France 167 - Deauville and Honfleur / a tale of two aires /Overlooking the Pont de Normandy /Christmas lights and the rain has arrived


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Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Honfleur
January 2nd 2020
Published: January 4th 2020
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Gabby the motorhome is parked up on a massive aire overlooked by the massive Pont de Normandy and is being blown about like a bit of tumbleweed. The rain is pounding on her roof. We have never heard it bounce off so much . It is falling in Biblical proportions . We will need an ark at this rate. . The wind has picked up. Picked up is being polite . It is blowing a gale. Gabby is moving. We feel the wind pushing against her. There are noises everywhere . Banging . Is that the Heiki roof light? Will we wake up in the morning to see the awning missing? We lie in bed listening to the noises. We wonder if its next door or the boats in the harbour. Sometimes the wind drops and it sounds calm. Then the rain pours down before the wind returns with a vengeance. We cannot go anywhere . The bridge is probably closed to traffic . We have to lie under the bedclothes trying to drown the banging out. It is 2 am in the morning before the wind eventually dies down and the torrential rain stops.

Out plan had been to head slowly from Pegasus Bridge to Deauville. We had found the details for the aire. They were not too complimentary. Small , pokey, tiny parking spots . Reality - close to the railway line , very muddy due to the heavy rain. There were empty spaces but each were tiny and awkward to get in and out of. We tried one - too close to the road. We would have blocked the entry. The second was not much better and by the third we had decided we did not like the aire. It seemed the big boys had moved in and emptied their vans whilst they cleaned them. It wasn't for us . Next one up the road would be Honfleur . This one was massive with space for over 100 vehicles . It was also the most expensive night stop of the trip. 11 euros paid in the machine for 24 hours . It was going to have to do. We have a date with the train in two days and it is on our way home. We parked up next to the first Brits we have seen this trip. They helped me sort out the very complicated machine. Ticket on the window and we were good to stay. There was free water on the site and facilities for dumping.

Glenn wanted to watch the Boxing Day Horse racing so I took the opportunity to walk into Honfleur . I had read much about it . A pretty seaside town worth visiting . Off I went walking along the harbour to town. As I walked I noted features along the way. A closed down toilet , a bus station, a church with statue outside . It would be easy to find my way back. Using womens logic rather than a map I would just head in the direction of the bridge which I could always see and follow the toilet , bus station and church back.

Honfleur felt a little sad. Perhaps it was the light drizzle . The houses looked shabby. There were many restuarants along my way all open. I did head off the main drag and found some interesting back alleys. Having them to myself gave me the opportunity to look at the typical Normandy architecture. Half timbered cottages and hidden corners. Now this was more my cup of tea. Finding my way out I came to the harbour area where many of the boats were tied up. A Christmas market was in full swing. A roundabout was busy with the small children riding, laughing and giggling . Typical French jolly music filled the air. Chestnuts were being roasted , tat was being sold . A fire pit burned brightly and both men and women stood in front of it warming their hands . Floating in the harbour was an iceberg complete with eskimo fishing and a rather large polar bear. It was probably the most Christmassy scene I had come across . Stalls sold the local Calvados and cidre. I walked back to Gabby and we made the decision to walk back at night to see if the town looked less shabby.

A bright scene did welcome us. All the shops lit up and filled with Christmas decorations . All the boats in the harbour were twinkling with tiny lights . The Chrismas sapine - the trees were decked with lights and decorations . It all looked lovely. The market was still trading, the roundabout still going round, the French music filled the night air. The iceberg was lit up. The rain turned from drizzle to downpour . We headed for a café . The plastic conservatory was zipped up, the fires were burning and red rugs were placed on the seats for us to use. Very civilised we thought was we drank our chocolate Viennese .

We headed back to Gabby convinced now that Honfleur was actually much nicer than I first thought.

After our dreadful night we woke to survey the damage. There was not any sign of anything wrong . The roof light was fine. Van Bunkle was still there as was the awning . We had escaped lightly . We emptied the loo and I filled up with water . Sadly the nice French old man pointed me to the non potable water . I didn't notice . Did he do it on purpose or was it an accident ? Whichever it was it was poured away .

What a night .

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