Rouen – 0810

French Fancies

Day 1 (31/08) – The Departure

As most cruises go, this should have been no differet except that today is Debbie’s Birthday and toay will be relaisation of all my plans and subterfuge. As far as Debbie was aware, the cruise was going to be for Herself, Her Son and of course Myself. What she didn’t know was that I had secretly booked another cabin for her eldest Son and his Girlfriend. Now for those of you that know Debbie, she is an organiser and likes to have all things under control and I didn’t want this to appear any different yet somehow I managed to maintain the secret until they joined us on the Ship in the bar. The morning started with Matt and Tara briefly wishing Debbie a Happy Birthday with her single solitary card before they dashed off to ‘work’. We subsequently left home at 11:00 with me secretly texting Matt that we had left the house. Matt and Tara then had to dash back, pack and set off themselves.

Once in the waiting area, having checked in, we face a 90 minute wait before boarding. I managed to get a text to Matt to let him know that we were still waiting to get on the ship. Matt however had just unloaded the bags prior to checking in so that had to hang around outside waiting for us to go on. Eeventually we boarded and I again sent of a tect to Matt: “Who do you keep texting?” asked Debbie: “Oh, just somebody from work who’se doing me a favour” said I: She swallowed it: Phew.

“Lets explore the ship” said Debbie: “Let’s go for a drink” said I: “No”, said Debbie, lets look arond the ship. “Oh look, here’s the Dining Table layout, lets see if we can find out table?” says Debbie: “That’s odd, I’ve never seen a table laid out for five” she muses. Never mind I say lets check out the bars. 20 minutes later I finally con her into the Pipers Bar for a drink on the pretext that this was we needed to be for Life Boat Drill. At this very moment, I recieved a text from Matt, “We’re in our Cabin”: “Get to the Pipers Bar now” I texted back.

Along they came. Debbie sat in the bar doing what she does best, people watching and saw Matt and Tara and her face moved from total confusion, through disbelief to absolute joy.

And so, we all enjoyed life bat drill and then went to dinner while the ship and all Debbies Boys sailed for Rouen.

Day’s 2 & 3 – Rouen

So, having sailed out of Southampton and survived the obligatory life boat drill, we set course straight across the Channel to continue up the Seine to Rouen.
I awoke the next morning at 06:30 to find that we were just coming up to the Port of Rouen and were turning around to ‘back in’ the last two to three hundred yards.

But, before I go any further: I bought myself a loverly 3G enabled iPad complete with Vodafone 3G Sim in it as I thought it would be really useful for blogging. Unfortunately, when abroad, the poxy things reports no service so that was a big disappointment for me. It also means that any blog updates will be sporadic.

The Port of Rouen isn’t the most inspiring of ports though I suppose it should be remembered that it is a working port: as such there tends to be a Lot of cargo ships to’ing and fro’ing, which for sad ones like me is entertainment all of it’s own.

Anyway, back to Rouen. Rouen is famous for it’s links to Joan of Arc: tried, tortured (between February 21st and May 30th 1431) and finally executed  by being burned at the stake  only to be declared innocent of all charges and so subsequently became a martyr. I’ll fill in more detail on this piece in due course. in the mean time, click here.

Rouen itself is a medieval city containing a large number of Gothic buildings ranging in age from 500 to 800 years and more. I won’t go into the history and detail: that can all be found on line at such sites as Wikipedia (other similar sites are available). But, I will include a number of ‘Images of Rouen‘.

While we were in Rouen, we elected to indulge in an excursion to Monet’s Garden: this was a place I had cycled past so many times on the way to Rouen as part of the annual Paris to Hayling Cycle Ride. The leg from Paris to Rouen was always a personal favorite of mine but sadly the ride no longer goes to Paris. Ah well: Ce la vie.

Monet’s Garden is a genuine joy to behold and will capture the imagination of anybody who visits, young or old. It is truly an inspirational place to visit not only because is was the home of Claude Monet but also because so many people are inspired in their own artistic representation be they painting, photography, garden design or whatever. I urge all to visit the place at least once.

Day 4 – St Peter Port – Guernsey

If you’ve never cruised you may not appreciate this but let’s see if I can explain. It’s not unusual to go on a cruise that takes in Guernsey only for the cruise ship to anchor off shore (normal routine) and the passengers to be told they it will not be possible to ashore as the sea is too choppity.

Day 5 – St Malo

I’d never been to St Malo before so I really didn’t know what to expect although all the pictures and writes up’s I’d seen suggested that it was a place well worth a visit. Unfortunately for me, having had the most terrible experience in the a tender the previous day and knowing that today was also to be a tender I declared that I would be staying on board (I know: What a wimp!).

Some Cruise Stats

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