Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Exploring Cherbourg

Since our last post at the end of the crossing, we’ve been quite busy. Much of our time has been spent exploring the old town around the marina, looking for an inexpensive café the first day where we could have café au lait and croissants. (We struck out on that but brought pastries back to the boat to have with our tea and coffee.)

Next we went in search of customs and immigration to find out if we needed to clear in. When we arrived at their building, they were closed for lunch, but it was near the La Cité de la Mer, a huge maritime museum, so we went there. Afterwards we found some people in the customs office who were totally confused by our question but arranged for officers to come to our boat the next day.

Our next quest was for a French-English-French dictionary and phrase book for me (Shirlee). My high school French has been amazingly useful, and I’ve confirmed that I still know more French than I’ve managed to learn of Spanish or Portuguese, but it’s nice to have a dictionary.

There’s a huge supermarket that’s quite popular with the Brits within walking distance of the marina, but it’s a hike and we haven’t been there yet. We thought it would be more fun to find little butcher shops, bakeries, and green grocers in the old town. And there’s a farmers’ market every other day. Yesterday we found the farmers’ market and tried a second bakery, not being thrilled with the baguette from the first. I think we’ve got it figured out now where we’ll shop, and it is fun to do it this way. There’s a supermarket near the farmers’ market that look big enough for our purposes. We still have canned food from the Costco run that Mom and I did in Fort Lauderdale, so what we mostly need is fresh stuff. Oh yes, and there’s a big discount wine store right at the marina.

Eating in restaurants here is relatively expensive. Even the blue plate special that most offer (plat du jour) runs at least 6€. With shopping being fun and John being such a good cook, we’ve decided to pick a restaurant for just one dinner out. We have a little restaurant guide, and we’ve been reading the menus posted in the restaurant windows as we explore. When the customs guys came to inspect us, we also asked for their recommendations. We think we’ve found the one, and we’ll read its menu when we go to the tourist office to find out how to get to the D-Day memorials; it’s on the way.

About clearing in, we learned from the customs officers that we don’t have to do it here in France. We cleared into the EU in the Azores, and that’s good enough for them. The procedure is to check in with the marina, and customs and immigration will look us up if they want to talk with us. Another cruiser on a discussion board said that’s what they did in Belgium and the Netherlands too. But since we contacted customs, they were happy to do the most thorough inspection yet of the boat.

Finally, John got lots of photo pages together, and I got them posted on the website. (Look under Recent Updates.) Enjoy!


marcy and dave said...

Dave and I have been following you across the Atlantic and have greatly appreciated the reports...may be a little dry for your other readers, but for sailors, it's been interesting to hear what the sailing and weather is like. Hope all is well including that little pup of yours. We are thinking of you and admiring your adventure!

S/V Jammin said...

Congrats on the crossing. We are glad it was a safe trip and now the exploring begins. We are visiting our daughter in Washington DC for a couple of weeks then off to the west coast. Still plan on staying on land till early October. It is nice to be in the cool nineties for awhile
Have fun Dave annd Helen
S/V Jammin

calicarolino said...

Woooohooo!! Welcome to France! Andrew and I are so happy you made it safe and sound. I'm jealous of all those fresh baguettes and croissants that you'll be enjoying while you're there -- Just look out for where the locals queue up in the morning and you'll be all set! The Roth family just took our first trip as well -- a car trip to Tahoe and back. With Julian and all his gear it almost felt like we were attempting our own Atlantic crossing. :) Our best to you both, we're thinking of you!