Captain Carsjens announced last evening that we would be required to shorten our stay in Le Havre as the French dock workers have another beef and will be going on strike at 10P tonight. We will be required to leave the port by 9:30P, which will shave 2 1/2 hours from our planned departure time of midnight. Our previous visit to Le Harve on the Grand Princess a few years ago had a similar problem. The dock workers went on strike shortly after our arrival, and the fires set in the port and gunfire, along with a commercial vessel blocking the entrance and exit, proved to be enough of a disruption that we never left the ship. This time we are determined to complete our planned excursion, despite again being used as pawns in their local dispute. The tours to Paris, however, a three hour bus ride each way, may be affected and will need to be shortened.
Our 2 vans arrived just as we left the ship and our group of 15 left for our first stop, which was to be Rouen, a bit over an hour away. Rouen is a medieval gem, the area around the cathedral still surrounded by wood-timbered houses dating to the 1400’s.
Rouen is, of course, the site of the trial and burning of Joan of Arc in 1431. The exact site is memorialized with a church and plaque, and the commercialization abounds.
The cathedral, inside and out, is magnificent, the exterior being especially ornate with statuary, stained-glass windows and relief carved scenes.
One exterior relief shows the beheading of John the Baptist (lower, far right).
Monet painted this cathedral many times, using his impressionist style to show the facade at various times of day, illustrating shadows and light. The window from which he painted can be viewed just across the street.
The interior of the cathedral contains many statues found under the cathedral during excavation. Some are in surprisingly good condition,
The rattan chairs and kneelers are unique.
The interior is large, but relatively sterile.
There is a memorial to Roland, a military leader during the reign of Charlemagne, who was killed in battle in 778, and later immortalized in medieval and Renaissance literature.
A 45 minute drive brought us to Honfleur, with a picturesque harbor and interesting architecture. The day was sunny, cool and dry, somewhat better than we had anticipated.
Lunch at a cafe overlooking the harbor was a ham and cheese omelet with french fries. Odd combination, but very tasty.
Flowers were everywhere and the colors were superb. Spring anywhere is usually quite colorful. Honfleur is no exception.
Returning to the Rotterdam, we dined in the Lido, rather than the La Fontaine dining room. Casual was a good choice after another full and tiring day.