Thursday, October 29, 2015

Touring Rouen, France part 3 - Avalon River Cruise, June 24, 2015

After our morning guided tour, we went back to our ship for lunch, which was just a short walk away. This was yet another thing that I was coming to really enjoy about river cruising....we were docked right up at the town.  We'd walk into town for the morning, go back and have lunch, and then today for example, we could head back into town and have the rest of the day free to just explore!  It was such a fantastic way to have the best of both worlds. The guided walking tour to become familiar with the area, just a bit, and then we got to head out on our own and come and go as we pleased!

Since today is a day of sharing ship photos, here are some of the dining area...today there was an option for lunch. We could either eat in the dining room as usual, or a special Grill Lunch was being offered up on the Sky Deck! These pictures are of the Lunch Buffet area.  We enjoyed all of our meals on board! 



And on this side of the dining room, the curtains were closed because we were docked next to another ship.  For those not familiar with river cruising, the ships will often dock right next to one another.  This means that when you disembark and then return to your ship, you do have to walk through other ships even!  Be prepared to walk up and down some steps!


The reception area of the ship was nice, and the desk staff were very friendly and helpful...





This is the bar area - the main area for socializing in the afternoon and evening. 



The coffee machine is available 24 hours a day, which is great!



More pictures of the lounge/bar area



After lunch we had a few hours before we had to be back on board, so we went back into town to check out the sites, and browse some of the cute shops we had passed by earlier.  


By now you know if there's macarons and colorful pastries, I'm taking pictures of them! And likely, we bought some and ate them too!




Wonder what this street was named for?







Not only were the bakeries colorful, but the fresh fruits and veggies were pretty amazing as well!











We walked until we got back to the cathedral, our go to landmark, and across the street, we had a bit of musical entertainment!


After about two hours of browsing and shopping, we returned to the ship for a Galley Tour!  Now, the Galley on a riverboat is quite small...but what they do in that small space is quite impressive!  Chef Olivier took us through their process of preparing all of our meals, mostly from scratch each day.





We'd had another wonderful day, followed by a great dinner, and tonight was the Crew Show...a bit silly, but fun. After dinner, I was able to take some pictures as we went through one of the locks on the Seine River...

The captain navigating our ship through the locks...








Tomorrow we'd almost be back to Paris!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Our day in Rouen continued! Avalon River Cruise - day 6 June 24, 2015

After we left the cathedral, our guide took us through the town of Rouen, telling us about its history.  He was a fantastic storyteller, as so many of the guides we had on this trip were!





And of course mixed in with the stories, there are always the most picturesque shops in these towns!



One of the Joan of Arc historical sites



The tiny streets in the oldest part of the town that remains







And of course a statue of Claude Monet!  Seems he was all over the Normandy region!


Even some more contrast in architecture, here you can see the Normandy style buildings in the background and in the front is one of the oldest remaining buildings which I believe has been converted into an apartment building.




We walked around until we ended up back at the Cathedral, which really was the center of the city! 





But our tour wasn't over yet!  Next we would walk down the Rue du Gros Horloge which is really a great shopping street, mixed with old and new stores, but the highlight is this Great Clock Tower!  Its mechanism is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1389!




Not only was the clock tower very cool, and much larger than you can imagine by looking at the pictures, but the entire atmosphere of the street was just a lot of fun!  We definitely would be coming back here after our tour!




I was definitely on picture overload! 





And this is the Clock Tower from the other side...




One of my favorite windows in France!






The last stop on our tour would be the Joan of Arc Church...it's a modern design, quite interesting actually! This church, the Ste-Jeanne d'Arc was built on the spot where she was burned at the stake.  The outside really doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the city, but the inside has some amazing stained glass!







And we finished our morning tour of Rouen at the spot where Joan of Arc was in fact burned at the stake, which is where the tree below stands, they say.  Her story was actually much more involved than what I had thought, as stories often are! It was very interesting!  




It was time to head back to the ship for lunch....and then Carol and I had the rest of the day to come back into town and explore on our own!