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.
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.