We spend the morning in Rouen taking our time, finally getting in the rhythm and stride of traveling. We do brief exploration in the old city (by the way, 80% of the city was flattened in WWII and was rebuilt – The terrible cost of war is more real in Europe, than in North America where it was something that happened “over there”). We find an exquisite little coffee bar (they also serve beer and espresso) – the décor is a blend of French and Italian – we feel on top of things since we learned yesterday how to ask for a refill (funny how you get grateful for the small things when you’re out of your element).
Then we revisit the site of Joan’s burning, sitting on an old wall eating a breakfast wrap, feeding the French sparrows.
After a brief and effective shopping spree for women’s clothes, we’re off. The joke here is Mark was checking out and asked the receptionist to tell his wife to “stay here” when she showed up – the girl said, “How will I know her?” He said, “She looks American” – gales of laughter – hurrumph.
Next stop is Normandy to pay our respects to all those thousands of young soldiers who died stopping the Nazis.
On the way, we drive over a bridge, the Punt de Normandie, erected in 1995. It is a combination of French flair, avant architecture, and practicality – we drive over and back, 5 Euros each way, just to experience it – the pictures tell the rest.
The region in Calvados, land of Camembert and apple cider/brandy.
The seaside town of Honfleur is amazing in its old world charm – a place for artists and sailing aficionados come to drink in the scenery where the Seine meets the English Channel.
We spend the afternoon walking around square-cobble stoned streets – the Bassin (basin) is a little square and most picturesque harbor surrounded by terrace restaurants – a 100-year-old carousel in one corner. We eat in a lovely stereotypical French restaurant, the Brits at another table taking pictures of the beautiful plate presentation.
We make our way back to our hotel taking pictures of this charming little town, looking at the remnants of bullet holes in house walls, still present from WWII.