Gentle Reader, At long last we'll fill you in on our summer cruise along the Atlantic coast of France. By now, it's ancient history and some of the photos were already on Facebook, but it was such a wonderful cruise, why not relive it.
After a lovely 10 day visit to Cornwall, we crossed the English Channel from Plymouth to Brest in NW France. (Well, really it's in Bretagne, or Brittany to English speakers.
Our friends, Catherine et Pierre, who we met in the Bahamas live nearby and gave us a warm welcome. Pierre took us to the chandleries and supermarket. One main problem to resolve was cooking gas. Portable gas tanks are not refillable in France, and the standard fittings are different than our American ones. So Pierre got us set up with Camping Gaz bottles, hoses and regulator.
|one of several memorials to US troops
Brest is a wonderful town. They try very hard to keep it clean.... This is a reminder to pick up after walking the dog.
After some catastrophic modern shipwrecks that cause huge oil spills, the French posted some gigantic remorques, giant tugboats to rescue ships in distress. They can tow container ships. The Abeille Bourbon was so big, it was hard to get it all in one photo. It was open for public tours, and was really impressive. Anytime there is a gale, the ship puts to sea to be ready for an accident. I guess the crew must have cast iron stomachs.
The harbor, the Rade de Brest, is a wonderful, enclosed, deep body of water surrounded by small villages. Perfect for cruising and a submarine base. We were underway when a sub was being towed out, and the Gendarmes came around and very politely asked us where we are going and please to clear the way. We could overhear them on the radio to other boats, and they were as polite with all boats.
During WWII, Germany had a navy base and a submarine base in the city. The surface ships were moored in the river and this section of town was obliterated by allied bombing. The locals joke that they bombed everything but the submarine pens. The bridge in the photo below replaces the famous Pont National that way destroyed during the war.
Here is large piece of art from the town. If you look closely, you can see plants growing out of the metal tree.