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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 30, 2012

Tuesday, the good, the bad and the pretty-PART I

Before I get started on a report of the day, I have to relate a real Metro success story. I had looked and studied last night how to get to the train station for my trip to Giverny and figured I could do it using just one line and an underground passage I had read about. But by morning I was feeling a little less confident because it seemed hard to believe that just one metro line could get me pretty much across the city and into the station. So I got on the train, I got out my map, excused myself to the pleasant looking man next to me and tried to show him what I wanted to d and tried to explain about the passage.. He studied all that but said no, I should go one more stop on this line, get off there, transfer to another line and ride it to the very next stop and that would be the station. So I did that and it worked so that was fine, but to get to the station, I had to go up and outside and then cross the street to the station. So on the train back to Paris, I studied it all again and decided okay, I'm going to try it my way and see if there is this underground passage. I got off the train and entered the fray of a very busy train station. Saw signs pointing down for bus, metro, taxis, etc. and started down (on escalators). Got to the next lower floor and there were signs saying metro lines 14 and 9 this way and I thought Eureka! because that's what I was looking for - line 14 was supposed to be the start of a passage to my line 9. I kept following the signs which took me to the other end of the station, then down another level, and then through a great long passage and more up and downs and, it worked! There I was, right where I wanted to be waiting for a line 9 train. No transfers and no stairs! Mother, pin a rose on me!

Part I - the good (and pretty too!)

So, today's trip...it was quite nice and it was pretty awful. Quite nice first. When you go to Giverny, the train takes you to a small town called Vernon and then there's a bus you take to Giverny itself. I decided that before I took the bus (because every person that got off at Vernon, was climbing onto the bus), I would explore the town for a while, have some lunch and then go. So that's what I did and it was just a real nice visit. The village center is the historic part and they have a little guide flyer at the tourist information office that takes you around on a walk of the major things, none of which are really major really, but it's very much a photo-op little village. And it's right on the Seine River so it has that attraction also. I started right in taking pictures and here they are.

First off, the Hotel de Ville or city hall as we call it.  But once I learned Hotel de Ville, I like it - very French.  

 And then, after saying yesterday no cathedrals today, here's the church for Vernon. :)

 This is a very old church, started around 1050.  Not as grand as the others, but lovely all the same.
 The pulpit...
 The altar area and the first time I've ever seen a rug in a church.

Beautiful flowers and the church ladies were in the church working on them which gave it a nice feeling.

 The organ in front of the rose window.
According to a floor plan showing the progress of the church, this is the original portion built between 1050 and 1150.
And this is a keystone that was also indicated on their floor plan (they had a lot of information about their church which I really appreciated).  The carving is of the Annunciation which isn't really visible even with zooming in.

Going back outside, this is a picture of the building that now houses the tourist information office. 
This delightful building was constructed in the 15th century!  This is where the tourist information office is located and even though it's a trek from the train station, with no signage to help you find it, they couldn't have picked a better location.  I know any dollhouse/miniaturist who mght be following this blog will love this. :)

I followed the street around to the back of the church and these next pictures are from there.

And this picture shows the "lantern" which was added during the 13th century.

And the rest are just from my walk around the village.

 What the Seine River looks like when it's not in Paris.

I swear he knew he was posing - held this position for a few moments right after he got close to me and then paddled off.

Overlooking the Seine, this is the 18th century residence of the last Lord of Vernon when he came to town to listen to the grievances of his subjects.

The tower in the background is all that remains of the fortified castle of Vernon.  By the time I got to this point and figured out what it was, I was too tired to try and find the front and was quite content with this view.

They have a tiny little museum in one of these old buildings and these next pictures were taken there.
 Beautiful staircase with slabs of wood for the stairs rather than stone.  And the lovely terra cotta tile landings.
It doesn't show at all in the picture, but the glass in the window is the real old wavy, bubbly kind.
And just another view of the Seine...

After all that wandering I was ready for lunch and figured I'd better get at it anyway, it I wanted to get out to Giverny with enough time to visit there.  Had a lucky break in my choice of a place to eat.  Nothing spectacular, but I've been watching people eat what always look like very good salads ever since I got here and finally decided that since it was so hot that's what I would try.  I got one that had very nicely cooked chicken - real tender and thin sliced, lots of lettuce, large shreds of Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced artichoke hearts (I think) and one half of a hard-boiled egg sitting on top.  It came looking really slathered with dressing and I though "uh oh" but the dressing was delicious and it was only on top.  By the time it got mixed in a bit, it was just right.  I ordered it as part of a fixed price thing which came with a choice of various entrees, a choice of cheese or dessert and a choice of wine or fruit juices.   Had a nice cold white wine with it and and for dessert a tiny little "lavas" cake - first time I ever had one and it came in a pool of creme anglaise and was scrumptious. 

So then it was time to get back to the train station to catch the bus to Giverny.


Chinch said...

What a peaceful, lovely place Vernon appears to be -- I think I might like to spend a month there. Maybe that's why the Lord came to listen to grievances. And I love the little carving next to the Musee arrow. Congrats on your mastery of the Metro!!! xoxo

Christopher said...

What a surprising little find, Vernon! Quite picturesque; the tourism building and all those timber houses could be straight out of York, England! And the church is quite lovely. Pretty much charming all around, I'd say! (And another glorious day, too!) I really like that image of the interior stairs with the bright window & beautiful wrought iron railing, too!

otterine said...

I've so enjoyed your posts on this trip. You choose to photograph the most wonderful details many people overlook. I'm sure you and I would get on well taking a trip together! hahaha. Lovely...and kudos to you for figuring out the best travel route!

Mary Lynne said...

Marlene wrote: I like Vernon and the church is just right, even with its rug! I could have spent more time there with you. Liked what you had for lunch! Now on to Giverny . .

Mary Lynne said...

What a treat to come home to so many nice comments to this one and the "bad" one. Vernon was just really delightful and made me realize that if I ever traveled in France again it would be to smaller towns and maybe with a car. Paris is incredible and I'm glad that I was able to make the trip and see all the things I've seen but it's just SO MUCH! Florence (my always favorite city) IS a city, but comparing it to Paris would be similar to comparing Huntington to NYC!! :)

Chris you're such a nice son to always pick out a photo or two and compliment me on them. You probably make my readers jealous! Sons like you are NOT a dime a dozen.

I really appreciate all the moral support! :)

Lisa in WV said...

Mary Lynne, I have a cup of coffee like Carolyn so I thought I would read your blog too. I can't believe the crowds that you face in Paris in May - clearly it is very much in season right now. I am noting this - should I visit Paris, I will not choose May to September - I hate crowds.


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