We have just returned from France and I realised it was 18 months since I had been there and I think my French vocabulary had suffered a little. Raymond managed to get a number of things done on the boat which pleased him. He went early in the morning and we spent the rest of the day together with visits to Carteret, St Mere Eglise, St Vaast and also one of my favourite places, the estuary. We both had appropriate clothing and wellington boots for working out over the sand and the wild life was wonderful.
Carentan has really improved its facilities over the past few years; I think they must have a direct line to EU funds. The new swimming pool has now been finished and really fits in very well. The market was only about half the usual size on Monday. Whether this has anything to do with the recession I’m not sure. However it does seem to have affected Britanny Ferries where passenger numbers are seriously down. They are even considering ending the crossing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg. This will make our journey from Caen an hour to Carentan but it also means we would not be able to come over as foot passengers and catch the train direct to Carentan.
In the past we have spent a good time looking round the Auchan shopping mall and stocking up on provisions before having a walk around Cherbourg. As a port it is quite interesting and much nicer than Ouistreham which serves Caen. However market forces will prevail and over the years there have been a lot of changes to the ferries. For many years they actually went from Southampton and it seems what is lost does not return.
For many years self-catering was not only enjoyable but very cheap as groceries were about 40% cheaper in France. On the way home we always stopped off at one of the hypermarkets for a large shop – not just wine and cheese but other basics like detergent. This time we actually took a little food to France! Wine is still cheaper and we bought some of our favourite delicacies which we can’t get in England but not the enormous amounts we used to. We used to laugh on our journey home on the M27 to see so many other laden cars practically scraping the road.
We had the luxury of being able to stay in Peter and Sarah’s spacious gite and I was able to walk into town. The countryside around is really fascinating. You can see this on www.vacationsinnormandy.com/contacts