…did you like that alliterative spin that I did there for the title? 😉 Those D’s, though (and no, I’m not talking about what I think you’re thinking about!)… 😛
In any case, yes: I spent this past weekend out of my flat and in the beautiful coastal city of Dieppe, which is about an hour, an hour and a half north of Le Havre, the closest city-port to where I live in Normandy.
The weekend getaway was a rather spontaneous one, since I decided that Friday night to go after another assistant invited some of us there for the day. Super last minute, which I didn’t really appreciate, but nevertheless I was on-board for a day trip to Dieppe, considering that I had never been (and was interested in visiting). Spent late Friday night organizing travel plans on how to get there, since I don’t necessarily live close by. Taking the train ranged anywhere from two to three hours, and it involved a transfer in Rouen, of all places…
Seriously, if you know the geography of Haute-Normandie, then you would know that there is no direct train from Le Havre to Dieppe, which would be more efficient, since both cities are just along the coast. Making a transfer in Rouen, which is inland, then hopping back toward the coast, is rather counter-intuitive, in my opinion. But I’m going on for too long about this, so let’s just stop here. 😛
Anyway, I woke up early Saturday morning to catch the morning bus to Le Havre, in order to take the train there and arrive in Dieppe by 1 pm. However, my plans got messed up, because the freakin’ bus never showed up! Not sure if this is the actual reason, but regardless, I am pinning the blame on the strikes; one thing you should know is that the French (e.g. bus drivers, teachers, supermarket workers, etc.) get a bad rep for constantly being on strike, which is really annoying if you want to do anything on your own accord, especially if you want to travel or need to get to work (true story, though…not going to get into that!). The fact that the morning bus didn’t show up set me back, because I was going to miss the morning train that I had planned to be be on and would have to catch the next train at noon, thus arriving in Dieppe two hours later than desired.
A bit pissed off, but I nevertheless caught the next bus to Le Havre. Ended up missing the train, so I waited around in the city until noon, when I caught the train to Rouen. Had another 40 to 45-minute wait there for the next train to Dieppe, then took it before I *finally* arrived at my destination close to three in the afternoon. Finally…
Indeed, it was an unnecessarily long day of traveling, but I was glad to arrive in Dieppe. From my first impressions, it closely resembles the city of Le Havre, but on a smaller scale. Unlike Le Havre, though, which was bombed to pieces during World War II and basically remodeled from scratch, Dieppe has some churches and old monument that are still standing, after having been restored by the people in the city, which I found quite touching.
Besides the history, who wouldn’t want to marvel at the pebble-stone beach? 🙂
Met up with the other assistants on the beach; we hung out, talked and whatnot while admiring the lovely coast that the city had to offer. ❤
After an hour or so on the beach, the group decided to walk around Dieppe, so we set off into town. Got separated from a few of the assistants, who went off to do their own thing, so I went with the other two, who were living and teaching there. Wandered into the centre ville, where it was surprisingly lively with people. Perhaps because it was a Saturday afternoon…tons of shops, cafés and bars, and even this cute boulangerie stand along the quai that was selling a “special” kind of bread… 😛
Since I had arrived rather late in Dieppe, it would have been impossible for me to go all the way back home after having just gotten there, so I had asked the assistant who lives there (let’s call her Kate) if I could stay the night at her place. She was cool with it, so I set off with her, along with another assistant who lived in town who was having dinner with us, towards Kate’s flat.
Granted, it was a long walk uphill, about thirty to forty minutes on-foot (whew!), but eventually we made it to her place around 18h30. Met her roommate, who was super nice, as well as had a tour of the flat; spacious, and even with a second floor and a guest’s bedroom! Impressive. 🙂
Any case, we helped Kate (who’s quite the chef) cook dinner; we assisted her in layering sliced potatoes for a potato gratin (a casserole of potatoes, cream, and cheese- delicious), heating up lentil soup, setting up the table, and everything in between. Had our dinner close to 21h00, but regardless was worth the effort: the potato gratin was amazing, as well as the chicken, broccoli, soup, and fresh *massive* baguette that Kate had bought in town earlier that day. I had bought some wine as thanks for having me over, so we had some of that, too. One of the most amazing home dinners that I have had in a while…yum.
Spent over an hour and a half eating and talking about random topics, as well as about our current teaching progress at our respective schools (more like “complaining,” but that’s not very nice…). Any case, we breaked a bit past 22h00, cleared the tables, and called it a night. I was exhausted, after a long day of traveling, so I went upstairs to the guest room, and basically crashed until a quarter after 8 the next day.
Woke up, and had breakfast with them. Talked with them for a while at the table before heading out to explore more of Dieppe during the daytime before catching the train back to my town in the early afternoon. Bid them goodbye close to 11h00, thanking them for hosting me for the night.
The walk back to the center of Dieppe took a long while, and I sort of managed to make a loop around the city, instead of cutting through at one street to get straight to the centre ville. In any case, I came across a towering château (“castle”) on my way back to the beach:
Strolled along the beach before checking out the quai. I swear, the water is a gorgeous, Normandy blue:
Cut through into centre ville and saw the Saint-Jacques church, one which resembles those in Rouen, and was restored after the Second World War. Quite imposing, no?
Got into the town center, where I decided to get a quick bite to eat at Café des Tribunaux, which Kate and her roommate had recommend that I try. Ordered a cassoulette des moules gratinées (sort of like a mussels casserole, with a lot of cheese and cream. Very à la française) that came with a lot of extra crispy fries. Not bad for the price- and it’s seafood, too! 😛
Didn’t have much time to slow down and savor the food, since I had to be at the train station around 1 pm to get home. Ate quickly, paid, and went on my way. Passed by the Palais de Justice, as well as the Hôtel de Ville, which I didn’t find as impressive as other ones I’ve seen (sorry, Dieppe!).
Any case, I arrived at the train station, took the train back to Rouen, then another one back to Le Havre where I caught the last bus of the day back to my small town. Arrived back past 18h20, tired but happy to be back.
Although I didn’t do much in Dieppe, nevertheless I had a good time exploring what the city had to offer, as well as bond a bit more with other assistants in my program. There might be a possibility that they will make the effort to come over to the Le Havre area soon, so we shall see!
That’s about it for me now; enjoy your week, folks! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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