We thought we were on top of this time zone business. But when we left Falmouth, England to go to Le Havre, France we lost another hour. That wouldn’t be so silly if we weren’t going back to England again tomorrow to stop in Dover and get that hour back. Then on to Rotterdam and the hour will disappear once more. With each changing time zone we are also changing money - euros to pounds to euros to pounds to euros. It would be easy for an old person to get confused. At least today we were driving on the right side of the road once again.
Many of our fellow passengers are taking 10+ hour tours to Paris, Versailles, or the Normandy Beaches. Each involves 5 - 6 hours of driving round trip to get to the destination they want to see. We’ve seen Versailles and Paris a number of times and would be interested in more obscure spots than the tours would visit. The Normandy Beaches are just too sad. So we took a much shorter tour to Honfleur, one of the many scenic towns that dot northern Normandy.
Spring has definitely arrived here and we drove through scenic countryside with blooming fruit trees and tulips. The rape seed fields (canola) glowed bright yellow in blossom. A number of the rural homes we passed are second homes for well off French or English folks and most were beautifully kept. Many had thatched roofs and the local tradition is to plant flowers in the thatch to soak up some of the rain that seems to fall incessantly around here. Bright purple irises put on a great show on some of the roof tops. The homes are old and the half timbered ones take a lot of work to keep the wood painted and the plaster beneath in good repair.
I thought the name Honfleur had something to do with the flowers we were seeing, but the guide said that it was named for the Norman word for fjord. Honfleur was one of those old towns that time forgot until the tourist industry found it again. The old town centered on a little fjord lined with tall houses struggling to stand straight. A draw bridge interrupted the wandering pedestrians every so often as boats moved in and out.
The weather was a frustration today. It rained every ten minutes for ten minutes and then stopped again. We never got the blue skies that would have shown this town at is most beautiful. Nevertheless it was great fun to wander in the narrow little alleys and photograph buildings that in some cases were 400 years old. Another cruise ship is in Le Havre and as the tours brought passengers there, so it was also a challenge to take photographs that didn’t have someone holding an umbrella in them.
Lots of locals were enjoying Honfleur as well. It looked like the local fermented apple juice that has 40% alcohol content was a popular buy. Camembert cheese is produced nearby and the cheese shops sold many items that would have tempted us if we weren’t filled up the gills before we got off the ship today.