Sunday, 19 June 2016
MINERVA 14th May 2016 Part 2 Honfleur
Sunday 15th May 2016
We arrived in Honfleur this morning under blue skies, and berthed alongside the familiar timber yards outside town. I had time for a walk on the Promenade deck before heading down for breakfast in the Veranda Restaurant. Again, I met some friendly people and we enjoyed each other's company many times during the holiday. I collected my things for the day's excursion, was handed a heavy bag of packed lunch which I promptly offloaded into my little rucksack to free my hands, and left the ship at 9.15 a.m. I was so pleased that I was on MINERVA's Glorious Gardens and the Chelsea Flower Show cruise as all the excursions are included as part of the cruise, and today our excursion coach took us to my pre-arranged choice of Monet's Garden at Giverny.
The journey took an hour and a half, before parking in a vast car park, with huge crowds, and huge queues near the Garden. The guide talked a great deal during the journey, in English. Our guide explained the timings for our visit, and where we should meet later, and that we were all now free to wander at will. I went along the village lane and found a small local boulangerie/bar and had a good cup of coffee, then enjoyed my picnic lunch in a small field with several ship companions.
We met our guide as arranged and he took us firstly into the water Garden. We joined the multitude, that's the only word for it, and made our slow way around the paths. I soon lost sight of the guide and my companions, but it didn't matter. I visited these Gardens many years ago in a different season so I was eagerly anticipating the floral pleasures to come; I was not disappointed. The planting was wonderful, with many shades of mauve, violet and white including the famous irises, many things smelt beautiful and the wisteria over the famous green painted bridge was an absolute picture.
The queue to visit inside the house was so long that I gave up after half an hour, and went into the gardens again. The short and long views were lovely, and it became easy to avoid seeing too many people.
I met other Swan passengers in a far corner of the site and we sat happily in the sunshine. We all headed back to the coach park at the allotted time and set off home again back to MINERVA.
I took photographs of the ship, although the tide was low, but found it impossible to photograph THE WORLD, which was berthed some distance ahead of us here in Honfleur. I remember visiting her in April 2002 when she first came to London, when I noted that some of the private suites had a Jacuzzi on their balconies.
Back on board it was time to prepare for the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party (Captain Neil Broomhall) followed by Gala Dinner including wine. The evening's entertainment included a Gala Dance, music in various bars, or films on cabin televisions.
Ships seen: Minerva, The World which was also in Honfleur behind the usual security fencing and impossible to photograph, Daniel the sand-dredger sailing along the River Seine under the Bridge towards us.
To be continued...