When I told people about my adventure and that I was going solo, most eyebrows were raised that I would take such a trip alone without any partner or organized tour company. I would have loved to share the experience with Cathy, but she may have been battled out after the second day. My kids are too young for such a strenuous trip. I would love to go back with my colleagues, especially Francine and Pam, who would help with the language (of course) but also point out awesome aspects of French culture that I missed. They would also appreciate the places so much – future grant?
However, going solo was by far the best way for me to undertake this trip and immerse myself in my goal of gaining a greater understanding of the D-Day invasion and a greater appreciation for those that serve, especially the men who never left the Normandy coast. Organized tours are great, and there were I few I considered (and listened to the tour guides online), but I tend to spend more time at certain locations and less time at others. Making my own itinerary was fun, and I alos could move things around to fit my needs. I did some exploring and found places that I may not have seen on an tour, and I kept my own timetable on getting going and skipping lunch to see more. I don't think that many would be surprised that I like things my own way ...
Would I have learned more on an organized tour? Maybe a few more tidbits, but I had done a lot of reading in preparation. I don’t think I would have experienced as much and to the extent I desired. Maybe I will take one n the future with a group, now that I have seen so much.
Another reason that going solo was beneficial was driving in Normandy. I forgot to get a picture of my cool little black Mercedes number, but it was hot – about as big as the old Horizon I used to drive. Why was driving so great?
* I love to drive, especially on beautiful days, especially with windows down, listening to the latest French hits.
* Driving in Normandy gives a great perspective of the hedgerows which divide the fields and caused such problems as the Allies pushed inland against the Germans
* Winding through the towns makes it obvious that Allied troops were marching on the same roads as today, and also that the war was brought hoe to the civilians.
* The major locations are marked very well – but it was much easier with my sweet-sounding navigator.
So, in a nutshell, I don’t think I would have done anything different in driving around Normandy. The car was more expensive than a typical tour, but I think I actually got three days of touring out of it instead of a half day or eight hours. Thanks again to USM for the opportunity to construct my won tour!