As a photographer, I had been to the D-Day landing areas several times before, initially with, and later without guides. And although there are places that I will return to time and again, such as the US Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, on this occasion I wanted to go to out of the way places--places perhaps little known, little visited, little photographed, and of less general interest. I could not have had a better day with a better companion and guide than Sylvain! He made the day.
Sylvain is a passionate, life-long student of the Normandy Invasion. His knowledge is encyclopedic, and his enthusiasm is contagious. We did, indeed, visit some of the frequently visited locations, where he was able to impart perspectives and knowledge of the events hitherto known to me. I learned that when he is not conducting tours he is constantly researching and searching for as-yet undiscovered relics and remnants of the Normandy campaign--and he is successful! Armed with information I had obtained from another researcher, together we discovered the remnants of a Tobruk that was previously unknown to him (and likely known to few others).
It was an experience that was exciting, enlightening, and absolutely worthwhile. And as enjoyable as it was for me, it was clear that it was just as enjoyable for my engaging and personable guide. Absolutely wonderful.
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