The bus arrived at the bus stop just outside our “Airies” to take us into Saint-Nazaire but refused to allow us on because we had Sooty and Bella with us. Up ‘till now we had always marvelled at the French as they were so dog friendly, what happened? So back to “Rosie” and Plan “B”, we had a cuppa and I went back to the bus stop alone and left Christine to go for a long walk along the cliff tops.
Three quarters of an hour later (at the end of the line, I didn’t get off in time!) I was walking back to the U Boat pens.
These pens are still as large and complete as they were after the Germans surrendered. Apparently, after the war the French tried to blow them up but they were so well constructed they couldn’t’ do it,
German efficiency for you, even then!!!
Anyway I had a good “poke about” and then walked around the large basin, enjoying a savoury crepe along the way, and then visited the Museum, very interesting. Apart from the British raid in 1942 when we sailed an old ex US destroyer into the Lock Gates to prevent the German battleships from having dry dock facility on the west coast of France,
and the U boat pens, I thought that was it, but no, there have been folk living in this area since the Neolithic (10,000 – 3,000 BC) age with the creation of the artificial harbour facilities in the 1830’s when it became the centre of the French Slave Trade. Saint-Nazaire also became a ship building centre, which still carries on today; in fact there were 2 enormous Cruise Liners being built,
and they say there is no money about!!!
Another thing I didn’t know was that Saint Nazaire was the port used by the Americans when they arrived in 1917 to “win” the First World War. It was also their port of embarkation when it was all over. According to the Museum records they were welcomed with open arms when they arrived but were hated by the locals at the end of their stay: We’ve heard of this before in another place haven’t we!!
It doesn’t end there, aircraft building has gone on here since the dawn of flying and today they construct parts of the fuselage for airbuses, including new 555 seater 380 versions.
Lastly there was a Submarine in one of the pens, bringing it to life. Unfortunately it wasn’t a U Boat, it was a 1960’s French Sub,
never mind I went aboard, interesting, and it had much more space than the WW2 Subs I had been over before.
A very enjoyable day, unfortunately on my own but I am not too sure Christine would have enjoyed it.
Back on the bus which stopped literally next to “Rosie”, feet up as they are worn out, and Christine cooked a “Chicken in Basil” with fresh vegetables, very good.