Our tour started at 12:30. Kent and I killed some time in the morning eating the complimentary breakfast (more of what they offered at the hostel: feta cheese, another kind of cheese, odd crunchy salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, orange drink, instant coffee, tea, bread, honey, butter and jam (in little containers)), while Tom stayed in bed. Eventually, we settled in the lobby and met another Australian couple (husband and wife) who would join us on the tour.
I found it so interesting that the Aussies and Kiwis (and to a much lesser extend, the Brits) attached so much importance to visiting this place. They all knew the names of the major battle sites and the general timeline of events. In fact, talking about it with Kent before we got there, I pretty much knew everything our tour guide had to tell us. Seeing the actual sites, the cemeteries and monuments was very meaningful to my tour companions. I know I didn't experience it the same way they did.
I tried to think of something equivalent for Americans. The D-Day beaches? Perhaps, but it's not a place where we make a pilgrimage. This was like a pilgrimage. Maybe DC and all of its monuments? I'm not sure.
We got back to the hostel around 4:30 and relaxed for a while before going for a meal with Tom. We were pretty bored. Kent wanted to go to another hostel nearby to see if they had a book exchange. When we got there, the owner and a few of his old-timer buddies were the only people there and they greeted us warmly. We had a beer at their little bar and, eventually, Kent went back to our place and told Tom to come over. We hung out there for a while and then it was late enough to go to sleep--Tom stayed up a for a while watching tv, though. Kent did get a book (he only read half before rejecting it--I adopted it).
Grateful for: new perspective.