Wow! What a day…it's been a long ol' one but so much fun!
'Pour quoi?' I hear you ask, well you see today we went to France – oui oui! Off we went for a day of relaxation sailing across the English channel, taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful quirky Cherbourg.
We arrived at the port at 'sparrows fart' as the fella INSISTS on being mega early for everything, so we were 45mins early (but hey it gave us a chance for a rather lush coffee at Harry Rocks Cafe so I won't complain) and we were not put off by the grey skies – oh no! We'd been reliably informed the bad weather was going to touch us but pass quickly so we weren't too worried, indeed the seagulls were more of a concern!!
To begin with all went without a hitch…(well with only a mild panic moment when my underwired bra set off the metal detector – I offered to take it off but apparently that wasn't needed) and soon we were part of the mad dash to deck 7, to find a table and set up base for the next 4hrs…that achieved we settled in for some croissants and crosswords, a few games of rummy (the fella can count cards better than me so needless to say I lose most of the time) and a bit of light reading…niiice
Of course the weather didn't want to play the game by the rules…nope, that would be far too simple. Instead, the rain swept in and the sea heaved to and fro…my gills went a tad green and I gave in to a light snooze to avoid the nausea (but good news I did NOT snore!) and by all accounts I missed the worst of the rolling around – so all was well.
Coming into the harbour is always a great moment; I love seeing the land rise up from the horizon and the blurred shapes become buildings, cranes and the like. On a sunny day Cherbourg is part of quite a sweet coast line but today it was shrouded in mist…but we stood on the deck anyway and were buffeted by the wind and rain – we were probably a crazy sight but we had fun!
We got dropped off 'centre ville' and headed for the Musee de la Liberation…it was about a 30 minute walk along the waterfront and through a beautiful public garden – well I say beautiful as that's what I'm sure it is when you can actually open your eyes and see it – today the rain was lashing down so hard we could barely look out from under our hoods! Disappointingly we found the museum closed so headed back to centre ville, splashing in the deepening puddles as we went.
We wandered the cobbled streets and found a lovely old theatre and courtyard with a massive fountain before spotting a red cafe 'Cafe de l'etoile' which had a big canopy outside sheltering seats and tables…which were crammed full of people sipping their bieres, vin rouge and cafe au lait – I always think it's a good sign if a cafe is full so we snuck a table and ordered our own vin rouge – it was joyous! We were wet through but there were heaters which warmed and dried us a little; we sat listening to music, chattered and people watched…
It was a day of umbrellas – it's amazing how many different shapes, colours and sizes there are – qui savait?! qui savait?! – although it appeared the majority of the residents were proudly using umbrellas from the local designer Le Veritable Cherbourg – beautifully crafted umbrellas, discreetly logo'd, all sorts of colours and sturdy against the whipping wind! (Can you tell I really want one!?! This is now top of my Christmas list!!)
Umbrellas are definitely a 'thing' in Cherbourg…I think there's been a movie and in one courtyard there's lots strung up on high…whatever the reason, it's awfully pretty and fun!
We visited La Cave a Fromages (I did rather love the cow) which had the most amazing array of cheeses ever and I was very chuffed that my attempts at ordering cheese and butter seemed to be understood as we got exactly what I thought I'd asked for – hurrah!!
After that we just had time to grab some bread and a crepe au caramel from the local boulangerie before we splishsplashsploshed our way back to the ferry.
The crossing back was calm and by the time we got back to good ol' Blighty the weather had improved so we could stand out on deck and see the twinkling lights of the harbour.
Ahh what a day…perfick! Or as Del Boy might also say: "mangetout Rodney, mangetout"