Mark has been itching to go to the paratroopers museum In St. Mere Eglise for as long as I've known him. Today appeared to be the day!
You see his beloved Dad jumped with the 507 airborne on June 6, 1944 into hostile territory at age 20 or 22. Mark has few memories of his Dad's war stories rarely told. But this he's got to see.
We meet our friends at breakfast and our host is unhappy with the service. When he talks to our server about his grumpy demeanor it becomes clear this man is the owner of the restaurant not a server.
But ultimately. Our host and restauranteur become friendly and all is well.. We get invited back for dinner.
On our way out the door we recognize our "server" with Princess Diana, famous movie stars, prime ministers and Vienna boys choir in photos that line the walls... (Egg on face...)
A farmers market that takes up 2 city blocks is happening out front of the restaurant. Not far from where our rental car is parked.
Mark wants to head to the paratrooper museum. Roxanne and I negotiate an hour of shopping at the market and then we'll go. He acquiesces... We are off to the market! Yeah!
It's Saturday! Everyone is out! This is a big deal! There is fish, veggies, shoes, flowers and dining room sets. We even saw mattresses. Kids in prams, brides in sandwich boards and Scuba masks (entirely different story), grand parents with carts and people with dogs. There were chickens, pigs and bunnies in crates. There was fresh breads, jams and wines...
Then it dawned on us...didn't we park in this lot last night?
We scurried to where we thought our car was
...and there wedged between the cheese guy and the woman with scarfs...and blocked entirely by the Vietnamese food truck was our Nissan rental car.
Marks shoulders sank in disappointment.
I laughed at the ridiculousness of the entire situation. Which only made Mark mad...
But really, who does stuff like this happen too? Really?
French Profanity was written in the road dust on our car by angry purveyors!
We clearly were taking up prime market space. A ticket flapped under the windshield wiper..
Mark and I did what any out of towner would do...we walked by the car and looked appalled. Who would park on such sacred space the night before the market. Looking puzzled, we walked right by. Owning no part of this calamity.
Mark was disappointed. He was recalculating in his head that we were going to have to go to the paratrooper museum tomorrow...
Meanwhile, our host found out we'd be on the road by 2pm and he'd take care of everything... No worries.
We head to see the Bayeux Tapestry which is ancient. It depicts the Norman invasion and was the original "picture book" for the illiterate towns people. It tells the story of the battle of Hastings. It has survived intact for 9 centuries. Crazy to contemplate! Embroidered, colorful, intact and still telling the story.
We hurried out of the museum as Mark wanted to be back at the car in time to get on the road to St Mere Eglise.
We divide up. The girls go to hotel to retrieve bags and guys go to police to pay ticket ...
Our plan is going to work out. All is well.
Hotel keys don't work. No worries. We get new keys. Time wasted.
Car still blocked in. No worries. We can wait. Mark starts to pace.
Police rip up ticket ! Score! (Stupid Americans!). I get a photo with the two pleasant cops...
And we are off...
Directions always challenging....but finding gas? No that was tricky. We found a gas station but the pump did not work....grumble grumble..
We find gas just before we were going to have to push the Nissan.
Meanwhile the car is covered in french profanity when we pull into busy gas station. What do we know? We can't read it! But the drivers of the cars all around us can...
Lots of staring
Lots of glaring
An occasional smirk
We move on. Museum is open til 7 pm. We've been trying to get there since 9 am. It is now 3:30pm.
Marks quiet. That's his response to stress. Just be quiet.
We make it! The museum is great! The stories are amazing...Mark tells us stories beyond the exhibit and now...
There is no affect. Body language is "droopy". Attitude is...let's just say...unpleasant...
It's been a long chaotic day. We need food.
At 4pm no eating establishments are open until 7pm. Nothing. Ugh!
Our host buys us all banquettes and we head back to Bayeux.
Roxanne and I decide to do laundry. Remember we only have carry on's.
There is a learning curve to french launder-mats, especially if you can't read the language.
We figure it out after much trial and go to neighboring cafe for wine while our clothes spin to cleanness!
It's 8pm. We laugh about the days calamities! We envy the men back at the rooms enjoying a nap or Internet time. We bring the wine with us to the laundry... We are nearly done. When it happens.
Lights out. Door locks. Automatically!
We stand staring at each other with mouths open with only the light of the revolving dryer to see each other with.
Visions of an overnight in a French Laundry are flying thru our heads... Our cell phones nearly dead. Our guys fast asleep. They will never miss us and come looking.
Could this day begin and end more challenging?
The headlines: Two American women found sleeping on top of dryers in downtown laundry...
At least we had wine and clean clothes!
Needless to say there was a lock release button and we were set free with minimum embarrassment...
We didn't have to press our faces against the cold glass and beg passers by for mercy...
We laughed at all the possibilities...
Stuck all night in a laundry...
Stuck all morning at a farmers market...
Today we were just plain STUCK!