Dublin, Sep 2021
As one of our humans still had a lot belongs left in an attic in Denmark, where he once lived, we were invited to join the travel and bring back the belongings.
We would be driving to Gilleleje, a small town north of Copenhagen and returning to Dublin 2 weeks later. It would be a 4,200 kilometer drive through 6 countries.
Click each photo to enlarge
Read the first half of our trip, from Dublin to Bruges.
Read the second half of our trip, from Antwerp to Gilleleje.
We left Dublin in a very empty car and went south to Rosslare
in County Wexford. We had tickets for the Stenaline ferry
to Cherbourg in France. In fact, one of our humans had gone on
shopping spree by booking the Captain's cabin, wow!
"Boy, I feel at home!" Roger stated as we enjoyed the cabin. "Sitting here in the captain's cabin is my real me."
The Atlantic Ocean, Sep 2021
Sailing south we would be passing Land's End in Cornwall. Normally, this area is windy with huge waves, but today it was all calm. The next day we arrived Cherbourg in Normandy in France.
From Cherbourg we headed east and found our way to the Best Western in Trouville. We had a couple of days to travel around and explore Normandy.
St. Mere Eglise, Normandy, Sep 2021
Normandy is famous for several reasons, but one thing stands out: It was here, on June 6th 1944, that more than 130,000 allied forces went onshore to push back the Nazis during World War 2. During the night, paratroopers were flown from the UK to selected drop zones including St. Mere Eglise. In all, more than one million people were involved in the Operation Overlord, from organizers and infantry to navy crew and air force pilots.
In and around St. Mere Eglise, thousands of paratroopers from the US 82nd Airborne Division landed by parachute and successfully established a bridgehead. One paratrooper, John Steele of Illinois, unfortunately landed on top of the church tower, and his parachute got stock! He was hanging there until dawn, when his fellow paratroopers had captured the village. Today, a mannequin doll is hanging down to resemble the events in 1944.
Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, Sep 2021
We went to another famous landing site; the Pointe du Hoc. Here, US soldiers had to climb a one hundred feet tall cliff and knock out the Nazi positions including guns and canons.
One place where things did not go according to plan was at Omaha Beach. The allied forces' artillery bombardment had failed to knock out the Nazi defences and thousands of soldiers were lost. This memorial sculpture resembles the tail of a B-17 US aircraft bomber.
Omaha Beach, Normandy, Sep 2021
Even today, 77 years later, many people come from everywhere to commemorate the events in June 1944.
We also went to see the US war memorial with its 10,000 graves and we visited the Operation Overlord war museum. Parked in front of the museum is this American Sherman tank.
Duke's Palace, Bruges, Sep 2021
We left Normandy and drove all the way to Bruges in Belgium. Roger
was delighted when he realized, our human had been on a shopping
spree and booked a fine room at the Duke's Palace. A fine place.
"Does that mean I have to shower every day?" McBear asked worried.
It was indeed a fine suite and we had a view to the famous bell
tower in Bruges.
"Are we allowed to jump in the bed?" Tom asked.
Bruges, Sep 2021
We had a large balcony and we even had our own angel standing tall in
"What shall we name her?" Roger asked.
"Well, I bet she's been given so many names by previous guests, so maybe she'll appreciate no more names." McBear said.
We went down in the garden. Having visited the invasion coast in
Normandy, Roger felt inspired.
"We should do a reenactment of the landings" he said excited.
"A reenactment? With what? We don't have an army of a hundred thousand bears." McBear pointed out. "There's only you, me and Tom."
"Well, we'll just be the leaders of Operation Overboard. I am the US general Eisenhover, the supreme commander, Tom is the US general Patton and you are the British field marshall Montgomery."
"Where do you want the invasion to take place? We're in a hotel, it's not exactly Normandy..." McBear pointed out.
"The reception is our Omaha Beach. Tom, you take on the girls in the reception, if you don't mind. They will put up a fierce resistance, so watch out for shelling from yelling and screaming."
"Oh, I don't mind, not at all!"
"McBear, you take the stairs."
"Why the stairs?"
"It's the closest we've got to a Pointe-du-Hoc..."
Bruges, Sep 2021
At the end Roger gave up his reenactment project, thank God.
Instead, we enjoyed some well deserved coffee in one of the lounges.
"This place is actually not bad at all." Roger pondered. "We should come here more often..."
We went to the square to see the Belfry tower. This bell tower dates back to the 13th century and is 83 meters high. One can walk up to the top - there are 366 steps - none of us felt an urge to try it out.
Bruges, Sep 2021
Before we left Bruges we made sure to have our selfie taken at this spot - possibly the most photographed area of the city.
Read the second half of our trip.