Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Since we didn't leave the hotel bar until 12:30 last night because of the cool Austrians, we slept in a bit this morning before packing, loading our stuff onto the bus, and grabbing a quick breakfast. The drive to Rouen for lunch went quickly, with the most exciting thing being a 25-minute discussion about whether or not you could tell the weather forecast (rain or not) by the cows lying down. The general consensus was that cows lying down meant rain, and - since it did rain along way - that opinion was proven, for the moment.

Someone said yesterday that purely white cows are only found in a couple of places - here, in Normandy, and somewhere else that I forget and am too lazy to look up in Wikipedia. Considering that the landscape is mostly crops and cows, we saw a lot of cows.

To reiterate: French coffee is quite good.


We disembarked at the Cathèdrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, which has one of the largest church spires in the world. The scroll work and carvings on the outside of the church and inside the church were truly awe-inspiring.

Big doors and amazing windows:

Inside the church:

Jean found a dog just like her dog, Gus. She showed the dog's owner a video of Gus, and they bonded over their furry friends:

A street accordion player, the accordion being a very characteristic instrument for traditional French folk music:

Molly's shoe broke, so she had the excuse to go shoe shopping. While I was waiting for her (spoiler: she did not find an appropriate pair), I bought a hat at a store called Devred:

We had lunch at a darling cafe / bar named JM's cafe. It was a two-level restaurant, and our seat was right at a window overlooking the plaza, which had some street vendors and a little carousel. My children would have been all over that carousel, wanting to ride it forty or fifty times. Neat thing? The kid's meal came with a carousel ticket. Great idea, no?

I had pizza, and Molly and Katie had steak. One waiter was hilarious - if you had to draw a characature of a Frenchman, this guy would have been the result. He was hilarious, making fun of Molly's French and of Katie's Spanish. It was really endearing, and we took a picture of him with Katie:

He looked at the picture, pointed to himself and said, "Nicolas Cage." Said in the French accent, I think I will laughing for a few more days. He honestly reminded us of a character in the Disney movie, Rattatouie.


This particular part of Rouen - which was an important city, having housed the French government at various time and also was the ruling seat of the Vikings when they lived the - was an old and a shopping area. There were a few "crap" stores, but mostly clothing stores, shoe stores (a lot of shoe stores), and food booths. There were a lot of pastry shoppes, including a few places with a press for crepes of varying types. The streets were pedestrian streets and lined with cobblestones instead of asphalt. Everything was outdoors, except for a couple of the restaurants (including the one in which we ate, because we didn't feel like getting wet while eating).

We sang in the Place de la Cathédrale, after the accordion player left. It was well received, and people called for more, but we had to get back to the bus.

I saw a little boy - probably a bit older than The Boy, who was sucking his thumb and twirling his hair like my Little Bear. I miss my Little Bear, who has the greatest smile in the world.

Off to Paris and the Eiffel Tower area. I think I'm just dumb enough to walk up the steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower, particularly if it's cheaper than buying a ticket for the elevator. Save money and get some exercise? Yes, please.

Molly and Katie are practicing quartet music in the back of the bus. Bari and tenor music.... just send two!!!!

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