Amsterdam day 4: Sunday 5th April

::Sunday::
Having been up so late the night before, we had a lie in, then Henri directed us in making a delushuz cooked breakfast.  The sun was (mostly out), so we ate on the rooftop patio in the sun.  Absolutely lovely.

Rooftop breakfast!!
Rooftop breakfast!!

 

Defnitely straight lines.  Not level though.
Defnitely straight lines. Not level though.
A canal!
A canal!
::cyclecycle::
::cyclecycle::
The top of the buildings:  the hooks for a rope, so they can lift stuff into the upper stories
The top of the buildings: the hooks for a rope, so they can lift stuff into the upper stories
Church, lined up with all the other buildings
Church, lined up with all the other buildings

Sunday afternoon we headed on the bikes, to a cheese tasting.  We were supplied with the correct wine for each cheese, and we were supplied with several varieties.  We learned to cut it thinly with a little cheese guillotine, and then how to smell and taste like a proper connoisseur.   It was all very yum.

Some are better at cutting things than others
Some are better at cutting things than others
Yay cheese!
Yay cheese!
Wafer thin
Wafer thin
We had to write stuff
We had to write stuff

As part of the cheese tasting, we also got to ride a canal boat, which was a very enjoyable meander through the canals.  The sun even came out a few times, and it was all very pleasant.  The cheese and canal tour all up was 22 euro, which I feel was a pretty good deal, considering the amount of cheese I ate, along with a glass of red and white wine, and a glass of port.

The spire of Westerkerk, a church, built between 1620-1630.  Rembrant was buried here.
The spire of Westerkerk, a church, built between 1620-1630. Rembrant was buried here.
A brdge
A brdge
Different house boats, and glasshouse boats
Different house boats, and glasshouse boats

After the cheese and wine and boats, we wandered back through town, and did Rick Steve’s Audio tour of the Red light district, and right to the start of the town.    I honestly don’t have a lot to write about the day, so here are a bunch of photos of canals, boats, and crooked houses!  It was just very enjoyable and relaxing, biking around, wandering, and the boat trip was definitely fun, a good way to see a lot of the city from a different view.

 

I loved to look out for the crooked buildings:  All straight lines, but  not necessarily level or square
I loved to look out for the crooked buildings: All straight lines, but not necessarily level or square
Bright red shutters
Bright red shutters
Many bridges
Many bridges
Cuddles
Cuddles
All of the bike Parking!
All of the bike Parking!
Obgliatory selfie on a boat in the Amsterdam canals
Obgliatory selfie on a boat in the Amsterdam canals
Centraal Station
Centraal Station
Pitcha
Pitcha

DSC06096

Under the bridge
Under the bridge
Flat boat
Flat boat

DSC06104

look!
look!
Science and Technology Museum
Science and Technology Museum
A replica of a 3 masted ship built in the 1700's, that lasted a year before i was destroyed in a storm
A replica of a 3 masted ship built in the 1700’s, that lasted a year before i was destroyed in a storm
Science and Technology Museum
Science and Technology Museum

DSC06144

Lifty bridge
Lifty bridge

 

"Don't even worry about the gap, just pour a bit of concrete in.."
“Don’t even worry about the gap, just pour a bit of concrete in..”
Very thin buildings
Very thin buildings
Pedaling
Pedaling
Don't fall over
Don’t fall over
Red light district
Red light district
Church
Church
I wonder if the floor slopes inside
I wonder if the floor slopes inside
Very specific cafe
Very specific cafe
5th Best, at least they're honest
5th Best, at least they’re honest

DSC06287

Melty cheese and potato
Melty cheese and potato

 

Henrietta made us another lovely dinner, mostly cheese and potato, but with a few colourful veges thrown in.  After dinner, we took the cameras out and biked around in the dark, which was actually very fun, if a little chilly.  Did some night photos, and the main thing I realised is that I need a tripod!

 

Night
Night

DSC06308

Night tulips
Night tulips
Lifty bridge
Lifty bridge
Zoomy boat
Zoomy boat
Night canal
Night canal
Steep staircase
Steep staircase
Special easter eggs.  Acutally boiled eggs, painted pretty.
Special easter eggs. Acutally boiled eggs, painted pretty.

Amsterdam Day 3: Saturday 4th April

::Saturday::
Breakfasted on more bread and cheese.  Europe can be a hard country to dine in.  Stepped outside to chilly weather, had been raining overnight. Was quite chilly.  We headed off on our bikes to the Rejikmuseum.  Bike to it, then through the little archway, parked our bikes with the hundreds that were already parked, and headed in.    Stayed till about 1pm, lots to see.

 

Tulips!
Tulips!
I am amsterdam
I am amsterdam. We managed to get a picture with a few people, why does everyone want photos here??!
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum

 

It was a lovely building, very pretty, both inside and out.  Lots of amazing paintings.  Lots of people too.

Still life with a turkey pie, by Pieter Claesz
Still life with a turkey pie, by Pieter Claesz
The milkmaid, by  Johannes Vermeer
The milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer
The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael
The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael
Everyone is watching The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Everyone is watching The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn.
A ship!
A ship!
The Battle of Terheide, Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, 1653 - 1666
The Battle of Terheide, Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, 1653 – 1666
City Walls in Winter, Willem Schellinks
City Walls in Winter, Willem Schellinks
DSC05809
A very old library, that you can still use today
A painting that looks like a marble carving.  Allegory of Fame, Gerard de Lairesse, 1675 - 1683
A painting that looks like a marble carving. Allegory of Fame, Gerard de Lairesse, 1675 – 1683
A room in a dollhouse
A room in a dollhouse
Delftware, ceramic made in Amsterdam
Delftware, ceramic made in Amsterdam
Delftware
Delftware
Amazing wood panelled boxes
Amazing wood panelled boxes
Carafe and dish with citrus fruit, Van Gough
Carafe and dish with citrus fruit, Van Gough
A windmill on a polder waterway, known as "In the month of July", by paul joseph constantin gabriël
A windmill on a polder waterway, known as “In the month of July”, by paul joseph constantin gabriël
 Weve totes been to Rouen, here is a painting in Amsterdam:  The Quay de Paris in Rouen, Johannes Bosboom, 1839

Weve totes been to Rouen, here is a painting in Amsterdam:
The Quay de Paris in Rouen, Johannes Bosboom, 1839

Went to burgermeester for lunch, quite good.  They sell ‘mini burgers’, so you can buy three of those, in different flavours, instead of one big one.  Very good. Burgers.

Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
DSC05878
Mac’s Bikes, where we hired our bikes from.

 

A canal
A canal
Teeny tiny burgers
Teeny tiny burgers
Teeny tiny!
Teeny tiny!

Then went and saw a windmill, The Grooyer.  It has a brewery/bar next to it, with tons of people lunching.  It was built in the 1600’s, was moved around a bit, and renovated a few times.  It was used to grind corn during WWII, when there was no power.  It is apparently the tallest wooden mill in Amsterdam.  The blades still work well, but it no longer grinds anything.

Windmill
Molen De Gooyer. Originally constructed in the 1600’s, and is the tallest wooden mill in the Netherlands.
Dale is lost
Dale is lost
Buildings
Buildings
Resident duck, whom everyone feeds
Resident duck, whom everyone feeds
Some boats are not well cared for
Some boats are not well cared for
Birds
Birds
Yay!
Yay!
Giant tables
Giant tables
Bikebikebike
Bikebikebike
Very cuby building.  and a tram
Very cuby building. and a tram
Faroshuz horse
Faroshuz horse

Biked around a bit, went to an island via some bridges, and admired the lovely bike lanes everywhere.  Missed the rain, as we were in the supermarket (buying more bread and cheese).  Went home about 5pm and had a nap.

Set out about 8.30pm to go find dinner.  A very pleasant bike ride across town, to a restaurant called Seasons.  Overall, a very good experience.  A little pricey, but the food was scrumptious, and the service excellent.  Food came out in a timely manner, and they were happy to cater to special requests.

After dinner, which ended just after 11pm, we headed over to the red light district for a wander.  It was definitely interesting.  There were a lot of people., though the general crowd had changed from tourist groups and a few families, to rowdier people out for the nightlife, and a few simply curious tourists like us.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, so it is all out in the open..as in, literally the girls will lounge around in front of their shop front full-length windows, winking and smiling to entice people over.  There is a lot oc skin showing, but somehow all the important bits are covered.  Even if only with suspenders.
Most windows are basically a full length glass door, usually with thick and heavy curtains, a stool or chair, and a red light above.  Not much else.  A display window, if you will.  When the woman is looking for customers, her light is on, and curtains are open.  They don’t let just anyone into the door, I saw a few talking to them, and then the door closing and them moving on their way.  If you’re rude or rough, they call security on you.

It was a little surreal biking home, through the outskirts of the red light district..  There were still plenty of locals biking around, lots of people out in the streets, and windows with red lights and girls.  No pictures though, they don’t appreciate pictures!

 

Old and new
Old and new
Bike lanes
Bike lanes

Amsterdam Day 2: Friday 3rd April

::Friday::

We woke up kind of late, as we were all a bit tired, we had gone to bed late, and we had gone forward a timezone.
We wandered off down the canals until we found a Lidl supermarket, where we bought many yummy things, and went back to eat breakfast. Pastries, cheese, bread and butter.  The best sultana bread rolls I’ve ever had.

Boats, boats
Boats, boats
There are plenty of straight lines, but often they're all just slightly skewed, or buildings are leaning against each other
There are plenty of straight lines, but often they’re all just slightly skewed, or buildings are leaning against each other
A bicycyle
A bicycyle

After breakfast we headed, wandered through town, enjoyed some canals, and watched one of the bridges go up and down, including pigeons getting almost stuck in them.  We ended up at Max’s Bikes, where we rented 4 bikes for the weekend.  They are much like all the other Amsterdam bikes, they are upright, one gear, and pedal brakes.  We spent the day biking around, enjoying the not rain.

Hey look, a canal!
Hey look, a canal!
Need to hang laundry up somewhere.
Need to hang laundry up somewhere.
Pinecone art things
Pinecone art things
Along this canal, they have plaques in the ground, naming jews who once lived there, but were murdered during the war.
Along this canal, they have plaques in the ground, naming jews who once lived there, but were murdered during the war.
Hey look, a canal!
Hey look, a canal!  A raised bridge, also
Boat, heading through a bridge
Boat, heading through a bridge
The bridge that lifted up
The bridge that lifted up

We went to Vondelpark, which is a lovely green park.  Apparently, Central Park, in NYC, was based on this park.  It was pretty, we saw some herons, and we found a bunch of green parakeets, who were flapping around, and arguing over who got to sit in the hole in the tree.  Dale and I found an adventure playground where we clambered and climbed, and then watched the local doggies run and bark.  Lots of people wandering through, and spring flowers were poking up everywhere.  Mostly bluebells and daffodils though, and not many tulips yet.

Heron
Heron
Fluffy heron
Fluffy heron
Heron in a park
Heron in a park
Becca being excited about herons
Becca being excited about herons
DSC05545
Parrots

 

I can see you  -_-
I can see you -_-
Reflections
Reflections
Still water
Still water
Rafgh
Rafgh
Playground
Playground
Our bikes
Our bikes
Sculpture.  Art
Sculpture. Art
The running of the chihuahuas
The running of the chihuahuas
Mah verry favourite ball
Mah verry favourite ball

DSC05609

Where to go!?
Where to go!?

After the park, we visited our first windmill.  Though it no longer looks like they use it, is a bit run down.  Pretty, nonetheless.

A Windmill!
A Windmill!
Resting by said windmill
Resting by said windmill

DSC05631

Birdlife
Birdlife. I think he is using a plastic bag as nesting material :< These little black coots were everywhere on the canals
Windmill Pics
Windmill Pics
Alastair and Henri
Alastair and Henri

We headed into the main part of Amsterdam city, to Dam Square.  So many bikes.  It was a little intimidating, especially if you are not used to pedal brakes and driving on the right hand side.  There were a million people on bikes, and all the locals are fast and zippy; where we would stop and look both ways, they would just continue at the same pace, and zip across the road between traffic.

There were also a few cars, mostly taxis, and a millions tourist pedestrians, all walking, meandering, and stopping in random places.  Very exciting.
It seems the best way to bike around is to act like the locals do – ring your bell a lot, and zip through all the people.  Don’t bother to wait for the pedestrians, just go around them.  Be confident, and just keep biking.

DSC05661

Heading to the tourist area
Heading to the tourist area
Dam Square
Dam Square
A statue
A statue
Rawr bikes
Rawr bikes

Biking was good, we got to cover a large area in a shorter time. When it wasn’t too busy, it was very pleasant to pootle down the little cobbled streets. It was very busy at dam square, a million bikes, and probably that many people.  Another billboard sign, warning everyone not to buy cocaine from people on the street, as a few tourists have died from being sold white heroin instead, without knowing.

 

DSC05697 DSC05709

Obligatory selfie!
Obligatory selfie!
Sunny faces
Sunny faces
DSC05744
A coot!
DSC05748
The view from our rooftop

DSC05727

 

When people used to move into buildings, they would use a rope pulley over a hook at the top of the building.  Most buildings seem to still have them.   This is because the staircases in most canal houses are too steep and narrow to get anything up.  Nowdays, it seems they use a platform conveyer belt thing.

This is how they move into buildings
This is how they move into buildings

Rain didn’t dampen biking much, everyone still seemed to be out.  Quite a range of people:  old guys with long white hair, middle aged and younger, going to the supermarket or park, parents with a kid in a seat on both the front and the back, many with a simple crate tied on the front, for carrying anything from bread and groceries, to the family dog, who sits peacefully, watching the world zip by.
Later on, people in their work clothes, people in nice dresses and heels, heading out for dinner.
Also, nobody in Amsterdam wears helmets!

Building
Building
Art
Art

DSC05513

 

I can see you
I can see you

DSC05626 DSC05645

So adventurous
So adventurous
DSC05521
Gliding

 

Not fluffy heron
Not fluffy heron

DSC05562

Amsterdam Day 1: Thursday 2nd April

We caught a short afternoon flight over to Amsterdam for the Easter weekend.   We flew with British Airways, which was different to our usual EasyJet, and we actually got given a drink and a snack!    Lots of nice views out the windows, of the English countryside, and of general smoggyness.  Saw a whole bunch of wind turbines in the ocean.  An offshore windfarm.  It looked quite surreal.

Hazy as over England
Hazy as over England
Excited!
Excited!
So cloudy :<
So cloudy :<
Freakin wind turbines in the ocean!!!
Look closely:  Freakin wind turbines in the ocean!!!
Tiny bottles of wine
Tiny bottles of wine
The coast of the Netherlands
The coast of the Netherlands
The road goes under the water
The road goes under the water
Wiggly roads
Wiggly roads
Plane is taped together.  Duct tape fixes everything...?
Plane is taped together. Duct tape fixes everything…?

 

A easy trip in to town via the railway then the subway, to our adorable air b n b apartment, on one of the canals.

We wandered the canals in the dusk, past cute, cute little houses, and many bicycles.

Steam and sky
Steam and sky
By the Centraal Station
By the Centraal Station

DSC05441

We stayed on this canal
We stayed on this canal
Dale on a bridge
Dale on a bridge
Easter window display... a little bit creepy
Easter window display… a little bit creepy
Night time
Night time

I know that bicycles are a thing here, but knowing and seeing are different. There are tons of cycle lanes, which is cool.  Roundabouts have a dedicated separate cycle lane around the outside.  There are cycles locked up everywhere. There are plenty of cycle parks, but still, not enough.  Cycles on all the front fences, cycles lined up on the footpath.
We went out to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by our host.  It was quite cool.  It was well known for it’s cocktails, so we had to try, and they were delishuz. I had a ginger and pear one, and it was the most gingery drink I had ever had.  Fiery as!

The most delishuz pear and ginger cocktail...that is not pineapple on the side of the glass
The most delishuz pear and ginger cocktail…that is not pineapple on the side of the glass
Foods
Foods

DSC05455

Flaming Dessert
Flaming Dessert
Canal by night
Canal by night

Dinner was delishuz, though service got exceptionally slow after our mains, and it took forever to get dessert then the bill. They also called meringue pavlova, which turned out to be very disappointing for me.

 

Cycling North France Day 5: Rouen to DIeppe, then home.

Our last day!   We awoke early, and were on the road by about 8.30am.  This was our last day, and we definitely had to make it to Dieppe in time for the ferry.  Our map led us past another pretty cathedral, and then up a hill.  A Very Big hill.  Most of us ended up walking up it, coz it was quite steep!    Silly hill.   We decided that Rouen was kinda in a hole, so the way we were going, any way to get out was up a hill.  That made us feel slightly better.  We had 60+ kms to get to Dieppe, so thought we would get a nice start.   Once at the top of the hill, it was pretty easy after that.  Lots of cute, old houses, and even a few with thatched roofs, and grass growing on top.  We found another tiny town, another patisserie, and got a bit carried away again.

Another Church in Rouen
Another Church in Rouen
Another Church in Rouen
Another Church in Rouen
Another Church in Rouen
Another Church in Rouen
P1280565
Some pony statue
P1280570
The sheer amount of planes that fly every day is amazing.
P1280574
More contrails, all going the same way..SO MANY PLANES, so many people going places.
P1280578
Adorable thatched roof houses
P1280582
The view back on Rouen, after our steep climb
P1280585
A signpost
P1280587
A cute house!

 

All the french people seem to go out and by their breakfast from the patisserie every morning.  True, that theyre mostly buying baguettes, and not all the yummy tarts and pastries, but we usually had a bit of a wait, and there was usually a line, to buy all the delishuz things.

Oh my goodness, these were amazing little balls of delishusness
Oh my goodness, these were amazing little balls of delishusness
Icecream cones!
Icecream cones!
Breakfast!
This is what I got to look forward to for breakfast!
A water mil, through the trees
A water mil, through the trees
My favourite cute little house, it was purple!
My favourite cute little house, it was purple!

 

Breakfast was a long time in coming that day, and 30km later, we found a little pull over place to sit and eat.  Turns out it was the place that the local French people came to fill up their bottles with spring water, as in the half hour we were sitting there, four separate cars came, pulled out their boxes of empty bottles, filled them up at the spring, loaded them into their cars, and drove off again.  We followed suit, emptying all our bottles, and filling them up with delishuz french springwater.

P1280597
Ice cream come of yummy

 

A spring, used by all the locals.
A spring, used by all the locals.

Lots more biking, a couple of bright squirrels, and a squished snake on the road, lots of cute houses, and we eventually made it back to the place where we had tea and coffee, near a little lake, at the beginning of our trip.  Looked a bit different in the day.

La Vache
La Vache
House
House
House!
House!
Lake
Lake
A little town
A little town
Back to Avenue Vert!
Back to Avenue Vert!
Our midnight lake
Our midnight lake
This was our very first morning breakfast place, pretty and leafy
This was our very first morning breakfast place, pretty and leafy

We headed in to Rouen, where we discovered all shops are either closed on Sunday, or close at 1pm.  We biked around, praying to find a pattiserie, and luckily we did, where we stocked up on our last lot of bread, cheese and pastries.  The lady in the pattiserie looked very, when I managed to ask for everything in French, including saying ‘That’s all”.   The range of response when trying to talk to the locals in French was always interesting.  Pretty much all were pleased when we actually tried, though some would just talk to us in English, once they realised we spoke it.  The smaller towns were always interesting, as often the locals would speak little English, if at all, so we would definitely have to try.

At the last moment on the way to the ferry, we found a little market, where we got the last of our provisions (IE cheese to take home, and drinks for on the ferry), and then headed to check in to the ferry.

A church
A church
Bridge going up
Bridge going up
Harbour
Harbour
Blocks
Blocks
Ferry fare
Ferry fare
Harbour
Harbour
Dieppe
Dieppe

Going from England to Europe, they don’t seem to care all that much.  However, going from anywhere in Europe, INTO England, man, they ask a lot of questions.  Who are you?  How long are you staying?  Where have you been?  What is your job?  Where is your husband?   What do all your family members do?   Will you promise me your first born child?
Well, not quite that extreme.  But I usualy have to tell them exactly where I went, and why, how long was I away, and why I want to re-enter England, who I am travelling with.. .    I think they ask more questions than even the USA did.

Anyway, again with the weird biking through customs, weird exciting.  We headed onto the boat, found comfortable seats, and proceeded to spend the four hours: eating, yum, playing cards, watching the sunset, napping, reading, and being tired.  Off the ferry in NEwhaven, then the bike back in the dark, along the undercliff trails, to home!  Arrived about 11.30pm, all ready to go to work tomorrow.

PRetty sky
PRetty sky
Lovely sunset
Lovely sunset
Pinks
Pinks
We ate these the next day, Yeahhh
We ate these the next day, Yeahhh
yum
yum

P1280699

Countryside
Countryside
P1280575
Corner house

 

Fighting Plan
Fighting Plan
Knobbly things near the port
Knobbly things near the port
Pastries!
Pastries!
Chocolate things
Chocolate things
A sunny day
A sunny day

 

Cycling North France Day 4: Ry to Rouen

We awoke bright and early, and finished the last of the Raclette on some baguette, (sub standard baguette, becoming bread snobs!), with the promise of buying more, better, baguette in Ry, then heading out somewhere pretty to eat it.  After saying goodbye to our lovely hosts, we headed down the hill to Ry.  One thing I noticed around a few places, were little shrines, just by the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere.

Our cute little house
Our cute little house
The attic
The attic
House
House
Selfie
Selfie
Ready to go
Ready to go
Cute little house
Cute little house
A Christian statue at the side of the road - there were quite a few of these, spread around
A Christian statue at the side of the road – there were quite a few of these, spread around

In Ry (An absolutely adorable little town), we stopped at the local patisserie to get (More, Again) baguettes, and pastries.  This place was one that I just wanted to ask for one of everything, in a large sack, if you please!  Everything looked amazing.  After filling up our bags, we headed out of town, until we found another littler town, where we found a nice flat area to sit and eat our spoils.

 

Little river in Ry
Little river in Ry
Little river in Ry
Little river in Ry
Old house in Ry
Old house in Ry
P1280348
This is what the signs that signify the end of town look like. No more Ry.

 

Mmmm second breakfast
Mmmm second breakfast
Delishus
Delishus

We then pottered off towards Rouen.  We wanted to arrive at a decent time, so we would have plenty of afternoon for Touristing in Rouen, and we arrived just after lunch, I think.  We stayed at the Ibis in the middle of town (got a cheap deal), and quickly showered and changed.

Rouen is lovely.  I wasn’t expecting anything, as I hadn’t done any research, what with being busy with other things.  It is an adorable town, with streets preserved as they were in medieval times, with their crooked beams and leaning houses and narrow streets.

Medieval streets of Rouen
Medieval streets of Rouen
Medieval streets of Rouen
Medieval streets of Rouen
Cute
Cute
Very cute crooked houses.   Medieval streets of Rouen
Very cute crooked houses.
Medieval streets of Rouen

It is also home to Monet’s Cathedral – the Cathedral that Monet painted a series of impressionist paintings, all in different lights of the day.   Google it, if you don’t know what I”m talking about.  It was very impressive, so much detail and intricacies.

Cathedral of Rouen
Cathedral of Rouen
P1280388
Cathedral
P1280381
Cathedral roof

 

Doors that are tall enough for anyone
Doors that are tall enough for anyone
P1280445
Joan of Arc windows

 

Cathedral
Cathedral
P1280415
Gardens
P1280425
Tall
P1280421
Such detail

 

 

It was also interesting to read about the bombing of it during the war, and see some of the windows that were plain, as the pretty stained glass ones had been broken.   It had been bombed by the Lancaster bombers, which was interesting and relevant to me, as we had actually seen some examples of the Lancaster Bombers flying at the Eastbourne airshow, a month or so ago.

P1280378
Windows
P1280433
The Disaster!
P1280436
Angel

 

There was also a large ornate building in town, that still had all the mortar shell holes in the sides of it.  I find it very interesting to see these actual bits of history, rather than just hearing about it, or reading it in textbooks.  It was like when we were in New York seeing paintings that Picasso had painted, then while on a walking Tour in the Montmarte area of Paris, and standing in front of the house where Picasso had actually painted that picture.

P1280514
War wounds
P1280512
Didn’t fix the holes…

Anyway, Rouen!   Rouen was also the place where Jeanne d’arc – Joan of Arc, was imprisoned, and then burned at the stake.  There is a church and a memorial dedicated to her.

P1280498
Joan of Arc Memorial
Joan of Arc Church
Joan of Arc Church

 

We wandered town, ate yummy things, and enjoyed the sights, before heading back to the hotel for some extra layers of clothing, and a nap before dinner.  We ate at a lovely restaurant, overlooking the Cathedral, and it was all lovely.

P1280494
Carousel. only for little people.
P1280470
The clock. Has been around since 1400-1500s.
P1280501
The square near the Joan of Arc Memorial
P1280529
The Seine, as it runs through Rouen.

P1280509

Mid afternoon snack - raisin escargot and cherry flan
Mid afternoon snack – raisin escargot and cherry flan
IMG_20140927_113446
Ohhh patisseries..
P1280533
An old wall
P1280537
A concoction of mince, sauce and egg.
P1280535
Proper french onion soup. Contains cheese, so must be good!
P1280545
Lit up at night

 

 

Church
Church
Beams!  Shutters!  Passageway under the house!
Beams! Shutters! Passageway under the house!
Thatched roof!
Thatched roof!
IMG_1737
Pamplemousse!
IMG_20140927_113718
Oh bread, how I love you

 

This water tower seemed to be everywhere
This water tower seemed to be everywhere
P1280536
Dale’s meal… The french waiter was impressed he ordered it. And ate it!

 

Cycling North France Day 3: Forges Les Eaux to Ry

Friday 26th September

Friday we woke at a decent time, got up, and, as you do, went to get breakfast from the local patisserie.  More cheese, bread, pastrys, oh no!

Breakfast spread.  Those things I am holding are little pastry balls of delishusness
Breakfast spread. Those things I am holding are little pastry balls of delishusness
Breakfast tart :)
Breakfast tart 🙂

It did take us a while to get all sorted and out the door, as it was our first proper morning, but we weren’t in a particular hurry, and the whole day was kind of like that, just pootling around, looking at whatever we felt like, going wherever.  The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm, with just enough of a breeze to keep you cool.   I imagine summer would be quite hot.

Hanging Basket, Forges-les-eaux
Hanging Basket, Forges-les-eaux
Un petit chien!
Un petit chien!
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
All kitted out
All kitted out

We headed back over to Avenue Vert, which turned, very suddenly, from wide, paved, smooth, to rough grass with a bit of a dirt track in the middle.  It was certainly interesting, but you wouldn’t want to follow that forever.  Quite bumpy.  Lovely and peaceful though, heading through the farmland and trees, with no city noises or car noises.

To this way!
To this way!
After Forges-les-Eaux, the Avenue Vert turns a little less pavement-like, and a little more like a dirt track...
After Forges-les-Eaux, the Avenue Vert turns a little less pavement-like, and a little more like a dirt track…

We got back onto normal roads, then kinda lost the trail a bit, headed down a few little side roads and had a bit of a map consulting session, before we headed off down some more back roads.   We saw a tiny town up on a hill, and off-roaded it up a steep hill to have a look.  La Ferte-Saint-Samson, a tiny little village on a hill, with very cute buildings (tudor style, and Henri reckoned with Germanic influence), probably 15th-16th? Century.  It was quiet and lovely, and we biked around for a bit.

Vines growing out of the chimney La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Vines growing out of the chimney
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
An adorable little house. La Ferte-Saint-Samson
An adorable little house.
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Old church La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Old church
La Ferte-Saint-Samson

Headed to the top of the hill to check out the cute little church, where the bells rung for midday.  Whoever was ringing them, seemed to enjoy it, and they went on for quite a bit.   Found a little orientation statue thing, and a very old tree, which I climbed.  Carefully.  It was so lovely and peaceful and sunny.

The lookout. La Ferte-Saint-Samson
The lookout.
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Countryside
Countryside
The lookout
The lookout
A bowl
A bowl
Coutnryside
Coutnryside
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Church La Ferte-Saint-Samson
Church
La Ferte-Saint-Samson

Someone at some point during the morning had mentioned that we hadn’t had any flat tyres or problems yet, so heading out of town, Henri got the first flat tyre of the trip. We went back to the pretty village square to fix it, so not a bad view to have to endure.

First flat of the day.  Dale is "helping".
First flat of the day. Dale is “helping”.
We weren't too sad though
We weren’t too sad though
A map!
A map!
Lovely and sunny
Lovely and sunny
Clear road ahead
Clear road ahead

Finally managed to leave town, looking forward to doing some decent biking, and Dale got the second flat tyre of the hour, just down the road.  There was a french horse, whom I greeted in French, although he was quite uncommunicative.  He didn’t mind that I brushed all the flies away from his face though, and we had some pats, before parting, and we continued on our way.

One thing I noticed, and kept noticing throughout the trip, was that even in the peaceful quiet of the countryside, there always seemed to be some passenger plane or other going overhead.  Just the sheer amount of plane traffic in the sky above Europe is amazing.  So. Many. Planes.  So many people going places.  It is honestly a bit ridiculous.

Another little town
Another little town
Second flat of the day!
Second flat of the day!
Mon petit poney!
Mon petit poney!

More lovely countryside, green rolling hills, farmland, and the occasional bit of wooded forest.  We had a vague destination of a local castle, though google maps couldn’t pinpoint it, and we ended up biking around in a big circle, before stopping to ask directs from a local French lady.  She spoke lots of fast french words, until Henri asked her to slow it down a little, and we ascertained that we had to go down the road, left at the corner, then a few kms along, then you couldn’t miss it.   I think we were a bit excited about asking and getting directions in French!

Farmland
Farmland
A little road
A little road
Dear Josh (ieBear), I thought of you, every time we saw cow eggs.
Dear Josh (ieBear), I thought of you, every time we saw cow eggs.

 

We eventually found the castle, Chateau Bremontier-Merval, which was a massive four storey thing, very pretty, which is now a school.  It was on a hilltop, surrounded by lots of huge, old trees, all leafy green and knobbly.

Tall!
Tall!
I had to back right up to get the whole thing in the photo.  This is now a tertiary school.
I had to back right up to get the whole thing in the photo. This is now a tertiary school.
Built in the 1600's
Built in the 1600’s
Pretty
Pretty
Smile!
Smile!
It's this tall!
It’s this tall!

 

 

After the castle, we headed towards our destination, somewhere to the South and West.  We stopped for lunch in a little town, I think was called La Feuillie.   There was one patisserie, where the lady didn’t speak much English at all, but we managed to get all we needed.  We met a Brit, who had lived in France for a while.    There was no supermarket, but we managed to find a couple of dairy/4 square type places (I’m not sure what you call them in England.. Newsagents maybe?)  where we bought enough food for dinner and breakfast.

pre lunch snack
pre lunch snack

P1280257

View
View
Bonjour, little schoolkids
Bonjour, little schoolkids
Lunch!!!
Lunch!!!
Road
Road
Totes saw a baloon
Totes saw a baloon

We had to follow some main roads, which really wasn’t as fun, but not much choice.  We had a lot of trouble finding our destination – gmaps doesn’t always like French places.   Eventually, our lovely Airbnb hosts came to pick us up, which honestly made me happy, as the lived at the top of a massive hill.  They were very happy, as we were the first bike tour people they had had stay with them, and also the first New Zealanders.

Our accomodation was an adorable little cabin, with all the amenities, a pull out couch, and an adorable little loft bed up top.  We had a quick dip in the pool, met the local ponies, goats, geese and chickens, and then got clean and dry for dinner.  Henri made us a lovely, lovely dish, of layers of potato and raclette (we had this in Bordeaux, it is the cheese that is for melting, it is so, so delishuz).   For the sake of feeling better about ourselves, we also had some stirfry veg.  And baguette.  I put the raclette/potato mix on the baguette.  It was amazing.   Lovely pastries and tarts for dessert, and I think we also had some macaroons.

Our accomodation for the night
Our accomodation for the night
A pool
A pool
Goats
Goats
A seal
A seal
This is the most amazing thing!   A raclette and potato pan pie.
This is the most amazing thing! A raclette and potato pan pie.
This was our dinner, and it was amazing
This was our dinner, and it was amazing
IMG_1726
One giant macaroon!
Secluded
Secluded

 

I guess I should have felt bad for the sheer amount of food I was eating, but I really didn’t, because, hey, so very delishuz.  Also, we were biking like 50km a day.

We lay out on the deck chairs, surrounded by the gathering dark, and watched the stars start to twinkle, and the bats flitter about through the trees.  Bliss.

We must have seen half a  dozen planes go by while we were lying there (plus one shooting star).  Do they ever stop?

Another decent nights sleep, however this time, we intended to be up and gone early the next day, so we could get to the next town with plenty of time to look around.

 

Zoomy!
Zoomy!
zoomy
zoomy
Yeahh
Yeahh
P1280252
Built in the 1600’s
IMG_1723
I am LOST!  (we knew how to say this, in case we were)