Hello! Bonjour! 😉
For those of you who missed the last post, I recounted my weekend travel around the Normandy region in northern France. Granted, it was short, but still a tiring and accomplishing experience.
Here is Part 1 of my weekend getaway. For now, on to Part 2! 😀
Woke up around eight am on Sunday, and considering that I was Wifi-less for the weekend while my neighbors were away (long story short, I am using their Wi-fi to save money; they’re cool with it, but the connection is not stable at all), I decided to go out and explore my teaching town. Even though I had been there for a week and had seen a good portion of the town, there was still more to see. Got dressed, don my *fashionably French* scarf, grabbed my bag and keys, and set out on foot.
One thing to know is that my town is quite hilly, and so I definitely got a good workout in walk to-and-from places. Stopped by one of the few bakeries opened on Sundays for a quick lunch, then decided to catch the bus back to my flat (didn’t want to walk all of the way back, considering that I was getting a bit tired. Wasn’t in the mood for more sweat!).
Got on the bus, and was off. Now, I knew that my flat was only two stops away from where I had gotten on the bus, so I expected the bus driver to stop at the place near my flat, as usual.
But when I saw that he drove past my stop, I thought, “Oh…shit. Oh no, oh no, oh no.” Turns out that I had to press the “Stop” button to signal him to let me off. And considering that no one was at the bus stop where I was supposed to be getting off, there was no point for the bus driver to stop there, anyway.
I was panicking, not just because I had missed my stop, but also because I had plans that afternoon with another of my colleagues to go out and do something. Even worse, the buses operate only once on Sundays- one way to the terminal stop, another to the other terminal stop. The next bus wouldn’t come until four hours later, which meant that I would miss my scheduled activity with my colleague. I felt bad texting her the change of plans, but she was sympathetic about it, and so I know that there are no hard feelings towards the big mistake that I had just made, in terms of missing my one stop. *smh
On the bright side, however, the bus was heading to Le Havre, a major port city on the coast of Haute-Normandie. It is on my bucket list of places to visit, so I thought that I might as well check out the place while I wait for the next bus to take me home. Had a few hours to kill, so why not?
Arrived at Le Havre’s train station (the last stop). Got off the bus, asked for a map of the city from the Information desk, and was off! 😀
Right away, Le Havre has a completely different vibe from the smaller, rural communes that I am living in. More spacious, more modern, and the streets are structured more in the grid-like fashion that I’m typically accustomed to while living in the United States. The reason why Le Havre is so new and shiny is because the city itself was almost destroyed during World War II; it was basically rebuilt from scratch following the war, as it was built in concrete, rather than the old-fashioned cobblestone roads in other French cities. As I walked through the streets, I felt as if somehow I was back in Los Angeles again. Kind of, but not entirely.
I was first struck by the beauty of its harbor, filled with sailboats on the deep-blue waters. This is what makes Le Havre such an iconic port-city to visit. Love it. ❤
Next took a tour around the city, first stopping by its Hôtel de Ville (granted, there are Hôtel de Villes in every French city, but this one was quite nice to look at).
Afterwards, I headed towards the beaches (“les plages”) of Le Havre. I arrived there, and was immediately struck by the fact that the shoreline was comprised of…rocks?! There were so many pebbles everywhere, ranging in different sizes, shapes, and colors. I definitely felt a bit awkward trudging through the uneven terrain of stones, but in any case, it was definitely a new experience from the “typical” sandy shores that I am used to back at home.
…but you can’t deny that the beaches of Le Havre are still just as gorgeous as anywhere in the world:
After a short rest on the rocks, I left the beach, passing down a long stretch of harbors before returning to the main part of the city. Took a quick look at Saint Joseph’s Church, which was built in the 1950’s to commemorate the lives lost during World War II. It is very different from the “typical” churches that I have seen in France so far, considering that others have been around since the Middle Ages (as old as the twelfth century) and not as distinctly structured as it is (in fact, very modern-looking).
That was pretty much it after the church, as the afternoon was slowly beginning to turn into evening. My bus was due around 5:30 pm, and so I walked back to the station. Caught the bus back to my flat, and was thoroughly exhausted. Besides walking the majority of Le Havre, I had also spent my morning walking around my town! My feet were definitely tired, and so I deserved a good rest. 🙂
That being said, I had an adventurous, but fulfilling weekend exploring the region of Normandy. I already accomplished part of my goal to visit two places on my bucket list, at least within northern France. More to come in the near future; I will keep you updated! 😀
— The Finicky Cynic
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