Saturday, August 1, 2015

Brest and Cherbourg, France

Brest is a port in the northwest part of France, just before you enter the English Channel. The day we were there was May 1, a Friday. It was the May Day holiday in France; there was basically nothing open in Brest. It was also cold and rainy. Brest was virtually destroyed in World War II. The combination of things let us stay on the ship and not go ashore.

Below is a photo of the inlet. This small patch of blue sky is all the blue we saw that day.






The photo below is from WWII taken by a British plane. This is the German U-boat pens built by the Germans after the capture of France. They were used to refit and repair German submarines, the U-boats. The water could be pumped out of the individual pens thus making it a dry dock. The roof was originally 12 foot thick concrete; as the war went on an additional 20feet of material was added to the roof. Only a handful of bombs ever penetrated the roof and they did very little damage to the interior. The second photo shows these same pens today; they are used by the French navy for small ship repair.









The photo below shows some old fortifications, probably gun emplacements, from WWII.


The next photo shows the pier at Cherbourg. The Titanic docked here before setting out across the Atlantic on its one and only voyage. The old terminal is the building on the left. The large gangways used by the Titanic are still present, and appear to be in pretty good shape for being at least 100 years old. The old terminal is now a museum. There is also an old French nuclear submarine that is part of the museum which can be seen just behind and to the right of the newer building.

The photo below show the Titanic gangways up close and the gangplank for our ship being put together, kind of like an erector set.





When they got our gangplank put together we went ashore. It was cold but not raining. This was Saturday May 2, still part of the French holiday. Below is a fresh seafood vendor, at the end of the dock just before you go into the town. It was cloudy and cold, but no rain. The pier is right next to the old town.


It was market day and their were several vendors on the old square. Below is a vegetable stand followed by two photos of a cheese vendor.













Below are two photos of a seafood shop. Notice the size of the sea scallops in the first photo. The crabs kept trying to crawl out of their bin.








The three photos below are of old Cherbourg. I don't know the name of the church.










Shortly after we got back to the ship We saw a passenger being taken to an ambulance for transport to a hospital I presume. I never heard what the passenger's problem was.



As the ship pulled out of the harbor we passed these old fortifications. These date to the Napoleonic wars and were also used in WWII.

 
Cherbourg was one of the prime targets for capture during the Normandy invasion of WWII. There were several ship sponsored excursions to the Normandy beaches. Having been there a few years ago by car on our own, we declined to go this time.









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