Bonjour, Welkommen, Hello Europe! travel blog

The drive from Rouen to Caen took about 90 minutes. Ali drove the entire way, as she was feeling full of beans. Caen has a little orbital route around the outside, so you can do an entire loop around the city if you’d like to. Luckily, she didn’t and we headed straight for the hotel. The parking was free in the street – so another saving for us. Yay!

The city itself is inland, about 45mins away from the coast, but it does have a series of small boats in a canal\river. We drove along this and then around the edge of it to get to the hotel, the car parked just in front of it. We stayed in the Hotel Ibis just on the corner. We dropped the bags off, and because it was a bit late, tried to get out to a restaurant for some dinner. There was a Michelin starred restaurant in town, so we headed over there to try something gourmet. Unfortunately, when we got there, they were closed for summer vacation. How dare they!

We ended up going back to the hotel, and there was a grill restaurant at the foot of the building, which looked like a franchise style restaurant called Courtpaille. I had a concoction of bread and crème fraiche with some very finely diced spring onion, chives and cream cheese on a toasted baguette. Ali had terrine. For the main, I had a faux fillet (sirloin) with béarnaise sauce and Ali had an entrecote steak. For dessert Ali had their signature dish, which is a mousse with chocolate orange sponge on the basis and a thin chocolate top. It is made to look like the first ever building the courtpaille occupied. I had a Normandy Apple pie\tartin.

The waiter was very nice. He didn’t speak a word of English, but he did try his absolute best to help us out. I could pick up every few words, and I knew he was saying something about “after” and “encore”. Eventually he got some help, and his colleague said that we had free French fries with our meal, as much as we could eat. It was very funny going to this huge length to understand each other, only to find out it was free chips.

After dinner, we went for a walk, as Ali wanted to stroll along the canal. I took the camera and tripod, hoping to find some pretty things to take pictures of in the light. As it turned out, the further we walked along the canal, the dodgier the area became. We had sat down on a bench to enjoy the sounds, when an African gentleman came up and started to talk to us. He was looking for something, probably the camera or some money, but after a fairly terse response from Ali (I was being far too friendly I think), he decided to leave us alone.

We got up and continued along the way, walking around a boathouse, when we got into a really poorly lit area. We decided to walk through this as quickly as possible, as it didn’t seem a friendly place, and we were almost at the bridge which crossed over to the other side of the river\canal. It was quite amazing that there were 5 or 6 women standing by themselves in high heels. They must have been very cold, even though it was a nice evening, as they weren’t wearing much. They just spent their time smoking – with no one else around. One of them even appeared to go to a car and ask for some directions, although she didn’t go anywhere afterwards. Very strange. It wasn’t exactly Ali’s idea of a romantic walk, but we kept going anyway.

We crossed the bridge, and started walking back up the canal towards the hotel. Along the way a well dressed Frenchmen started walking towards us, before he changed course and passed us – on the adjacent walkway. I didn’t like the way he kept looking at me, so when I looked over my shoulder, I noticed he was now heading onto the same walkway we were on. Although, when he noticed I was watching him, he changed course and went back to the same walkway he was on previously, and kept walking the other direction. The behaviour didn’t really seem to be conducive to a relaxing walk for me, and when I noticed he did it again. He noticed I’d caught him in the act again, so he turned back around and went back to his original path, and walked a bit faster away from us.

I said to Ali I wasn’t comfortable walking out here by ourselves, and she agreed (she said with the camera around my neck, people had been looking at me like I was a walking ATM). With that we went back to the hotel, and got some rest. Tomorrow’s another big day, lots to see, and I’m very excited as we get to go to a place I’ve been looking forward to going to for a long time – Mont Saint Michel.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |