2nd Jun 2012
Hello from Le Havre, France!
Bonjour mes amis! We spent our last day today in France. Our ship arrived early into Le Havre, France and once again, we had outstanding sunny weather. Instead of doing a ship tour, we walked to the train station and bought tickets to a medieval city called Rouen. Although I took French all the way through grade school and even one year into university, we had to use sign language to buy our train tickets. The trip was an hour long through rolling farm fields.
Rouen is a fabulous city and we spent 4 hours walking through it. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the 1400’s, so there is a lot of history here. Although we didn’t plan it this way, there happened to be a big memorial service and parade to commemorate the 600th anniversary of this event. Second only to the parade we attended in Greenwich Village in New York on Hallowe’en night several years ago, this was the wackiest parade we’ve ever seen. There were people dressed up in medieval costumes, some with horses, but there were also an array of a very strange mixture of outfits. For eg, one minute you see a woman who had a long dress on, but it looked like she had barbed wire wrapped around her and the next minute, there were a group of people dressed up like priests or Cardinals. Following them were a group of men dressed in women’s clothing, followed by some people pushing a cart of pots and pans that they were banging on with sticks. Go figure. It was really fun to be a part of the crowd but I’m not really sure it made any sense!
We also walked around the city looking at the churches because there are many of them. There is a Notre Dame Cathedral here, which is 151 metres high – the highest in France. We were able to go inside this church and it is unbelievable how tall it is. We are not much for visiting lots of churches, but this city was really quite incredible.
We also really enjoyed the French atmosphere and overall ambiance – sitting at a sidewalk café sipping a cappuccino, watching people strolling down the street with their baguettes, wine and cheese and of course, watching all the dog walkers let their dog poop on the sidewalk and then walk on without cleaning it up. (Yes, France is wonderful, but there are a couple of negatives too……..)
After taking the train back to Le Havre, we then walked through a flea market near the train station. It sold everything from vegetables to nail polish to mattresses. It was also hopping busy there, but we refrained from purchasing anything. We then took the long walk back to the cruise ship. Randy figures we walked close to 15 km today. It wasn’t supposed to be so warm today either, so we were donned in long pants and jackets, yet it turned out to be in the mid-20’s.
So now we come to the end of our journey. It has been an amazing trip and one we will remember for a long time. We fly back to Vancouver tomorrow night and will then return back to the island on Monday. Who is going to cook all of those nice meals for us? And do our laundry? And put that chocolate on our pillow every night? Something tells me we are in for a big culture starting Monday…..
Thanks to everybody for keeping us informed about what has been happening at home and we look forward to seeing everyone soon!
All our love,
J & R