Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day Four of the Cruise

Now it's Thursday, and just after 2:30pm, London time. I'm uploading some pictures to Flickr, just because it's easy and they get formatted conveniently. Our ship is resting outside of Cork, Ireland, and we've already done our day tour. Word to the wise: never take any "Leisurely Tour of _______" excursions, for though it sounds like walking around a town and learning interesting facts about it, it actually entails riding around in a bus, swiftly through the countryside, for a few hours. We did stop in Blarney, and after perusing their considerable gift shop, I did have a pint of Murphy's in their tourists' pub. The Murphy's would have been more appropriate in Cork, being the home of it, but there was no opportunity to drink--or walk--in Cork. I picked up a nice green wool sweater, however, and tomorrow I will visit the Guinness plant in Dublin.

Yesterday, what the hell did I do yesterday... That was Cherbourg, and we bused halfway back to Le Havre, where we started, and visited the beaches of Normandy as part of a comprehensive D-Day tour. As much as America loves to mock and ridicule France, I'm shocked that any part of France thinks favorably of the US, yet nearly every village in Normandy is continuously and unfailingly grateful to the US, posting American flags and fresh flowers everywhere you go. This is even more inexplicable when you realize that the Germans never destroyed anything in France, since France surrendered immediately, but the Americans bombed the holy fuck out of the countryside, obliterating homes, farms, all sorts of centuries-old buildings, in an effort to get at the Nazis, bombing that proved largely ineffectual and which did not contribute significantly to our success against Germany. Despite all that, they still like us, and we belittle and degrade them at every opportunity.

The day before, Le Havre showed me that just because a thing is European, it does not mean it is elegant or clean, and just because a person is French, it does not mean they are attractive or slender. There are things to like in this maritime settlement, but I think there's more to do in Minneapolis, which surprised me. Granted, we don't have any buildings from 1520 AD, but still.

Oh! And yesterday was the Big Dinner on the ship, where everyone was asked to dress formally. In honor of my trip to France, I did request the escargots bourgnonne for an appetizer. I didn't expect to like it, having a strong idea of snails in my head, but it was exceedingly delicious! Consistency somewhere between smoked oysters and portobello mushrooms, honestly, and it was baked in butter, garlic, and herbs, the sauce of which I sopped up with brown bread. It was a rewarding experience, indeed. Tonight, however, I'm playing it safe and going to the cigar-sampling event.

It's a good cruise. It's not enough to spend a day in a town and claim to have "seen" it, I know I'll need to come back and trek at my leisure, but when could I do that? Yet people do.

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