Normandy Cruise – 2009

France’s Scenic Coastal Town of Honfleur

 

November 7 – 15, 2009

 

Part I:  Memphis to Paris, Viking Ship Seine

Part 5: Conflans and Tour of Market

Part 2: D-Day Beaches on Normandy

Part 6: Paris and Visit to Napoleon’s Tomb

Part 3: Scenic Coastal Town of Honfleur

Part 7: Flights to Cincinnati and Memphis

Part 4: Rouen and Les Andelys

Link to travelogue about 2001 France cruise

 

-  Updated Jan. 2, 2010

 

About 35 trip photos mainly taken by Betty Nolan are posted at www.ritzpix.com in an album entitled “2000 – France” under member name of Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email lewis_nolan@yahoo.com for instructions on how to access. Note: captions were being added to photos in late 2009.

 

By LEWIS NOLAN

 

Nov. 10, 2009, Monday  In Normandy, France

 

We arose on the Viking’s tour boat Seine at 7 a.m. and enjoyed the excellent buffet breakfast food laid out in the dining room. I had my usual scrambled eggs with three thin slices of ham, a few slices of cantelope, half a banana, small glass of tomato juice and ice water. Betty, who only rarely has much if anything for breakfast, had half a banana, a bowl of fruit, a granola bar and cup of coffee.

 

Betty Nolan by hanging flower baskets over artificial stream bed in Rouen, France

 

 

 

 

Betty wanted to revisit the scenic, coastal town of Honfleur that is across the Seine River on a huge, modern bridge from Le Havre. We had enjoyed seeing the preserved medieval town about 20 years on our driving trip through Normandy and Brittany. She road the excursion’s tour bus with other passengers and found the town is still quite picturesque, with narrow streets paved with cobblestones and a great many small shops that cater to tourists and vacationing French. There continued to be a great many sailboats of all sizes docked in the town.

 

But absent this visit were the crowds of tourists due to the coolness and lateness of the season, and many shops were closed even though it was a Tuesday. Betty later related to me how much she enjoyed poking around Honfleur with fellow passengers Paul Granett and Gloria Solomon of New Jersey. Despite the array of products on display, Betty found nothing of sufficient interest to buy at this early point of the trip other than a few postcards and a souvenir thimble for her collection back home.

 

An Honfleur brochure we picked up said the town is still a fishing port and a popular yacht harbor. One of its most visited sites is the 15th Century Sainte-Catherine Church, which is surrounded by art galleries, boutiques and traditional crafts shops. The church was built by shipwrights, resembles an upended sailing vessel and is the largest wooden church with a separate bell-tower in France.

 

Among the artists who were born, lived or worked in Honfleur are the Impressionist painters Eugene Boudin and Claude Monet and the writer Charles Boudelaire. Some of the original “salt houses,” where sea salt was extracted for sale to households in the 17th Century are now used for exhibitions and concerts.

 

While Betty toured, I opted to stay back in the ship to nap and work on my trip notes. My snooze was interrupted when the ship’s engineer and a crewman appeared in the cabin to install a heavy

steel plate over the small window to protect the glass just above the waterline from the expected wake of very large ships we would pass on the lower Seine later in the day.

 

Once Betty returned, we decamped our tiny cabin due to its smallness and repaired to the ships lounge so I could continue working on my notes and we could wait for a scheduled demonstration by a visiting chef of how to make the semi-sweet, French pastry flavored with fresh lemons. The samples of the special dessert were passed around and were delicious.

 

We had with us for leisure reading paperback books brought from home. They were for me Tom Clancy’s “Politica,” and for Betty the book by Sherry Woods, “Flowers on Main.” There were dozens of paperback and other books available for checkout in the ship’s small library, which also provided laptop computers for rent at 10 Euros per hour (roughly $15). But due to all the ship’s activities and excursions that interested us, we found little time to read.

 

The boat’s signal provided at no extra charge gave us a chance to check email on Betty’s snazzy Acer laptop computer . However, many other passengers must have brought their own computers because the Internet service was incredibly slow unless most passengers and many crew members were away from the boat for tours.

 

(Continue with Part 4, Rouen and Les Andelys)  /  Return to Nolan Travels Home Page)