Todd at the harbor in Honfluer.
The French Countryside
What a lovely day we had driving thru the country. First, let me tell you about our new “best friend” named “Bobus”. He is the GPS navigation system that the Brights let us borrow and was named by their youngest son (and Dylan’s buddy) Ian. We spoke unkindly of him yesterday (mainly because WE didn’t know how to work with him) but today we humbled ourselves, repented of our lack of faith and got him to work for us just as Lehi and his family did with the Liahona. Bobus is a curious BOX of workmanship who guides the way to the faithful. We rode along listening to his words of instruction and didn’t get lost once! If Bobus said to turn, we turned. If Bobus said to go straight we went straight. There were a few times he took us out of the way and Todd would yell at him. Bobus would then kind of freak out and tell us to turn left when we were on a straight away. I quickly calmed Todd down and apologized to Bobus and he would redirect himself and all was well. The Brights told us to trust Bobus and we do - with plenty of faith. We would not be able to figure out where on the PLANET we are without him. Thank you Brights, thank you Bobus. We are humbled.
First, we slept in late - very LATE. Yesterday was exhausting and we felt we deserved a break. We got going and headed to Giverny and the home of Claude Monet. His gardens were impressive and we wandered around taking pictures of the water lilies, bridges and flowers. It was another sunny fall day. The ride to Giverny reminded me of home with all the trees changing colors. Driving thru all the small towns was a nice change to freeways and trucks! I think Bobus preferred it too. It was inspiring to wander around in gardens created by Monet in the last years of his life and partake of his talent by viewing some of the artwork created from that time. It would have been an incredible place to visit in the summer with everything in full bloom but we got lucky that the weather has been so warm here and most flowers still look well. We had lunch at a little place nearby and sat outside in the sunshine.
Next we went on to Rouen, the town famous for burning Joan of Arc at the stake. Nice transition! Actually, I LOVED Rouen. I was nervous to go because it is the 5th largest city in France but it turned into a lovely little town filled with magnificent cathedrals and neat little walkways with shopping and restaurants tucked away. We were following “Rick Steve’s” (tour guide from PBS) suggestion for a day walk and ran across an LDS church in a little alleyway right behind the Notre Dame cathedral! It was locked but we did try to stop in and say hello. We toured Notre Dame (I guess every big city in France has a Notre Dame) and wandered down to the little church built in honor of St. Joan - yes, they made her a Saint after killing her. Apparently a strong female leading battle in the middle ages was a reason to burn someone for witchcraft. She had to be cray or led by evil forces - why else would she dress as a man and lead her country to freedom. I know, it must have been PMS. We also found a rather large courtyard that was used as a mass grave for those who died of the plague. I read a book about that called Year of Wonder so it was neat to see what I had read about. Not that mass deaths get me all excited or anything; just another experience is all! When they built up the cathedral around it they buried a black cat in the walls to protect it from demons. There was a glass window where you could see the petrified cat!
Anyway, after wandering around for a bit my stomach was feeling sick. Now this will make you laugh but we walked by a McDonalds and not only did I have to pee but I really wanted a coke WITH ice which is in limited supply in France for some reason. So, we went inside and against better judgement sat down for dinner! I know, I am ashamed to admit that we ate at McDonalds and it turns out it didn’t help my stomach at all. Crazy right? I think the tension from getting in the car each day and not having a clue where we are or where we are going is getting to me. It is either that or all the crepes I have eaten! I actually lost weight the first few days in Paris from all the walking and all the stair climbing. I plan on making up for it the next few days. I am still on the hunt for some french onion soup! But I digress, Rouen was great and I think it is the place I would chose to live if we lived in France. They also had a little market out in the center of town where you could get fresh fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, bread and cheese. I would LOVE to walk to the “market” each day to buy our dinner - fresh! Todd wished we had somewhere to cook up the seafood but I refused to let him take it in the car with us. Stinky! But we did grab some croissants for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, and that was the BEST part - the woman selling me the croissants said my french was good! We are finding that people don’t speak much English outside of Paris. I was only ordering croissants “Duex croissants a duex chocolat crossiants” but it was a nice compliment. I try to make my accent SOUND french and that helps I think. Todd’s accent is still Spanish but he tries a lot more than me. Together we can usually tell what they are trying to say.
As the sun was setting we got back in the car and drove here to Honfluer, a small fishing but artsy town on the way to the D-day beaches. We are in a very silly but cheap hotel. It is a small room that is hard to describe. You put a code into the door to get in your room. It is stripped bare but is VERY clean. The sink is in the corner and the toilet is in a closet that resembles a bathroom on an airplane and the shower is in another closet that is similarly contained. It is efficient and cheap - did I say it was cheap? We are only here for about 12 hours so we didn’t want to pay for an expensive hotel. No internet access though! :( I guess I will try to post this tomorrow. We are going to Arromanches to the D-day beaches and then up to Bayeux to see a 1000 year old tapestry that tells the tale of William the conquerer!