June 11, 2007
"About this France"
As my grandson says, "Now Nana, about this France that you've been going to. "
Well yes, now that we're back, lets' just discuss "This France." I have to say right off, that I loved it, every minute of it. The countryside was breathtakingly beautiful; the French people were most kind to me; and what can I possibly say about Paris that hasn't already been said -- it was wonderful. And that doesn't even include any discussion of the food and wine, which I'll take up in another post.
I landed in Paris, jet-lagged but fairly ready to get myself to St. Lazare train station and from there, on to Bayeux in Normandy. The cab ride was harrowing, but I did feel that if I survived it, I'd surely be a better person. My taxi driver was about 78 years old, had flaming red hair and an obvious death wish. While driving, she managed to read a novel, talk on the telephone and write in a handy notebook, only taking time out to curse and shake her fist at drivers who had the audacity to come too close to her. She very kindly helped me with my French. I also thought that if I didn't survive the ride, at least I would have gone out laughing. At any rate, she deposited me at the train station, not too much the worse for wear. I do wish that someone had mentioned to me that the motorcycles and motorbikes travel between the autos, but that's alright. I figured it out when they went speeding by.
There was no trouble finding the train for Bayeyx. Once I mounted the thousand or so stairs up to the platform, (didn't they realize some people might have luggage in a train station?) I got on the proper train, in a lovely compartment with a very nice man, who seemed a little embarrassed by my attempts to speak French to him. I might not have said everything just right, but I'm sure I didn't say anything improper. The ride through the countryside kept me awake for quite awhile, looking out at the lovely little towns, all the flowers -- until just before I reached
Bayeux, when I fell asleep and missed my stop. When I did wake up and saw the name of the next town, I knew I might be in trouble. Cherbourg was the end of the line, so I decided to go on there and take my chances of getting back. There, I caught a small local train that let me off in Bayeyx, and I made my way to the hotel.
Once checked in at The Churchill Hotel, I knew that I had a very limited window of consciousness left, so I scandalized the entire main street by wanting to eat my dinner at 5:30 pm. One kind woman took pity on me when I told her I couldn't stay awake until 8:00 pm, and she gave me a little quiche and some sliced tomatoes, which was very good. Immediately after eating, I went back to my hotel room, had a hot shower and slept for 10 hours.
Our breakfast room at the hotel:
Bayeux is a largely intact medieval town that was never bombed during World War II. It's major structures are all intact. Here are a couple of scenes on the main street:
The local patisserie:
My traveling companions, who had already been traveling in UK for about 10 days or so didn't arrive on the night ferry from Portsmouth until quite late, so I caught up with them at breakfast. Should you want to check out the types of fiber trouble they were able to stir up in Cornwall and Penzance, you can consult the blog of Judy Pierce, one of the fabulous traveling Judies at Fiber Experiences. She will fill you in on all the details, and some of them are absolutely yummy. I know, because I saw some of them in France.
So that's how it all began, but there's much, much more and over a thousand photos. (Don't worry, I'm not about to use all those photos on the blog.) Next time, I'll tell you all about the famous Bayeyx tapestry. I'm going to tell you about it rather than show you, because of course, it can't be photographed. The tapestry is truly splendid though, so stay tuned. You might even catch Agnes crusing around somewhere.