This is my third blog post about my May 2012 trip to Europe. At least one more coming after this.
My travel buddy Sally and I set off for Giverny and Rouen for a day trip. It was a grey day but getting to be our last chance to see Monet's garden. I had been there two times before. First in 1979 when my friend Ben and I walked four miles from the nearest train station and then jumped over the fence and looked around before the gardens had opened. Then in August, 2007 when I took my reluctant kids. So this was my first spring trip there.
Monet's house is in the background.
The famous water lilies.
Here is a picture of my friend Sally on the famous Japanese bridge. I have started a new tradition of dedication on this bridge: I dropped my lens cap right in the water off this bridge! Maybe it will catch on as a new Monet Garden tradition?!
I took this picture of a neat branch configuration and had a vague memory of taking a similar picture the last time I was there - in August 2007.
When I got back I found it! Look how similar it is!
We weren't allowed to take pictures in Monet's house but I loved the blue and white kitchen and a recently reconstructed studio. After we were funneled through a huge studio building that had been made over into a giant gift shop we wandered into the tiny town of Giverny.
We found a lovely little plant store with these cute bunnies:
And then i found a wonderful restaurant and hotel that I had gone to with Sage and Annie (Annie had not been hungry enough to eat her steak so she grabbed it between her thumb and forefinger and had walked out of the restaurant to our B&B.! We had discovered that asking for a "doggy bag" was very bad manners - how about carrying your meat out in your hands???)
The restaurant/hotel is called Ancien Hotel Baudy and it used to be a gathering place for artists. The line of small paintings you see in the above photo where given to the restaurant back in the day in lieu of payment for meals.
I had a yummy cheese plate:
Out back they had a studio which used to be used by artists. Here are a couple of shots of the remains:
Also in back of the restaurant I found this lovely garden ornament:
And the wisteria just waiting to bust out:
Rick Steves recommended a trip to Rouen after Giverny so we headed back to the bus to the train station and traveled North to Rouen. Rick Steves didn't have much to say about what to do there (Is that another book?) so we wandered a bit aimlessly and walked up to this magnificent tower:
Turned out it was a museum! The tower had been built in the early 1200s! And Joan of Arc spent her last months there.
Here is a view out the window:
We saw what looked like cannon balls sitting in the former moat. Could it be possible?
We wandered on and found an art museum where I found my first marble palette - good for my palette collection!
And with that we took off for the train back to Paris. Now that I am back, I've looked up Rouen on Wikipedia and can see we barely scratched the surface. I hope to go back someday and see more.