I'm not too unhappy to leave Rouen. It's a pretty city but also apparently has its share of social/economic problems.
|With homeless people living in the city's streets, there must be people paying $220 for this CRAP.|
Rouen's Notre Dame cathedral (not to be confused with the one in Paris, even though they look similar) opens at 8 am today, according to Google. Apparently it's worth a visit and I hope they don't object to visitors in shorts and sandals, but then this ain't Spain and what the heck was Jesus wearing in his days anyway, a tuxedo?
The cathedral is supposed to be open at 8 am on Sunday (says Google), but the doors are closed at 8:15 am. Good thing it's just around the corner from the hotel.
At 9:30 am I head back to the cathedral and it is open. The ratio of worshippers to camera-wielding tourists (some in shorts) is about 1;10.
Just seeing that organ, I wish I would have been exposed to music at a young age. My only wish would have been to play that organ one day !
France still seems to be cautious after the Charlie attacks, heavily armed police is standing in the cathedral square.
While buying my train ticket I learn something new. I’ve been managing to pronounce Rouen. Something like Ru-ahn. But I just could not distort my palate sufficiently to pronounce Caen in the way that I thought it should be, something like Ca-ahn. Turns out it’s pronounced something like Conh.
The train ride to Caen is 1 hour 40 minutes. There are some youngish people on the platform, very tight jeans on longish legs and both girl and boy have a kind of Samurai top-of-the-head-ponytail going. I'm SO out of touch, I don’t even know what that particular lifestyle look is called. Anyhoo, it’s not about their look, it’s about the fact that the two are smoking right next to the No-Smoking sign. And no one cares, least of all the French Rail employees. Do I light a cigarette myself? No. I want one; why don’t I light one? A good question. I've lived in Canada for too long seems to be the answer.
|Lisieux Basilica out of the train window|
When arriving at the Bayeux train station, the centre of town is not hard to find. Just head for the highest church towers.
Despite advertising a check-in time of 2 pm, my room isn't ready at 3 pm and I'm told it would be another hour. HATE that! Since I wanted to include a quick bike ride to the coast anyway, I leave my luggage in the hotel and head to Avranches.
Avranches is a PRIME example of what distinguishes tourists from travellers. The reason I cycled to this town was the hope of seeing yet another one of those pristine beaches or rough deserted coast lines that made my trip through Brittany 2 years ago so special.
The first thing I notice when entering the town is a strange smell and many many tour buses.
I re-classify the stench as probably ocean and interpret the many tour buses as a sign that it must be worth coming here. SO WRONG on both accounts!
100s or even thousands of Americans eating ice cream and walking around looking at the least inspiring beach of my trip so far,
some old US military hardware,
some old German bunkers
and some remaining half-sunk pontoons of the harbour quays that the Americans installed here right after D-Day. I take a few looks at this, and quickly abandon the idea of even eating in this town. Need to get out of here.
As I look over some cliffs at the edge of town I correct my guess as to the nature of the stench in town.
It looks and smells EXACTLY as if the farmers of the surrounding areas have been dumping cow manure in straw into the ocean. I've never seen anything like it.