April 20, 2010 – Tuesday – Cherbourg, France
I have a lot to do today.
It's my first real day in France.
I prefer not to remember my many wanderings yesterday.
Looking for a BNP Paribas bank, a small grocery store, the post office, ...
I have to go to the train station and get my Carte Senior to prove that the train tickets I bought are entitled to my senior discount.
That's 60+ in France and it saves you 25-50%.
I need to pick up the tickets I bought online for Cherbourg to Pontorson.
I need to figure out the bus system here.
I need to mail my key back to Ireland.
When will I find time to cavort with Mme FiFi?
So I start my walk down to the Gare.
I run into the central square with a street market in progress.
It was just a block from where I gave up looking for things last night.
I'm real tempted to stop for a nice sausage.
But, it's a little early, and the train station is the #1 priority.
I like Cherbourg.
It's a nice little town, but my real desire is to get to Mont-St-Michel.
And it has a pretty good sized theater.
I'll put it on my list for another visit.
I had walked a long way last night looking for a bank that doesn't charge me a fee to get money at the ATM.
I use Bank of America and their partner in France is BNP Paribas.
I never found it so I got money from a Credit Agricole.
Well, here it is on the way to the train station.
I get to the train station, buy my Carte Senior, and collect my tickets for both Cherbourg to Pontorson, as well as Pontorson to Barcelona.
It's a nice efficient station and my French worked well enough.
I walk back up towards the hotel and stop at the little grocery store I saw on the way down.
As I get to the store, I run across a homeless guy asking for spare change.
In France I usually have a lot of spare change because it's a lot of bother to count out correct change all the time.
I keep it all for giving to the homeless people.
I had a whole baggie of it, which I left at the room.
So I tell the homeless dude, I'll be back after I go to the store.
He's the one sitting on the sidewalk.
Well positioned next to the ATM machine.
I go to the store and buy a cubitainer of wine, and give him the change.
If someday you wind up in Cherbourg and I'm the guy on the street, please do the same for me.
I start back up to the hotel and stop at a bus stop and read the map of bus routes.
It turns out there was a bus a few blocks from the ferry port that would have taken me the center of town.
So much for information desks.
I find the bus route between my hotel and the train station for the next day.
It stops within a couple of short blocks of my hotel.
I mention short here because in some cities like Las Vegas and Paris a couple of blocks can be a half mile or more.
On the way back I stop at the Post Office and get a mailer for the key I forgot to return in Ireland.
I get to the room and relax with a glass of cubitainer wine.
After a brief nap of 2 hours, I hit the streets again and decide to test out the free WiFi at the joint down the corner.
It works pretty well, the password is cherbourg, which is a refreshing change from 40 hexadecimal digits.
And the beer is good.
I leave and take a little more of a walk and discover that the 2nd Amendment and NRA are alive and well in France.
I suspect partial term Governor Palin has an interest in this operation.
You could take out a bunch of moose with one of these.
So, it gets late and time for dinner.
I stop at this Thai place and start with a little pichet of Sauvignon Blanc and some peanuts and olives.
Then I opt for the chicken satay.
Nice sauce but the chicken is a little dry.
And the frites are as usual in France, pretty good.