Thursday, April 4, 2013
Most of the time, beauty lies
in the simplest of things.
~ Winna Efendi
"Why are we going to this place again?" Mike asked me for the umpteenth time as we boarded the bus for Honfleur.
"I've wanted to go there for a long time," I replied for the umpteenth time. "It was a favorite of the Impressionists.
"Okay," he muttered, not too excited for the umpteenth time.
I have to tell you that his reticence is due to the fact that he is not a fan of Impressionist painting. Actually I can take or leave a lot of it myself, but I've read so much about Honfleur in the 10 years since I first heard about it that I was set on going on this excursion when the ship offered it. Vieille Bassin, a U-shaped harbor, is the center of the historic area of Honfleur. Tall, colorful buildings line the streets, and the plain, board and half-timber architecture add to its charm. Add to that the way the light plays off the water and colors of the town, and one can see why the painters loved it so.
We arrived after a short drive, and like little kids we followed our guide, Alex, around the town for almost an hour. Anxious to take photos of this village known for its great light, I finally asked Mike if he minded if we skipped the rest of the tour. By this time, he was taken with the place, too, and we left the group to walk the town by ourselves. He shot video and I took photos, and we stopped in a few shops —mostly to warm up for a minute or two.
"I'm going to get this scarf," I announced when I saw one that I liked.
"Why are you getting it here?" he asked me.
"Duh. I'm freezing, and I want to wear it," I retorted. He agreed that since I wanted to wear it, I should get it, but that maybe I'd want to wait until Italy to get another one. I bought it, and it came in handy yesterday and today when I wore it under the green wool scarf I brought from home.
[Yes, you read that right. I wore two scarves. I also wore a camisole, t-shirt, sweatshirt (that we had to buy on the ship), coat, hat and gloves (that we had to buy at the market in Vernon). If I could have fit on two pairs of jeans, I would have done that. The temperature has hovered in the 30s (It's been the coldest winter/spring in Europe since 1939.), and the wind is brutal.]
We both enjoyed Honfleur and are glad we went. We would have liked to stay a little more than two hours, but when you're on someone else's time, you do what you have to do. Besides, by the time we got back to the bus, I was exhausted. We've walked quite a bit, but not as much as we usually do, so I attribute this fatigue to the cold. Neither of us is used to it, and tensing to try to keep warm is taxing on one's body. I fell asleep almost immediately after we got on the bus (as I've done every time we've been on a bus).
I'm really not complaining about the weather. . . Well, okay. I am complaining a little . . . We're just not used to cold like this. That said, the cold has worked in our favor in a lot of ways since it kept most tourists away from Normandy and Honfleur. I can't imagine what those places are like in the summer months.
By the way, Mike was glad we finally go to Honfleur.
"I think it would have been a lot nicer if it would have been 10 degrees warmer, though, " he said to me yesterday.
No lie, Dude.