Etretat

We got up at 10:00 am, but I’m going to use the one hour time change between England and France as the excuse.

They have a nice assortment of workout machine on the gym, although I realized that when Linda is on the treadmills she is looking at the view, while I’m looking at the drapes above the window. Anyway, Le Havre is a working port, so the view isn’t exactly scenic.

We met Martin for lunch at the creperie. The crepes were quite authentic, although I need to find a filling better than the overcooked eggplant that was in mine.

Our after noon tour took us north to the alabaster coast, so named for the which chalk cliffs. All five of us were booked for this tour, but Emilio and Audrey missed the message about the time change.

Our first stop was at the Benedictine factory and museum in Fecamp. Benedictine is a liqueur made by infusing alcohol with sugar and herbs. The founder of the company was a good marketer, and used some of the profits to build what amounts to a palace filled with collections of somewhat random objects such as religious icons and metal locks. We toured the museum and the factory, a surprisingly small space considering the make 1.5 million bottles a year. The underground cellars are extensive, since the product needs to be aged for 30 months. Afterward we were able to taste the original Benedictine or B&B, a blend with brandy. There is also a special cask version that is less sweet. Linda and I like it best, but it is only available at the factory shop, and hardly seemed worth the trouble to transport.

Our other stop was at Etretat, the coastal town that is bracketed by arches worn into the cliffs on both side. Linda and I climbed to the top of the 300-foot cliffs and enjoyed the view as the late afternoon sun set.

Back at the ship Martin helped us consume the afternoon’s canap├ęs and then we went to dinner in the main dining room, where we enjoyed the first half of a 2000 Ch. Smith Haut Lafite blanc that was all about passionfruit, and a 2009 Caymus Special Selection that vacillated between chocolate and tobacco. I suspect that in a couple of days the rest of that bottle will be extraordinary.

After dinner we enjoyed piano entertainer Perry Grant in the intimate Michael’s nightclub. His very gay / Judy Garland fixation / interrogation of the audio about their kitchen amenities was quite funny, but could get tiresome if his act doesn’t changes from night to night. Excellent singer and piano player, though.

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