Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adieu, adieu to you and you and you!

Well, it's our last morning.
We are waiting for a summons to put our bags outside and then travel with four others to Gare du Líon.
Outside (it being Sunday morning), the river is being used for a rowing /kayaking race and we stand at our window and wave as they travel past at lightening speed.

Our last two days have been full on artist influenced.
We were docked at Vernon on the 9th. day which was a Friday?
This gave us opportunity to cycle again (and with more confidence) to Giverney, some 6 kms. from Vernon. No falling off today!
Firstly we had a trip to Monet's beautiful exquisite jardin and we, like many other like-minded souls oohed and ahhhed at the layout and were able to place some of his paintings with what we saw.
Even though we are now in autumn over here with the changing of the leaves to that glorious rusty red colour, there are still flowers blooming and there is the occasional bee doing his or her job for the honey population of the world.
We enter Monet's home and I noticed a significant colour theme for each room, such was his penchant for all things beautiful.
No dab dark rooms for this man as they are all pastel themed and the furniture remains as it was when he resided there. The kitchen is an amazing enormous room with blue and white tiles as a splash back throughout. It's a very pretty light room and I am sure many a fine meal has been created within these walls.
There are still some of his pieces of art work there as well as other impressionist painters of his time and we are not allowed to photograph them which is rightly so.
I might add, to get to Monet's garden, as we rode our trusty bikes today, this time with Pete who is the gadget man on the trip with his fine array of camera gadgets, including of of those head piece things.
Our fellow bikers are Judy (from H&A) and Bruce and so that makes up our "Team Scenic" as we strive along, all five of us, clocking upwards of 25 kms. per hour as we pedal and occasionally let the motor take over. (I have to get myself one of these I have decided)!
We stopped at a church on the way to the gardens and viewed where Monet was buried with his family and took a quick look inside to appreciate the peace and tranquility. There are so many churches we have entered whilst in France and each one is unique with its sense of serenity and beauty.
We marvel at cows in this countryside and the stone walls along this designated bike/pedestrian path.
People smile and nod as we ride past and we laugh like school kids, enjoying this sense of craziness and freedom. It's amazing how riding bikes brings out the carefree child in us all.
After learning about Monsieur Monet and his beautiful garden, we eventually have to return to our boat.
Peter, Judy and Bruce decide to try out for Le Tour de France and careen as fast as they can back along the bike pathway. 
Later we watch a video Bruce made of Judy as she is speeding along in excess of 30 kms. per hour. I might add that he was riding his bike too trying to keep up at the same time. Needless to say he nearly came a cropper a couple of times which is so funny afterwards but I dare say scary at the time. 
Rather than return to the bateu too soon Murray and I meander back stopping occasionally to gaze at the countryside and just enjoy this leisurely 6 kms. ride. The weather is cool and there are occasional spots of rain but nothing dampens our enthusiasm other than knowing we will soon leave here.
We eventually return to the boat and return our bikes after negotiating the traffic the wrong way around.
Lunch is waiting for us on our return and we catch up with our delightful new friends Mal and Chris and rehash the morning events.
The afternoon sees us sailing on to Vernon (I think) and we chill as the boat glides along socialising  as one does on the cruise.
Remember I spoke at the beginning of the trip about people groups and how our personalities expand as we get to know one another.
We have been blessed with the people on board. The majority are from various parts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Great Britain, Wales and even one couple from The Bahamas. We all appear to get on together with no significant personality traits demonstrated. There are no apparent arguments between groups and despite there being access to alcohol 24/7, no boorish behaviour to complain about either.
The youngest in the group are two women in their thirties who appear to have a good time although I think the night life is not to their liking. The oldest are at least in their eighties and obviously have no intention of stopping their travelling at this stage of their lives either. Out of the 120 odd tourists on board, some are retired, some, like us are continuing to work and are solicitors, an orthopaedic surgeon, writer/actors, medical receptionist (married to the above surgeon), teachers, artists, all from very different walks of like when you take the time to stop and chat.
As the tour progresses and we are closer to the final destination of Paris once more, people are more friendly and email addresses are exchanged with promises of keeping in touch between groups. There is even the occasional Facebook link up as well which is good for the soul, as you can never have enough Facebook friends!

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