After a lovely weekend in Le Havre, along with visiting the smaller towns nearby and making a day trip down to Lower Normandy, it was time for me to leave. I had an appointment in Rouen for my VISA immigration processing, so with that, I woke up super early, dropped my colleague’s keys off in her mailbox (she had left the previous day for Paris), and headed over to the bus station to catch the regional bus over to Rouen.
Now, I could’ve chosen to take the train over, considering that it would’ve been quicker than the bus. However, I like to budget travel, so I paid a mere 2 euros to get to Rouen by bus, versus 8 euros for the train. Although the journey took almost three hours (compared with one hour by train), I don’t mind long rides and having learned to appreciate the beauty of the countryside, even in the dark, wee hours of the morning.
I arrived in Rouen around 9h30 and had about an hour to kill before my VISA immigration appointment. It was still very early in that not too many people were out and about yet, so I was able to get pure shots of the famous, touristy places in the city, including le Gros Horlage and la Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen.
Even though I’ve visited Rouen many times last year as a teaching assistant in the region, coming back never ceases to surprise me with something new. Besides the rue du Gros Horlage where the colorful, half-timbered houses are situated, I also discovered a certain beauty underneath the Gros Horlage itself, with its intricately gorgeous sculpture of gods and goddesses. Among the multiple times I’ve been to Rouen, it never occurred to me to look up to see it. I’m glad that I did this time, though! 🙂
Eventually, I headed over to my VISA immigration appointment, where I met other teaching assistants scheduled for that day as well. We got our medical stuff sorted out, then proceeded to head over across town to another building to finalize our paperwork (as to why the immigration process doesn’t all take place in one building, let alone within the same part of town, it completely baffles me).
Any case, we had our second appointment around 13h00. More waiting ensued, but eventually I got my VISA *finally* approved, meaning that I was legal to work in France for the next few months. Success! 🙂
By then, it was around 14h00. I decided to hang out a bit in Rouen before catching the train back to my small town in the evening. Besides checking out the main, historical quarter of the city (which I’ve done plenty of times), I also wanted to check out the city views since the last time I was in Rouen back in April, I didn’t have the opportunity to do so. The panoramic views were actually in the town over, and up on a hill, so it would be a challenge to make it up to get a look of the city. I wasn’t bothered by any means, for I’m used to long walks; that said, I was determined to find it!
Armed with Google Maps and my wonderful sense of direction (uhh…not really), I proceeded to head over to the panoramic spot. Granted, even with Google Maps, I actually got lost trying to find it, after climbing several hills and crossing through some nature-y parts in the city outskirts. What could’ve been a 40-minute walk actually turned into 90 minutes, but finally, I made it to the top, sweaty but satisfied.
The views were lovely; although obstructed by some trees, I think the nature complemented the city scene pretty well, with that nature-urban atmosphere to it. Must’ve taken a dozen shots of the same place, as it was amazing. Mission accomplished! 🙂
I took another route back down to the city center, although it was a bit dangerous doing so: there were no sidewalks and so I had to be careful to stay right on the road’s edge so that cars wouldn’t hit me. Definitely rather scary, but eventually I made it onto the sidewalk and returned to the city center of Rouen close to 17h00.
Starving, I decided to grab an early dinner at a kebab joint (my favorite one being near l’Abbaye Saint-Ouen) as a treat for my efforts to climb that hill, along with my long VISA immigration appointment that day, let alone this whole weekend away from home. I think the owner knows me now, since I’ve been to that spot easily five times already. Good customer, am I right? 😉
After demolishing my kebab and fries (seriously, I was that hungry), I decided to take the next train back to my small town. Arrived back around 19h00 and went back to my flat to crash for the rest of the night.
…and that concludes my short weekend away during the two-week holiday! While I could’ve chosen to go big with visits outside of France (as I did so last year around the same time), I think making that small trip within the Normandy region was a good experience for me. Not only did I get to revisit my favorite city in Le Havre, but I also got to discover and explore the smaller towns that otherwise would have been overlooked. Because of it, I got to really appreciate the beautiful cliffs of Sainte-Adresse, along with the picturesque port in Honfleur, which in the end was a lovely addition to my knowledge of Normandy.
In any case, I have a couple of more travel posts to share with you later, although not of the two-week vacation back in October! Hope you enjoyed my adventures, and I promise that more will come! Take care, bloggers! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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