As I made my through the southwest of France I was heading to Bordeaux. It s more of a stop then a visit. My air bnb host Hanae was very welcoming and we had great conversations. Including one about the differences between americans and the french. On a very generalized level she put it to me this way. The French are like a coconuts hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Once you crack there shell their friends forever. Americans are more like Avocados soft on the outside but hard on the inside. They are very friendly but can toss you aside rather quickly. I cant say that is wrong actually, again if we were speaking generally there is some truth. We all judge different cultures and people off our initial experiences, and it doesn’t help when the media shapes your thinking either.
Whats appealing when you travel on your own is you begin to appreciate, more then when your at home, the opportunity to connect with a complete stranger. We have friends and family to distract us at home and we can tend ignore others around us. By being indifferent or lacking common courtesy, it can close the opportunity to meet some amazing people.
I never actually saw Bordeaux, I stayed on the out skirts. This time through France I wanted to focus my attention on the World war 2 sites. So after just one stay in bordeaux I headed for an afternoon to Oradour-sur-Glane, France.
On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in then Nazi occupied France was destroyed, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a Nazi Waffen-SS company. A new village was built nearby after the war, but French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.
It’s quite surreal to be here in this place first hand. There are movies about it, and history that you remember studying as a kid. But I cant think of a better way to understand the true travesty of war and its impact then being right here.
Below is the church where most of the towns people were put into and were gassed, burned and shot.
You can see the bullet holes in the mural
The town was in shambles
We cannot comprehend the tragedy this town was put through, but we can remember the sacrifices those have made to ensure it never happens again.
One minute you can be on top of the world, enjoying the scenery and jollily moving to your own beat. The very next moment I’m stopped in my tracks wondering how someone could do this to people.
In the video below I was inspired by my scenery heading out of san sebastion, spain and into france, then immedietley halted by the energy of the town, left as it was on the day it was slaughtered, June 10th 1944.
Lol..not a laughing matter but I tried to capture what it felt like on this ride in the video, not sure if I did. But like in life, one moment your on top of the world feeling good, and then in a minute your mood can change.
I didn’t take long to feel good again as I hit the road to my next destination Tours, France.
The ride was beginning to become more and more beautiful as the scenery was very lush with greenery, rivers, vineyards, and small french towns.
My only problem was NOTHING was open. It was an independence day for France on a Monday, and I couldn’t find a place to eat. I hate being hangry!!! Unless I ventured off into a bigger town to a mcdonalds, towns were completely closed especially for lunch. So I rode about 5 or 6 hours to Tours starving.
As I got closer, about an hour away, there was some great castles to visit. This one I randomly found.
I finally arrived and met anne, I chose her house out near farm land. I didn’t want to deal with the city stuff and again I’m only staying for one night. Before I head to the normandy region to check out the beaches.
Anne was fantastic as her family whisked me away to hangout with them in the town of tours. We went and hung out on the terrace -Guinguette de Tours sur Loire- by the river enjoying wine, beer, music and appetizers. A vibrant place with great food and drinks.
I was tired but you don’t sleep when your experiencing something that won’t happen again. Anne, her family and friends were very welcoming and we finished the night watching a light show on their towns old cathedral.
I woke up the next morning to a crape breakfast
I’m moving fast through central France towards normandy and I’m making connections with people just as fast. Its tough to when you make such genuine connections with people and then have to leave so quickly, but I’m on to the next adventure. I plan to stay in normandy for at least a couple days before I head on to England/Wales. There is so much history there and I’m looking forward to understanding more about the sacrifices of World War 2.