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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Touring in the rain...... Le Havre Style...

You can now tell that we have left the Mediterranean as we are sailing with cloudy skies and choppy water..... Out came the suitcase with the winter clothes.  With our laziness to get out of bed quickly, we missed the first part of the sail in. I was really hoping to be out on deck when we passed the Le Havre webcam but we had just passed it as I made it out the door.
Today I had prebooked with Taxis Le Havre for a tour that took us into Le Havre, Eretrat, Fecamp then down to Deauville, finishing off in Honfluer.
Our driver was Philippe a lovely man who has spent all his life in Le Havre.  He first took us to see a little of Le Havre.  We visited the Marina area then on St Joseph’s Church.  This was built as a monument to the victims of the bombardments.  From the ship it looked like a high rise building but when you looked closer you see that there is a cross on top.  It is meant to symbolize a Light House that can be seen from the sea.  The church is built around a hexagon shape with the centre being the tower that rises high.
Then we drove up to Eretrat, passing some beautiful homes overlooking the sea.  At Eretrat Philippe took us up to the look out which of course had a church perched  at the top ... From here you could see the cliffs which mirrored the White cliffs of Dover.
There was a pathway we could follow that led us back down the beach area.  No sand just pebbles.... well more like boulders, for pebbles they were huge.  This was a very pretty town and we had a little free time to wander around soak up some on that French atmosphere.
Fecamp was a larger town and we stopped for a photo opportunity at the Benedictine Palace, home of the famous Benedictine Liqueurs. We also stopped down by the water front where there were more great views of the cliff, but unfortunately the visibility was poor as the weather was starting to close in again and it seemed that everytime we hopped out of the car it was the trigger for it to start raining again.
Philippe suggested only spending a short time here as we better off spending it down in the Deauville and Honfluer area as it is much more prettier.
We had 40 minute drive through the country side which included crossing the Ponte De Normandie.  This crosses the river Seine at the mouth.  An Impressive bridge until you drive closer and you see the traffic backed up ....Why so much traffic.... Toll gates...  The benefit of having a local drive us was as he got closer he shot off the right and drove through a container section which merged us back just near the toll gates.... and we were off again...
The countryside was beautiful and Deauville just gorgeous ... a playground for the French on the weekends.... the crowds and the prices sure echoed this.  We wandered down pass the beach, through the growers market and down the main street running from awning to awning so not to get wet.... Little did we know that this rain was nothing compared to the down pour in Honfluer.
Just next to Deauville is Trouville, just as pretty but with fish markets along the water front.  If only we had blue skies the photographs would have been fabulous... Honfluer is geared for the tourists... beautiful vistas, lots of restaurants and shops.  Here the rain started to fall much more constantly which make it a little more awkward to get around.
On the way back to the ship the rain and wind strengthened and our trip was further delayed by the mandatory traffic jam on the bridge... This time we were not able to take our secret shortcut as there is not one on both sides. So we sat and sat and sat..... We really got our toll monies worth.
We did have a detour to a Wine Warehouse were we could buy wine at local prices and not tourist prices.
Tonight was full of mixed emotions.... It was lovely to have Ros and Arnold back from their Paris sojourn but we were farewelling Colin and Judy and Ray and Paula (but they will be back ).  We shared a wonderful dinner and opened a bottle of our Portuguese port which we found was a little too easy to drink LOL

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