Thursday, October 23, 2014

Le Havre/Honfleur

'Today is yet to be another big day as we are traveling by bus again, to the Normandy Beaches to view another historical component of our trip. More about that tomorrow.
Today I write about our very brief sojourn into Honfleur yesterday to gaze admiringly at the quaintness of this busy seaside village.

Following our trip to The Somme the other day, Murray and I watched Schindlers List which didn't finish until 2:30 in the morning. Consequently we were very tired yesterday morning but given my shift working hours I was able to adapt to the lack of sleep a little better than Murray.
We had free time in the morning so a sleep in was in order, then up for yet another delicious breakfast.
Mind,  the volume of food is enormous and overwhelming at times.
My breakfast appetite is getting smaller and smaller and whereas on day 1 tried many different foods, now I am happy to settle with porridge, a slice of toast and a cup of coffee to start the day.
Have I spoken about our bed on this boat? I actually want to take it home with me. So very comfortable and follows my every contour as I snuggle up at night and very conducive to a great nights sleep.  I wonder if we can fit it somehow  in our luggage and transport it home with us. Never have I slept in such comfort. Even my bed at home gives me aches and pains of a morning, but this bed has me feeling ever so refreshed on awakening.
Anyway dear reader, I digress from the day's topic.

Following this first meal of the day we went for a stroll across the road to a contemporary shopping complex conveniently situated not far from our docked boat. We purchased a new pair of jeans for Murray plus a couple of gifts for soon to be recipients. They will find out who they are when receiving them!
I might add too that prices are relatively reasonable here compared with what we would pay back home. By the time our shopping foray had ended it was a once more time to return to le bateu for more food...this time in the shape of our daily lunchtime smorgasbord.
It is going to be so difficult to return home and prepare our meals ourselves, not to mention have to make decisions on what to purchase and how to cook it again.
I can well understand why people would want to perpetuate this experience and reside on a boat such as this indefinitely.
Following lunch those who wanted were welcome to join a shuttle bus and venture through the industrial area of Le Havre, and over the enormous span bridge into Honfleur for an historical glimpse into yesteryear.
To gain a full impact of this address dear reader, I suggest you google Honfleur if only to look at the professional photography of this beautiful town. It was unfortunately dull, wet and windy when we were there (thanks Mr. Hurricane), still a photographers paradise mind, but less so than on a clear day with blue skies.
Our day as mentioned before was cold, intermittently wet and unfortunately grey which diminishes the colours that abound as you will see when I eventually get my photographs on line.
There remains though an inherent beauty here with its cobblestone laneways only wide enough for a cart, and our guide regales us with tales of people in the Middle Ages taking their lives in their hands when walking along first thing in the morning as people emptied their chamber pots into the alley ways. We look towards four storey cottages running along the edges of the Quay made of timber and paint. Such tiny little cottages individually painted to reflect their owners colour schemes may have four maybe five storeys on one side and maybe two or three storeys on the other to accomodate the steep hill incline behind the buildings. There is a harbour that houses local fishing boats with shops surrounding it on three sides and beyond there are those little cobblestone streets again winding around and up the hill with shops of all varieties scattered along them. Such a pretty place is this.
We are shown a timber church created in the 1500's that is still standing intact and sit inside briefly to savour the atmosphere of quietness. Durning the wars the churches were taken over by the invading countries and were used as stables for horses so they were often filled with straw, horses and soldiers.
Once the formal part of our tour is over we are given free time to wander at will until five o'clock. I now get to photograph quaint alleyways and steps and shop fronts as well as inspect the goods available to tourists and make a couple of purchases as I go.
I'm still flummoxed occasionally when I speak à la français as people presume my comprehension is much greater than what it is. I then have to confess "Je suis australien" and some laugh and translate what they have said, some just continue on.
It's all part of the fun though and I continue to amble along enjoying my presence here. I have stopped pinching myself but I am ever so grateful for my experiences in what I have seen so far of France.
All too soon it's time to return to the bus that will take us back to our boat and I am so tired I go to dinner n'avec pas une shower.... still in my grotty clothes from the day, but I am past caring.
Dinner is once again a 4 course affair with wines to match. We sit with our friends again, Chris and Marilyn and discuss the day's activities and all we have seen.
Following dinner there is a Dixie Jazz band playing for a bit and they sound pretty good. Murray has gone to bed by now and I sat and listened whilst I blogged for a time.
The drummer from the band decides to play some of his music on my iPad ( they probably thought I was a little rude, blogging as they played) but I laughed and he had a twinkle in his eye so all is good with the world. It is soon time enough for me to wander upstairs to our cabin and it's time for bed yet again.

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