Monday, June 06, 2011

Iceland/France/Italy Day 9: Mother's Day at Monet's Garden

May 7, 2011
France Day 9: Mother's Day at Monet's Garden

Despite the truly insane amount of walking we did yesterday, I somehow managed to have a really bad sleep! Blergh! Anyway after tossing and turning all night I got up and had a shower and woke up a bit with some fresh air from a walk to the market to buy some breakfast. I wasn't feeling super great and felt a bit of a cold coming on, so I just took it easy on the rich food in the morning and had a small breakfast of just some yoghurt. There's no time for dilly-dallying on vacation, the show must go on!!!

So off we went to St-Lazare station and bought our tickets to Vernon, the train station nearest to Giverny, where Monet's House and Garden are. Mother's Day is tomorrow, but this is essentially our Mother's Day present to Mom. This is the place she wanted to visit the most and it was super awesome. We got to our train and there was a girl picking her nose somethin' fierce on the seat near us, like she was reaaaally diggin' for something. Rather than watch her, I fell asleep almost instantly and snored for the 45 min ride to Vernon. Good times. That was pretty sweet and after that morning nap I was more alive and ready to check out a ton of flowers.

I made the cardinal error of assuming that things would run on time in a small town with lots of tourists. Whoops. We had gotten onto the Vernon-Giverny bus and it must have taken about 30 min to leave the station. The return tickets we had were only going to give us 2 hrs at Giverny and time was ticking. After discussing with everyone, we did a "Recalculating route!" (GPS-style) on the day, deciding to stay longer at Giverny and take the later train home. Vernon also looked much more alive than I remember it when Ans and I went to visit there in 2007, so we planned to get some coffee there on the way back.

We made our way through the line at Monet's Garden and made friends with a lady from Japan who was traveling to a list of the "most beautiful cities in Europe" and was very excited to see the gardens. We got in and the gardens were super amazing and relaxing. I took a bunch of photos and relaxed on the bench with Dad for a bit while Mom and Norm wandered. There was a great bench right by the waterlillies which we sat on for ages and then watched some folks getting their wedding photos done on the bridge there. It was a great day and by lunchtime I was getting hungry and glad that we brought lots of baguette and cheese with us.

Off we went on the bus back to Vernon and it we much smoother on the return trip. It was a quick trip and we had a nice amount of extra time for a coffee at a very French-style cafe on the street in Vernon. We ordered a crepe to share and coffees and it was a nice spot to relax. On the way back, the train was super crazy!! I think because the bus took a long time to Giverny, there were a lot of extra people on the later train going back to Paris. It was super packed but we made it back fine and found a little corner of the train to stand in near the bathrooms which was a little less cramped. Some people even sat down with earplugs on in-between the train cars because it was so packed on the train!!

So that was pretty crazy but we got back pretty quickly and headed home to the apartment. I had a nice sleep on the couch and woke up to an amazing dinner that Mom had prepared, some fantastic salmon for dinner with some of the Maiie mustard we had bought. It was really excellent and everyone loved it. I got to bed early that night and had a nice long sleep after another busy day.

Haha I thought this was funny. "Eat Pray Love" in French, with the same graphic as the English novel.
Purple puffballs
Lots of purple
More Purple!
Dad laughing manically about us sitting on the bench. The lady on the left side of the photo was sprawled across the ENTIRE set of 2 benches, and we walked over to sit down and it was one of two choices of free areas to sit. Dad intentionally chose the seat where the lady had her stuff (and self) sprawled out everywhere so she'd have to figure out that other people exist in the world and would have to move. It was hilarious. Then we joked and laughed about the situation.
Mom and Dad enjoying the gardens
White flowers
Red flowers
Another Mom and Dad pose
One of my favourite pics of the trip. You can imagine Monet sitting in this garden, looking at this exact scene, and painting a glorious masterpiece!
Similar photo, a little brighter
Near the Waterlillies
Good times

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