A Journey to France, Day Seven and Eight

ROUEN, FRANCE – It was a slower morning as we floated down the river while enjoying breakfast to our next town of Rouen, which was only a few hours from our last town.

It is nice to see the scenery go by as you enjoy your breakfast and sip on a cup of coffee, but this morning I was introduced to a new cookie which I fell in love with.

The housekeeper Ivana Boškovic gave me a Génoises cookie that is a cake like wafer with an orange glaze that is all covered in chocolate. Needless to say, it is a good breakfast cookie.

I was now on a mission to find them and would later that day at a supermarket, so I bought six boxes.

It was a pretty slow morning until after lunch in which there was a walk through the city of Rouen.

There had been a biking tour of the city, however, since the average age of most people on the ship is above 60, nobody signed up for the tour.

Earlier in the week, I had asked our program director Ken Dermer about what would happen if only a few people signed up and he said they would cancel it and the prospects of it making were low.

He suggested that I rent a bike in Rouen and tour the city myself, which is what I did.

Getting one was rather difficult as I could change the language of the instruction screen, but when it came to the credit card machine it was all in French.

I tried to get the bike, but they were all locked and I headed off to the tourism office to get some help. I did not want to have to pay for something I did not use.

The lady at the office was helpful and explained to me how to use them and I traveled back about a mile to the bike rack to get on.

Biking around the city was a lot easier than walking and I was able to see about 10-miles  biking compared to about two or three miles on foot.

The city was full of tourist but had some amazing shops and a lot of great food places. However, I was not able to find any good art shops but stopped and got a newspaper at a bookstore.

After biking and walking around I was able to relax and get some work done at a local coffee shop which had amazing internet.

It was nice to finally able to get some internet to call and send things off to the real world. While there I was able to get some great coffee and spoke to a few locals and even met a Russian woman who was traveling through on a month-long vacation.

That evening we had dinner, which was an interesting veal dish that was a tad overcooked and did not really have any flavor.

The dessert was also terrible as I had ordered a simple crème brûlée, but it was more like a soup. I returned it and got a cheesecake that was warm. At this point, I gave up on dessert.

After dinner, I relaxed up on the deck and talked with others on the ship about their experiences and went to bed a little later than normal.

It was an early Sunday morning as we headed off for Normandy beaches at 8 for a two-hour bus ride to the coast in which I got a nap in.

Our tour guide was from the United Kingdom and had almost a Bob Ross style voice that was calming and put anybody to sleep. However, he knew his history and the area.

Monument at Omaha Beach.jpg
A monument honoring those who liberated Europe on June 6, 1944.

I am omitting much of Sunday to save it for a travel piece that I will publish later about my experiences at the American D-Day Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and the area.

However, my experiences there are not what you might expect.

But, while there in a small town outside of the area in which the Canadians and British landed on the Normandy beaches, I finally find a piece of artwork that had my name all over it.

Leroy Coffman and I were at lunch when from across the street I saw an art shop. So I had a quick salad and went over there to begin talking to the artist.

Since the beginning of the trip I had been looking for places to buy art, but finally found a piece that contained old French newsprint, a Normandy cow, and other symbolic pieces within it.

However, due to my good taste in art, I had picked the most expensive piece in the selection of original pieces. It was only 450 Euros.

I was able to bring the price down and was excited that I got a great piece of art and was able to meet the artist Nghiem Phu Vanluc.

Nghiem Phu Vanluc
Artist Nghiem Phu Vanluc

He was from Vietnam and had traveled around the world including Cuba, which he had several paintings of many iconic scenes from the island.

He said that we are both artists when I told him that I was a journalist. He said that our mediums were different, but in the end, we both had to use our creativity and skills to produce a product people admire.

It was nice to see that people appreciate the work and importance that journalists do.

It was a nice bus ride back and I took another nap in a very uncomfortable seat, only to get a crick in my neck.

It was a quiet evening at dinner as we had only arrived about 45 minutes before dinner and still had to fit in a quick port talk. For dinner, I kept it simple with a chicken dish and

After dinner, I got some accounting homework finished and headed off for an early bedtime before a relaxing Monday on the Seine River.

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Featured Photo: A view of the American Normandy Cementary which overlooks the Ohmaha Beach where the American forces landed on D-Day.

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