I don't always think people pay much attention to their mission statements but Greg saw the owner's statement at Les Bleuet's and we definitely saw demonstrations of his desire to provide good service. Two young women asked for a taxi to go to the bus station and instead, he offered to drive them. Later that morning, a couple inquired about going to Honflueur Hospital since the man had been in an accident and was doing poorly. Our motel owner didn't recommend going there and instead drove them to the airport so that they could return home to Brazil. In the afternoon, he
chatted with Greg and he recommended two restaurants. He told Greg he had once been a restauranteur and knew which ones were clean and had good food. He practices what he advises since when we walked into Deux Pont, there he was with three other people.
Before we arrived in France, I had learned that entree here means a starter and since we chose a fixed menu that included 4 courses, we chose poisson soup as our entree.
Then for our “plat” we had the “poisson du jour” which was a very moist salmon with a lovely sauce. We cleansed our palates with a small salad and two pieces of camembert cheese. By this time we were getting rather full but that didn't stop us from having our fourth course: Greg chose Creme Brulee and I chose Chocolate Mousse – both of them delicious and need I add, high caloried.
This morning, September 18th, we drove to Caen looking for the War Memorial. Unfortunately we failed to give a specific address to our helpful GPS and we drove through the centre of Caen and finally out onto the peripherique where we should have been much sooner. We had a longer drive but we were impressed by our GPS that made adjustments to our wrong turns. Greg who had been indifferent to having a GPS actualy said that he doesn't know how we would have managed without it. I had been concerned when we got our rental car that we were going to drive away without getting instructions on how to use it. I was rather insistent that we talk to the assistant there and she showed us what to do. We were especially grateful that she changed the language from French to English!!
We finally arrived at Caen and spent several hours at the War Memorial. I hadn't slept that well the night before and so I googled positive characteristics of Hitler wondering if the speaker I had listened to on the plane about Theology of Beauty was accurate: Does everyone have some beauty residing in them? Or can some people just be pure evil? Did Hitler have some spark of God in him? He didn't have much of a start in life having a father who beat him. However it looks like he was able to love since he had a positive relationship with his father's third wife. He must have appreciated beauty since he longed to be an art student until the school in Vienna rejected him. And of course during the war, he collected many art treasures. Perhaps this lecturer is accurate when she says we are composed of two realities: one that comes from God and one that is filled with illusions and deceptions. Most likely, false reality became more and more dominant in Hitler and finally squeezed out any indications of true and good beauty. Sadly, much of the German population became equally duped by Hitler's charisma and persuasive speeches. Therefore our experience at the War Memorial was much more sobering than our experience at Monet's garden as we comprehended what happens when we focus on pride, greed, hate, and imperialism. To think that it was after the war that a new term was necessary to describe the horrific attempt at destroying an entire race of people: Genocide.
However, just as the polar opposite of God's Beauty was apparent during World War II, we also saw many examples of goodness and truth as soldiers risked their lives to defend democracy, and as they risked their lives to run out into the fighting field to rescue another soldier. I appreciated Eisenhower's simple speech that he had prepared in case the battles in Normandy failed when he said that only he could be held responsible for failing – that the brave soldiers did everything they could. This war memorial became a perfect demonstration of how we have two choices: choose illusions and deception for our reality or choose God's truth and embrace nobility, courage, idealism, and heroism. Thankfully, these battles at Normandy lead to a reversal of Hitler's imperialism and there would soon be closure to this terrible war.
We returned to Honfluer and planned having an early dinner. Unfortunately, the second restaurant our landlord suggested was quite full. We were seated near the door and we were getting really chilled with the cold wind blowing at us. We decided to leave. We eventually ended up at the same restaurant as last night. Our experience wasn't quite as positive but we still enjoyed our four course meal. Sadly, it was too cold for a long walk to wear off at least one piece of our camembert cheese!
The next morning on September 19th, we left the pretty town of Honfleur.