By the Sea and By the Harbor

Trip Start May 12, 2012
Trip End May 29, 2012

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Thursday, May 17, 2012

We decided to sleep until we woke up. So we were  up at 9:40.  By 10:40 we were on the road to Etratat and Cote D'Albatre on the English Channel.  We thought we would stop at a gas station or somewhere like that to get some breakfast but never found a good place.  Our first hurdle of the day was crossing the huge cable-stayed bridge the Pont de Normandie over the Seine.  It was long and high and the toll one way was 5 E 20 C.  It took us about an hour to get there and we drove through quaint villages and farm fields.  When we arrived we parked and walked to an area where there were places to eat.  We each had a Croque Monsieur but these were made fresh, not just warmed up.  We took them and walked to the beach and sat and relished them.  We were all hungry. 

We heard a band playing at the other end of the beach and saw a small boat going in circles with a bunch of other boats including what looked like a coast guard cutter following it.  The boat had a priest in it and  he eventually threw a wreath out onto the water.  When we looked it up tonight it was a celebration of the Ascension which included a procession with music and singing and benediction of the sea, hence the laying of the wreath.

The attraction at Etratat/Cote D’Albatre are the cliffs.  Etratat is between two headlands with a nice big beach connecting them.  We walked to the eastern headland and walked up it because the other headland had interesting erosion patterns including what looks like the head of an elephant dipping its trunk into the water.  We hiked up stairs for part of the way and then the path was paved with some breaks like wide stairs.  At the top was a little church, Chapelle Notre Dame de la Garde.  The view from the top was really great.  We walked further along to get a better view of some more of cliffs.  When we hiked down we went to a souvenir shop and  a bakery and had macaroons again.  We had to get the bigger ones as they didn’t have any little ones. 

When we left we headed west toward Le Havre to have a change of scenery on the way back.  Le Havre was a big city but we found our way through it and were still back in about an hour.  We parked at the Hotel and then walked into town to see the Church, St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint.  It is built in the half-timber style, all out of wood, very different from most of the churches in France.  Then we went to the Eugene Boudin Museum.  He was a painter in the late 1800s and is considered a precursor to the modern impressionists.  It was easy to see the connection to both traditional art and impressionistic painting in his work.  There were also exhibits on traditional Norman dress etc. that were very interesting.

When we left the museum we walked toward the harbor but were distracted by a shop that specialized in Regional Products of Normandy.  We got some Miel (honey) and a bottle of cidre to have later.  Then we went down to the harbor and walked around and took pictures.  We settled in lounge chairs at an outside café and had drinks.  I had cidre and they had beer.  We were in a place sheltered from the wind and I fell asleep a couple of times, especially when the sun came out.  From the harbor we walked to The Cider House where we had crepes for supper.  Larry and Derek had sausage, potato and cheese.  Erin and I had mushrooms, cheese and herbs.  We had a pitcher of cidre from a barrel.  After supper we looked to see if the ice cream stand just down the street was still open but it was closed.  So we headed back to the harbor where we had seen Ben and Jerry’s  and got ice cream there.  We ate it as we walked back to Hotel Monet.  When we got back to the Hotel we gathered in our room to drink our cidre and take advantage of the Wifi we can get in our room.  It is supposed to only work in the common room downstairs.  Derek and Erin are three days behind in blogging but they are better rested than me.  Hopefully tonight I will catch up on my sleep.
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Toni K. on

How neat...and such interesting foods to enjoy. I am sure, though, that will all that walking and hiking up and down stairs you are working off all those lovely tasting calories!! LOL

Bobbie on

It all sounds wonderful...and so beautiful! Keep enjoying!

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