Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 4 - The Road to Port-en-Bessin-Huppain

Day 4 dawned with your Ramblers yet again slow to rise. Could be the jet lag still lingering or the wine or both, who knows. Anyhoo, we got on the road about 10am after first hitting up the local artisan boulanger (which means baker, and every town has the same sign) for some awesome croissants and some bottled water for breakfast. We pointed Gabrielle towards our destination and off we went in search of 250 kilometers of French countryside and interstate.  Making good time, we decided to stop in Le Mans (yes, the race is named for the town) to take a quick look-see at Cathédrale St-Julien du Mans in Cité Plantagenêt. The cathedral construction began in 1080 and went through several phases, taking over 500 years to complete. One of the stained glass window panes, dating back from the twelve century, is actually the oldest stained glass still standing in the world.  It is impressive and still in use.

After our visit to the cathedral, we hit the highway again; shortly thereafter we started getting a little hungry (and our Volvo was in need of gazole (diesel). We pulled off when we saw signs for the same and ended up in a combo outlet mall park and Costco-type hyper market called Cora. After determining that foreign gas pumps do not like foreign credit cards (your Ramblers had the same experience in Canada) we got in the cash line, put 20 euros worth of gazole in the tank (so as not to bleed off all the cash on hand) and then went to pay. As luck would have it, the humans will take foreign credit cards (just like Canada) and we paid for our diesel on plastic. We then ventured into the Cora, which is like a super large grocery market to buy a few supplies and some cheap lunch. The Rambler shopping list  included a new razor for Rambler Hance, who broke the one he brought, some bottled water, a box of croissants, a package of ham and some packaged sliced cheese (which is not easy to find in France unless it is swiss cheese) and a sweet treat for Rambler Jane. We proceeded to the checkout line only to get behind a woman apparently was shopping to feed Napoleon's army, and after waiting were told in French we needed a Cora card to be in that line and to go to the cash line. (The cash line was the one we initially avoided because the sign above it showed the outline of a pregnant woman and a wheelchair, neither of which applied to us.)  So off we went. When we proceeded to pay, we asked if we could pay with a credit card and the cashier said "oui" but then Rambler Hance realized he had left the credit card at the gas station drive-up window of the Cora metropolis. We paid cash for our purchases and hurried back over to cash booth at the gas station; fortunately, the cashier happily recognized us and handed over our card.

After a short picnic in the Cora parking lot, we were back on the road to Port-en-Bessin-Huppain and our next abode at Chateau La Cheneviere.  This hotel is close to all the Normandy visitation points and is very nice. We had an exceptional dinner (our 25th anniversary and Rambler rating: 5 stars) and the hotel was aware of our anniversary (thanks to our travel agent, Dale) and gave us several benefits, including a free aperitif and a bottle of Pommeau de Normandie.

Chateau La Cheneviere: Side View

Main View
Dinner Pic 
Rambler Jane displaying our anniversary number
After dinner and some decafe it was midnight (another meal pushing 3 hours long) and time to hit the hay because tomorrow we visit the D-Day sites Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc.

Until then, au revoir and keep rambling.

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