So I blew my knee out in Paris on Thursday... Long story short, slow motion running to hug someone is no longer anywhere on my to-do list. But I'll be damned if that stops me from taking advantage of vacation time and travelling.
With Christina's parents still in town for one last weekend it was decided that we rent a car and head to the North of France for the weekend to hopefully see the debarment beaches in Normandy. Also in the game plan for this weekend? Paris and the area getting record amounts of snow (the last time it snowed this much being in the late 70's). Nothing will stop determined Canadians though, so on we trekked to the North in hopes of some history lessons and major war memorials.
We had initially planned on leaving the Paris area mid morning on Saturday, so by noon we hit the road. Aimed with nothing more than a small over night bag, a GPS, and some loose Wikipedia facts we headed North to the city of Rouen. According to my brief Internet knowledge it is in this city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 and that was enough for me to want to visit. Although driving in it looked doubtful that this city would offer anything more than industrial campuses and refuge from the snowy, unplowed and unsalted highways, we were pleasantly surprised to find a quaint medieval town with many large churches and cathedrals as well as picturesque crooked buildings. Although there was no monument marking where Joan was burnt, there was a very "fancy" plaque.
We had lunch at a German restaurant which called for sauerkraut and a load of meat. Delicious. And got to attempt the impossible: a narrow flight of stairs to the bathrooms on crutches. No easy feat, but then again neither was the cobblestone roads for a few hours of walking around.
As in all towns around France, small and large alike, there was a Christmas Market. Although we had eaten enough at lunch to make dinner completely avoidable, we still had to indulge in crepes and chiros. That goes without saying.
After walking past the shopping district and by the rock and roll Santa Clauses we found City Hall where we had parked the car and headed even more North with the single ambition of finding somewhere to spend the night.
Salvation came when we reached the city of Caen, just over an hour North-West of Rouen. Although the first "hotel" claimed it was at capacity for the night we did find somewhere to crash... Quick Palace. And please don't like the word "palace" fool you. This was a 35 euro for the night, dive of a hotel that smelled of piss and vomit when you entered. Any hotel that offers you a room with bunk beds should typically be avoided, but beggars can't be chooser, and after a few bottles of wine a bed is as good as any. And I got a fidelity card, we are only 13 more stays away from a free night. Be excited.
Sleeping in is a thing of the past and waking up at 8am on a Sunday is the new way to go. An early start to another snowy day. Nothing says good morning like McDonalds... and surprisingly their breakfast is quite good... I mean if you are looking for the greasy food you typically get in North America you'll be disappointed, but it was delicious! By McDonalds standards of course.
Instead of hitting the beaches, due to the weather conditions it was deemed unattainable, and even if we did get there we wouldn't see anything, we went to the Caen Memorial for the war. It was excellent! I got to borrow a wheelchair and everything! Thank God we chose something equipped for vets because my knee would want to kill me otherwise.
All in all a lovely weekend spent in the North of France. I just want to show off the Quick germs and it will be perfect.