Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rouen, France

The next couple of days on our cruise were quite the adventure. After our time in Belgium, we were supposed to sail through the night and wake up in Dover, England. However, since the seas were so rough, our captain made the decision to not sail during the night and attempt to sail in the morning when the seas were supposed to be a little calmer. We began sailing at 7 am, and the seas were anything but calm. Our little ship got rocked every which way, most guests spent the entire day in bed with major sea sickness or, like in my case, in an attempt to avoid getting sick. My crew member friends said they haven't seen seas that rough very often and some even got so sick they missed their shifts, which is not common for cruise crews since their bodies get so used to living on the ships. Our meals were quite the adventure, first of all, getting to the dining room was a challenge. The adorable crew members escorted guests up and down the stairs and hallways. Once safely seated at our tables, our servers had quite the challenge of serving us our meals. We sailed all day and all night in those conditions, everyone was extremely happy and relieved when we finally reach Rouen, France and anchored safely at the port.

And now for Rouen! Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. One of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. It has Gothic churches and a cobble stoned pedestrian center with hundreds of medieval half-timbered houses.  It was here that Joan of Arc was executed in 1431. Rouen is also the home of the cathedral that graced so many of Monet's canvases.

We made our way through the tiny, cobblestone streets to the Rouen Cathedral. The Gothic architecture of this building is exquisite and incredibly detailed.

The inside is rather plain, with limited decoration but the size and height of the nave were very impressive.

The astronomic clock, also known as the Gors Horloge clock, lays on a Renaissance arch which has spanned the street since 1527. The clock lies roughly equidistant between the Place du Vieux Marché and the cathedral. The Gros Horloge itself dates back to the 16th century and its movement from 1389. The two faces of the clock display 24 rays of sun against a blue starred sky, a single hand ending with a depiction of a lamb shows the hour. The moon phases are indicated in the oculus above the clock face. It completes a full rotation in 29 days. There is also a hand showing the week, inside an opening at the base of the dial. It is decorated by allegoric characters: Diane as the moon (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday) and Apollo (Sunday).

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