Bonjour, there! 🙂
Continuing with my weekend travels, I spent my Sunday in Rouen, the capital of the Haute-Normandie region. Woke up that morning in Le Havre, having had spent the previous night out with other teaching assistants in the city (for my adventures that night, see Part 3 here).
After I had woken up, the other assistants who I was rooming with for the night (a Canadian and a British) woke up as well, and we all proceeded to freshen up and got ready to check out of the hotel. We booked ourselves out of the *less-than-stellar* hotel around 10 am, and met up with another assistant who was joining us to Rouen.
Went to the station, purchased our tickets, and boarded the 11 am train towards Rouen. Arrived about an hour later, and wandered the streets for a bit before we were supposed to meet up with other assistants for the afternoon.
My first impression of Rouen was that it was…quaint. Charming, even. A blend of medieval and Renaissance, the capital of Haute-Normandie contains numerous, imposing cathedrals all over the city, including the famous Cathédrale de Notre-Dame:
…as well as the big, astronomical clock (Gros Horlage) that dates back to the fourteenth century:
Explored a bit of the streets before entering the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. Very lovely, just as much so as the one in Paris:
Later met up with other assistants a few hours later, in front of the cathedral. About twenty-six of us showed up to the meet-up, which one of the assistants had so kindly initiated on social media. I was introduced not only to a bunch of American teaching assistants, but also those from the United Kingdom: Great Britain, Ireland, even Scotland. Got to hear many different accents and perspectives on the numerous cultures within the Anglophone world. Really, the diversity was amazing.
In any case, the assistant who planned this meet-up event led us around town, taking us to this weekend exhibition near the harbor (free admission, so the lines were massive) and afterwards leading us for some drinks by the river. Bought myself a small bottle of Chardonnay and joined the others on the grass, drinking and soaking up the warm, sunny evening (really, the sun doesn’t set until after 8 pm; it’s insane!).
Afterwards, the assistants who I was rooming with for the night in Rouen (both were British) decided to go check in and later meet up with other (British) assistants for dinner and drinks in town. So I walked with them over to the hotel, checked in, and we dropped our belongings off in our room. It was a much better hotel than the one that we had stayed in the previous night in Le Havre: clean, spacious, and Wifi that actually worked! I was definitely a happy camper. 😀
Around 8 pm, we went out to join the two other Brits for dinner at a random café in the center of town. I, along with the two other Brits who had joined us, had already eaten some dinner, so it was only my two roommates who ordered food. I just ordered an apéritif (aka white wine usually taken to start off a meal- even though I didn’t order a meal there). 😛 Sipped my drink while listening to the Brits talking animatedly about, well, British stuff. Felt a little out of place being the sole American in the group, but they were nice and I didn’t mind listening to their accents (really, the British accent just gets to me…). 😉
In any case, the two assistants finished their dinner and we decided to split for some *actual* drinks at a nearby pub, just right in front of the Gros Horlage. The place was packed when we entered, but we got our beers. Although I don’t really like beer, the ones served there were pretty good: I got a peach-flavored beer, which was slightly sweet and made the taste not as bitter. Continued listening to the Brits talk about British stuff, occasionally adding a bit of my American perspective into the mix. Otherwise, I just sat back and listened while drinking my beer.
It was close to 1 am when we decided to call it a night. Returned back to the hotel with the two assistants; I didn’t even try to shower, because I was so tired (ew), but instead just brushed my teeth, freshened my face, and turned in for bed.
Woke up on Monday morning to the light streaming in through the windows and the sound of the weekday grind outside on the street. Chilled out for a couple hours before the other assistants woke up and we decided to go out to brunch in town with the other British assistants who we had hung out with the night before. Went out, and settled on a café near the outdoor market. I ordered a croq-Reblochon, which was a variation on the croque monsieur (similar to a grilled cheese sandwich, but instead baked or fried). The Reblochon cheese on top was super rich and creamy, and I was definitely full afterwards. The extra-crispy fries and salad were delicious as well.
After lunch, the assistants and I decided to head over to the train station to get back to our respective teaching towns. Stopped by a patisserie beforehand to purchase some éclairs; the Speculoos éclair that I had was incredible; anything with Speculoos goes! 😛
Arrived at the station, purchased our tickets, and waited for the train to arrive. It was delayed by 20 minutes, but eventually we caught the train. Got off at Le Havre again, then took the bus back to my town. Arrived back home in the early evening tired, but satisfied with the long weekend trip.
Overall, it was a good weekend: I was glad to have met up with other assistants in the region, considering that we are all so spread-out with our teaching locations. Definitely have plans to go out and explore more of Normandy on my weekends off, so stay tuned for more!
Until then, à bientôt! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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