a ship load of pregnant mares to some country in Europe to replace all the horses that were killed during the war. As every adult child says, “I wish I had asked more questions when he was here.”

  • Anne Paulson
    5 years ago

    Fabulous trip….it must be difficult to return home. There are not many 14(?) year old kids that get to do what you just did…in fact, there are not many people at all that would do all of that in a lifetime. Your grand mother would have enjoyed every minute of it. Your writing was wonderful and very informative. Hopefully, we’ll come to Denver sometime so, Mr Paulson and I can meet you and your dad and see your mom again

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