We arrived in La Haye-du-Puits around 5:30 P.M and said goodbye to our friends who had a two-hour ride back to Brittany. Hopefully they will visit us in Sarasota some day so we can treat them as royally as they have done us.
The store fronts are decorated for the commemorations and there is a festive air in town, and a lot of foreigners in the cafés and eateries. People do not want to forget.
The bike shop was closed by the time we got there, but the Tourist Office was open and they gave us the bus schedules. It takes two buses to get to Sainte-Mère-Église from here and the schedules do not coincide. We missed the 7:33 bus that connected with the one we wanted. Instead we took the early afternoon bus and hitched to Sainte-Mère-Église.
The town was filled with people reenacting the liberation. There were Jeeps, trucks, uniforms, and women dressed in the 40s style, even wearing pancake makeup. There are a lot of American GIs. We spoke with Airborne men who will be jumping on Sunday using the old chutes and jumping from C47s. They were thrilled to have the opportunity to use the traditional chutes.
Some of the veteran’s of D-Day have returned. Ninety-three year old Jim “Peewee” Martin from the 101st Airborne, parachuted into the same area as he did 70 years ago from a C47, the same kind of plane used back then,. He said, “It didn’t compare because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”
In town, I inquired at the Tourist Office if the buses were operating on time and from the usual place–there was only one bus that would make the connection back to La Haye-du-Puits. Yes, as usual was the reply. We stood at the bus stop for about 45 minutes when a local told us the bus had been rerouted. Fortunately the bus was running late and we were able to catch the one at the transfer.
Back at La Haye-du-Puits, we contacted the bike rental place and made arrangements for the next three days. Hopefully the rain and wind and cold will dissipate.