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Off the ship, back in Paris–catching up

May 22, 2015
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i have finally gotten to fast internet where I could update the wordpress ap, so I am back in business. Internet was not fast enough on the ship, so I had to send pictures via facebook.  I still couldnt send pictures so here is a test. I mayjust have to wait until tomorrow when I get home, then i will catch you up. Be checking facebook. 

We spent our last morning at Malmaison, one of Napolean and Josephine’s homes. It started out sunny, but once again turned colder and we had light rain. The group who went to the other tour and those who stayed in town got hail again. But we did get the sun back. 

Malmaison was impressive and we learned a lot of history.     

        

 

 

 

Then as we  were eating lunch, the ship began the journey to Paris. We arrived in Paris late in the afternoon. We met for some discussions in the afternoon. 

Day 6 Rouen

May 18, 2015
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I continue to have wordpress issues, so unfortunately, no pictures again today, but I am posting pictures to my facebook page and will try again to add photos tomorrow. We were docked in Rouen when we awoke to sunny skies. One group took a bicycle tour, several groups did guided walking tours and some toured on their own. There were beautiful cathedrals in town and some unique architecture.  This is the town where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.  A beautiful city.

34 of us boarded a bus after lunch for a private garden tour. We saw two huge gardens. The first was Le Jardin du Vasterival. The garden was 50 years old and was a sea of gigantic rhododendrons along with thousands of other plants–truly a beautiful and well designed garden, but also a great collection of plant material as well.  We had a great tour, but the weather got colder and cloudier, and we ended up in a downpour before it was over.  Then it was on to our next large garden, Le Bois Des Moutiers. Begun in 1898, the estate and garden have been owned by one family since their inception. The gardens were designed y Gertrude Jekyll and have a decidely English feel to them with sweeping vistas and numerous garden rooms.  Again, the rhododendrons were astonishing, in full bloom and quite large.  There were 29 stops to this garden walk, but by the time our group got to number 19, we decided that for the interest of time we needed to jump ahead and head to the bus. As it was, by the time we rounded everyone up and made the drive backto the ship, we were rushed getting tothe captains dinner gala. Although some of us missed out on the reception, everyone was decked out in their finery for the fancy meal which was very good.

I will post pictures on facebook, and Julie will put them on the Ar MG page as well.

Beaches of Normandy and the cider route

May 17, 2015
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one bus went to Pays D’Auge and the Cider Route and four buses went to the Beaches of Normandy. Both were all day tours, and once again we had gorgeous weather. Our tour took a lovely drive through apple country, with quaint towns, pretty houses and gardens and lovely churches. Our first stop was a Calvados distillery, Chateau Du Breuil where we toured the plant and got to sample the product. Then it was on to a small village, Cambremer for lunch before heading to Chateau de St. Germain for a lovely home and castle tour.

The Normandy tour took you back to 1944 when the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy.  They started at the cemetary at Omaha Beach. Katie and Clay walked to the beach to get sand, and then the group drove to the beach by bus. They went to Pointe du Hoc  where the rangers scaled the cliffs to take out the German guns. Gunmounts were still there to see along with huge bomb craters. It was a very touching day.

Caudebec-de-Caux and Honfleur

May 16, 2015
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my internet has gotten a little dicy, so the blog ap is not working, so I am having to use the website making pictures different. Everything is going in at once so it will be pictures then text. Today we arrivedin Caudebec-de-caux. It was misty rainy, but we disembarked and explored the town. There were so many quaint shops selling anything you could think of. There was also the weekly market set up selling vegetables, cheeses, fresh seafood, flowers and plants. They also had stalls selling prepared foods, eggs and live chickens, clothing and even mattresses! We shopped and explored until lunch time, then got on the ship to eat before heading to our afternoon tour of the town of Honfleur. Along the way we saw beautiful homes, chalets and gardens. Thatched roof homes were everywhere. We passed fields of canola, lettuce and flax. The town was beautiful with cobbled streets, shops and restaurants galore. We learned the history of the area. Here they grow a lot of apples so instead of wine they produce a lot of apple products including brandy called calvados, cider, and other products. They also raise a lot of cows and produce a range of cheeses, caramel, butter and cream. We ended up with bright blue skies. An absolute glorious day.image image image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Birthday dinner

May 16, 2015
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image image image image image image image imageimage image24 of us had dinner last night. At the chefs table. It was a special meal for my sons birthday. While all of the food has been great on the ship, this was truly outstanding. Our amuse bouche was eggplant wrapped around goat cheese. Then we had asalad with steak and spicy aioli followed by the next course which was an amazing cauliflower soup, followed by lamb and au gratin potatoes, then several desserts. They also brought Kyle a birthday cake.

Then we spent the rest of the evening with a huge group singing and dancing. Ypu get to know each other quite well when you travel together.

Vernon and Monet’s Garden, and happy birthday to my son!

May 15, 2015
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After a good nights (and much needed) rest, we awoke to cool, but sunny weather. We had great breakfast choices and then we gathered to hear about the tour options for the rest of the week. We filled out tour forms and end of trip travelplans before we docked in Vernon. Some walked into town while others began lunch service.
At 1:00 the majority of the group loaded 4 busses headed to Giverny, the gardens and home of Claude Monet. The weather turned cloudy, but no rain. The gardens were amazingly beautiful and fragrant with the scent of wisteria

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In our opinion, the gardens were over-crowded with people, but our guides told us it was a light day. In the summer months they say the crowds are at least doubled. Glad we came when we did. The Japanese garden with the famous lily pond and bridge was the most congested, but lovely.

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The home tour also had lines, but color was everywhere, both inside and out.

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There were local school groups with small children getting lectures on gardening and art. Can you imagine immersing children into this amazing experience.

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We also saw people painting in carious parts of the garden, toured an art museum with a Degas exhibit and then a nice collection of impressionist paintings.

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I also toured a small nursery on-site which had some amazing plants, garden gadgets, and chicken coops–backyard chickens are popular here too.

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Even their wheelbarrows are painted!

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It was an amazing day for gardeners. From clematis

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IMG_2112 to amazing tree peonies, we had a great time. Everyone made it back to the ship by 5, in time to freshen up before dinner.
Tonight we eat at the Chef’s Table to celebrate our son’s 29th birthday. (Ok, I was 12 when I had him lol!). All in all a great day, and a pretty nice way to spend a birthday.

The study tour begins

May 14, 2015
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145 Master Gardeners traveled to Paris to board our ship for the river cruise today. There were many weary travelers.

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We had 100% attendance for the safety talk.

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A great dinner followed.

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After dinner we ran up the Seine to see the Eiffel Tower before heading to our first stop.

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