River cruise France and Belgium travel blog

Old port town of Honfleur dating from 11th century

Old belfry of Sainte-Catherine’s church

Interesting statue outside dovecot at Chateau Vascoeuil

Day 17. Rouen

4/6/18. Monday. Overcast, some light rain 15-24 degrees

Last night’s dinner was another selection of tastes. Tony, I hope you would be proud of me for going out of my comfort zone and at least trying some of the foods....but I just couldn’t come at the snails, and I tried caviar a few nights ago and I didn’t like it, so gave that a miss. I’m cheap to keep!!! But it was a good fun night, followed by great entertainment in the lounge.

I think I mentioned that lots of people on the cruise were coughing and sneezing, and we did everything possible to avoid it, but to no avail. I’d estimate that 80-90% have it. Ian decided to stay on the boat and go back to bed and give this mornings trip to Honfleur a miss. Shame, but he has to be careful. It was a good but lonely morning for me - even though I was with nice people, I still felt alone and missed Ian. Honfleur is an old town situated at the mouth of the River Seine, with many old buildings, many narrow laneways and very touristy.

We are returning to the boat on the main highway between Paris and the coast, and like everywhere, there are roadworks in progress and we’re travelling at a snails pace - and still cars are sneaking up the right hand lane and pushing their way in. Same world over it seems.

Ian had a good sleep and is feeling human. Lunch then back to our room for a rest before our cocktail reception at Chateau Vascoeuil, a 15th century castle and now a Centre of Art and History, inaugurated in 1970, also housing a museum dedicated to French historian Jules Michelet. The permanent sculptures in the 5 hectare park are by different artists and very different in form. A lovely afternoon enhanced by a musical duet. Our trip home was cut short about 300-400 metres from the boat when the traffic was at a standstill, with police everywhere. We all became a little concerned, and our driver got out and spoke to the police who said it was a ‘protest march’ and it was ok for us to walk back to our boat under supervision of a tour guide with the police helping us cross roads etc. All was ok until the protesters and tourists were approaching each other, when they let a firecracker off - it scared the lot of us and we all jumped. It was so loud, and we couldn’t help think of what it could have been. They let another one off, with the same result, and then clapped and cheered as we veered away from them towards the boat. A bit of ‘excitement’ but as our Tour Director said, certainly not what APT planned as a Signature experience! The protest was for more money for their hospitals, and our TD said that protesting is a national sport in France!!

A lovely dinner then another lovely musical evening with Joe and Liv, when they played our song The Voyage again, and this time I recorded it.

Train strikes are a part of the national pass time here also, and we’re trying to sort out if our train to Brussels will be running on Thursday. We won’t know until after 5pm on Wednesday!

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