Staying away from the tourists

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Important things first. After getting up I go for a stroll to the bakery to get some croissants for brekkie. 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning I meet about a dozen people if that. I suppose it's still pretty cold, maybe 4-5 degrees. After brekkie we decided to go to Caen as Honfleur would be pretty busy with tourists on a Sunday and the sky looks pretty grey. The GPS takes us along the coast through all the little towns but they are all joined to each other so the speed is 30 - 50kph just about all the 68K's. Coming into Caen some streets are closed for Sunday market and some for bike races. Of course they are the ones I am supposed to drive on. No wonder I got grey hair! How am I going to follow the GPS's instructions. Spat the dummy and found a parking spot on the footpath (adopting bad habits quickly) and headed up to the castle for a look. William the Conqueror had it built in the 60's (1060) Caen grew in size and stature, acquiring political importance when the Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, and his queen Matilda chose to reside here. From the castle we walked to the Abbey des Dames where Matilda is buried. From there we walked via the Sunday market to our car. Can't miss a good market. After asking for directions from a native we drove to the Abbey des hommes. It's a huge place, quite impressive. Parts of it is being used as La Hotel de ville. After a quick snack on the run we started heading back towards Honfleur via Beuvron en Auge a nice little place in Calvados. We had to do the right thing by the natives and support  the local economy of course. Not that we wanted to! But it gave us a good reason to hurry back to Honfleur and put the car to bed for the day. Nearly forgot to mention about sampling the new purchase. 
Just walking around Honfleur enjoying the scenery, taking photos and doing a bit of shopping. Talk about shopping! We bought 4 chicken legs (coq au vin) allready cooked, 1 packet of mediterranian rice, broccoli and a bottle of Cotes du Rhone for A$ 16.20. It was a great feed and cheap at that! Carrefour you can cook my dinner any time! Pity they don't wash up!  During the afternoon we go for another walk and spend a bit of time planning our next trip.
Went for a drive to Deauville. It's a beach resort on the English Channel with some very fancy beach houses. Tres chic, tres froggy! From there we headed back to Honfleur which is dominated by a harbour that is divided into several basins. The vieux-bassin is surrounded by cafes,  restaurants and art galleries. The harbour entrance leads out into the Seine River Estuary which is dominated by le Pont Normandie which leads across the river to Le Havre on the opposite side. Most the streets lead from the vieux-bassin away into the old town. In one square is L'Eglise Sainte-Catherine built in the 15th century. It was built by sailors and the inside looks like an upside down galley. It is the largest wooden church in France. It's tower stands about 50m away across the square and on Wednesdays the local market is in the middle of it all. Sainte Leonard church dominates an other square and it dates back to around the same time. Outside of town on top of a hill is the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Grace. There are ships all through the chapel left behind by thankful mariners. It was built in 1065 and renovated in the 15 century. (No, I haven't gone all religious yet!) They built a wooden frame beside the chapel for all the bells to hang there in the open. Looks quite different!  Monet and Boudin  were just 2 artists that used to come here  to paint.

Another day another journey. Today we went over the Normandie bridge to a little place called Etretat. It's on the English Channel like Honfleur, but it has great looking cliffs.( A bit like the Great Ocean Road.)
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Pamela on

Thanks Steve, love the way you are talking, eating, and drinking us through your travels. 1060 ... Australia still had dinasours then :-). Don't you think it is amazing how a lot of these monumental buildings are still standing sturdy after a 1000 years. Good architects and stone masons in those days. Thinking of you both and can't wait to read the next installment. xoxoxoo from a very cold Amstelveen... still!!! We were planning to go on a train trip to Groningen (in the north of the Netherlands) this Saturday, but will postpone it for a week or 2... the temperature needs to get above the 10c!! This eastern wind has put us all back a month and the poor garden centers are having such a bad time. This is the month that people usually get their gardens ready for the rest of Spring and the Summer. I am wondering if Global warming means that the poles are smelting and the ice is moving south :-(..... lots of love, Pam xoxoxo

Chris Campbell on

Love the thought of already prepared coq au vin. Still resurrecting your blogs from spam! Hope you received my recent email and that you're still happy for me to meet you in Alsace!!

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