Monday, October 1, 2007

The Garden of Eden

We have the Metro system sussed really well, but the trains are a different story!

Today, we went on a day trip to Monet's Garden in Giverny. We needed to get the Metro, train and bus to get to our destination.
We arrived at the "Gare Saint Lazare" in plenty of time to get tickets and good seat on the train. The first problem we had was getting tickets for the train, as the machine did not want to accept Dave's credit card. After a few tense moments we went into a booking agent at the station with only seconds to spare, and had to run to get on the train. We then found some lovely seats, and sat to recover from our 50m sprint. The train made it's way through the suburbs of Paris and we enjoyed watching the lovely, old buildings go by, giggling over our ticket troubles and very pleased that we made our train. Our joviality stopped when the conductor came along and checked our tickets. He began speaking to us, and it was then we suspected something was amiss. We were sitting in first class, and we should have been in second! He was kind to us, realising that we did not speak his language, and looked more annoyed at the
smelly French guy who had also made the same "mistake". We made our way through to second class to find that there was standing room only. We did not mind as half the journey had gone by and it was only another 30 minutes to our destination.

When we got to Vernon, we had to get the bus to Giverny. The bus driver was excellent, but made the whole bus full of passengers very nervous when she tried to turn into a narrow street with cars parked either side. She received a round of applause when she made it through with millimetres to spare. I'm sure that she just nudged one of them, but later in the day, we went back to see, and there was not a ding in the van!

We made it safely to our destination, and walked up to Monet's Garden. Words cannot express how fantastic this place is, and all I can say is I understand how Dave's Mum,Mary loved this place and also to say that Annie Wynen, you simply MUST put this on your to-do list! I am sure you would be able to tell us what all the flowers are.

These Dahlias were the size of a small basketball.

There were rows and rows of these gorgeous Rudbekias(?)

Pity the Irises weren't out.

A sea of Nasturtiums.

The very famous lily pond with magnificent reflections.

DB here-The gardens were a nice peaceful place. In fact most people were wispering like they were in a church. For gardeners this place is like Mecca I guess. I enjoyed the place and it was a marvellous place to read my book (The Perfect Storm) while Kate had a closer look around.

After the tranquil gardens we strolled through the town and despite it being well after lunch we avoided the cafes right near the exit and wandered into town. Low and behold there was a real local car boot sale. Lots of stalls selling lots of junk and some nice stuff as well. Managed to find a pub and had an excellent lunch in the open air (yes, the weather has turned for the better) with lots of french locals enjoying what might be the last good days of the warm season. Had trouble getting the busy waiter to get us the bill and had to run for the bus as we did not want to miss the 5:32 train back to Paris.

Bought the tickets at the station, and hopped on when it arrived. The conductor can along and we were pleased that this time we had sat in the correct class. He did not look happy with us. We were not sue what we had done wrong this time, but the penny dropped when he said a word that sounded like "validate". We should have validated the ticket at the station, even after the lady had sold it to us! He said another word the sounded like "dishonoured", and he wrote something on our ticket before giving it back to Dave. He walked off, and I wondered if he was going to come back and throw us off the train or fine us or something, so I looked up in my phrase book for some replies. Luckily, he did not return!

We have decided to get take away tonight and rest our weary legs, as well as book accommodation for our return, sort out some of our things, get ready to pack up and move shop tomorrow night.


Ron and Hilda said...

Well done Kate and Dave,

You are going to have so many fantastic memories of your holiday.

Your story regarding your train journey (to/from the gardens) will I am sure change each time you tell it. It sounds fun already but it is the kind of tale that will added to as you can't possibly tell it all here!

Love Dad

Ron and Hilda said...

Woah - Big as a small basketball???!!!

Dudley said...

So glad you enjoyed Monet's Garden.
Did you get a photo of you on the famous bridge?. When we were there we had to queue up to get a space for our photos.

What a coincidence you had trouble getting there on the train-you did better than us as it took us three tries to get there!!!
Keep enjoying
Dad / Dud

Ron and Hilda said...

Glad to hear the inspector didn't come back. We have had a good day today Lawrie had Zac come and play, I took them around to the school to play with the soccer ball after lunch. The animals are all doing well.

Love Mum & Lozza

Jodie said...

oh a french car boot sale. Why am I so convinced it would be better than a local one.
Excuse me for a little aside - Are you busy on Friday Hilda ?

Jenny and Geoff said...

Hi guys

Ron and Mitch are visiting us tonight - mitch is on nintendo with henry at the moment, no surprise there!

Ron has just shown us this blogsite, so we'll hve a good read later.

Ron just got your sms from leaving Lucern.

Good to hear you are having a great time.

Dave, Dad is recording the GF for you - it was great fun seeing Port get mercilessly flogged.

Look forward to reading the rest of your adventures.

Love from Jenny and Geoff

skinglis said...

Lovely photos. I like the fact that people were whispering. Today in Adelaide's Botanic Gardens (see message of later date) we had to contend with a couple of unruly boys chasing a family of waterfowl with their 10 young'ns and searching for things to throw at them! Then a hippie family came close to us and their screaming kids (5) were running around us in their nappies, rolling down the hill sideways (parents included). BTW - Centrals flogged North today in the SANFL. xxx Kaylie