After being met at the airport by Patrice, our driver, we loaded up the bus and headed out on the road for the 5 hour drive to Cherbourg. Along the way, we stopped at a rest stop for lunch. This was not like the kind of rest stops we are accustomed to seeing on US highways. This rest stop had several restaurants in it. It also served items like cheese plates, quiche, croissants and espresso.
Heading down the highway, I was struck by how the radio station selected by the driver was both like American radio stations and yet not. For example, there were plenty of songs from the American pop charts. It is safe to say that radio announcers sound the same whether they are speaking English or French. You could tell if they were having a chat between the DJs or reading the hour’s news. You certainly knew when it was an advertisement. The difference was that beyond the American music there was also French pop and perhaps other languages as well. This spoke to me about the universality of music, which, of course, is why we are even on this trip.
We arrived in Cherbourg about 5 pm local time. Cherbourg is home to a sister institution with Pellissippi State (IUT Cherbourg) and we have hosted students from their school as well as sending groups over to Cherbourg for over 10 years. The man who is most responsible for the France side of this exchange met us at the hotel and took us for a walk around town to see the harbor, sailboats, a statue of Napolean, the theatre and other local sites.
After that tour, we visited a small grocery store to pick up snacks and other provisions for the next few days as they are very busy. Dinner was at a local restaurant called The Fifties Diner. The food was not terribly diner but it was very delicious. We even had to take pictures of the dessert which was a puff pastry filled with ice cream and covered with chocolate sauce. Dr. Edwards has also introduced the group to mini-beignets so we are well on our way to becoming big French foodies (well, some of us are).
If you are having problems with the slideshows, you can enjoy it here: a slideshow of some pictures of our day here in Cherbourg.