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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 29, 2012

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

Part II - The bad but also pretty - feel free to skip the rant and go straight to the pictures. :)

The bus ride was only 20 minutes or so and there we were, along with however many thousand other people.  It was a long, long, hot walk from where you get off the bus to get to the house and gardens  passing all sorts of places open for money - many restaurants, small hotels, artist's studios, etc.  All in the old buildings that I guess made up the tiny village of Giverny, but all really spoiling any possibility of getting even a glimmer of what it would have been like years ago.  And I just don't think whatever organization it is that runs the whole shebang is equipped to deal with such crowds and I don't think they should.  A reservation system might help -  when they reach a certain number of reservations for the day, that would be it. Michelin star restaurants do it - I've read you have to make reservations at some of them 3 - 6 months in advance.

There just was no way at all to enjoy the house which I especially wanted to see.  It's a nice sized house but lots of small rooms and they were all jammed with people trying to get in, trying to get out, trying to figure out what they were looking at cause there was not a sign anywhere telling you anything.  I had asked when I paid for my ticket if there was a guide in English and was told "no".  Period.  As I walked away from that very pleasant woman, there was another woman herding people out and I said to her "is there some guide to where the house is"   and was told "no".  So then I got a little snotty, I confess, and said "so I just wander around until I find it" and that time I got a "yes".  Rude, rude, rude.  As was anyone else I had any contact with out there.  Except for other visitors who were all sort of in the same pickle so would tell you as best they could where they thought things might be.  It was just really unpleasant.  I got out of the house very quickly but first, of course, had to be told "no, no madam, no photos!" when I got ready to take a second one.  There had been no signage for that either because I looked when I came in and also, of course, throughout the house people were taking pictures everywhere you looked.

The gardens certainly had lots of beautiful flowers and even though there were hundreds of people milling around in them also, it was a much bigger space to mill around in.  I'm kind of wondering if people who stay in the hotels that are there are allowed to wander around after they close for the day (which they do at 6:00 p.m.).  That's what they do at the Biltmore and that's why Chris loves staying in that hotel.  And it IS really nice having the grounds all to yourself in the evening.  But I will never go back to find out, so write it down!  I really wished I had just stayed a while longer in Vernon cause there were several interesting shops that for some reason were all closed when I was doing my walking around there, and were open as I was walking back to the train station.

Anyway, bitter disappointment or not, I did take some pictures and it would be a beautiful place to spend time if it just wasn't completely jammed with people, had a courteous staff, and had a map with a guide (Vernon managed one!) to help you navigate. So, that was the bad, here's the pretty.  I tried to have my photos include as few people as possible and did pretty well with that.  And a lot of them are probably similar, but then Monet himself painted the pond for 30 years so probably a lot of his pictures were similar also. :)

 Looking out at the gardens from an upstairs bedroom window (and getting a breath of fresh air!)
The yellow dining room with the man in the yellow shirt.  The second picture I started to take shows the other side with hutches filled with blue and white china.  I saw a miniature version of this room once and always thought it would be a wonderful room to try and replicate.

The house as seen from the garden which was loaded with irises - one of my favorites.
A few red poppies in the background...

The lily pond which I think is a widening of a stream that runs through the property.  Way at the back of the picture is one of the two arched wooden bridges.  I never could get a close up picture of one because that's where everyone wants to have their picture taken so they are always full of people.

 Wisteria hanging from the trellis over the bridge.

I really like this close-up!

My insanely successful trip back to the apartment helped my mood some although entering into the oven didn't do much for it.  But now I'm sitting out in the park area typing this and will probably go get the baguette I bought along with a Boursin cheese I've really been enjoying, put my wine in a Coke can and come back out to eat and read for a bit.  And I may just put my sweater on to do it!  Oh, because that's another thing - last night when I finally got to bed, I began to think I was maybe getting a cold and sure enough, this morning I felt pretty awful.  I never know anymore if what I get are colds or just allergies but they make my throat hurt and make me feel puny.


Christopher said...

Pity about the house operations... You're right---it sounds like they're ill-equipped for such huge tourist traffic. At least out in the gardens (surely Monet's biggest draw!) you've got space to breath and enjoy what looks like beautiful grounds! I recognize the "pond" in your images quite easily. And I love that white flower closeup! (And the light purple spiky one is neat too.) Kudos on your metro / tunnel perseverance! There are a few such tunnel connections on the NY subway system, and it can be really nice to not have to go outside to change trains!

January said...

I liked Vernon better too! :) The fact that the tourist information building looks so top-heavy and teetering is just kind of adorable. I'm sorry the gardens and house were so unbearably crowded, though, because it does seem like it could have been a really nice part of your trip otherwise!

Mary Lynne said...

Marlene wrote:
With your photos, you made the unpleasant, very pleasant, Mary Lynne. Monet certainly had great inspiration for his paintings. I'm with you, though, I would have stayed in Vernon longer! Sorry for your cold - get well!

Elga said...

Oh, Mary Lynne, what a day, but the gardens are just lovely. Take it easy and keep a bit of energy for the weekend, see you in about 52 hours :-)

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