In my last post, M1623 – Hurrying around Honfleur, I described my morning spent rushing to view and photograph Honfleur ahead of my afternoon ship’s tour. This post documents that tour, which was to the historic town of Bayeux, famous for it’s tapestry.
The coach drive to Bayeux took around an hour and a half, an easy ride through the French countryside by motorway. Arriving in Bayeux our local guide led us to the museum holding the tapestry, or more correctly the embroidery. Here we were given audio guides, which automatically described each scene of the embroidery as we passed along, telling the story of Harold and William and the Battle of Hastings. I was surprised how much of the story I didn’t already know, for example that before the battle Harold had travelled to France to tell William that their father had appointed Harold as his heir, but on getting captured by Guy, Count of Ponthieu, and being transferred to William, he ended up giving William an oath that William would inherit the throne. It is when Harold broke that oath by being crowned King that William raised his invasion fleet and defeated Harold in battle.
We were not allowed to take photographs of the embroidery, but could do so in an interesting museum display on a floor above. This included some very detained and good models, although I was amused that I had travelled all the way to France to see one of how Winchester Cathedral was built, it being only a few miles from my home in England:
On leaving the museum we could either stay with the local guide for a guided visit to the local cathedral, or go off by ourselves on free time. I elected to go off by myself, so that I could see and photograph things at my own pace, and without the large numbers of people in our group in the way.
On my way to the cathedral I both stopped and shopped at this quaint poppy shop:
The cathedral was most impressive, with it’s towering size and many lovely and colourful stained glass windows. It was in this cathedral, consecrated in 1077, that Harold made his oath to William. It was also the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry.
I was also able to go down into the crypt:
Once outside, as usual I was also on the look out for historic buildings and quirky things:
All too soon it was time to return to the coach for the return journey to our waiting ship. While we had been away the tide had gone out considerably, so the gangplank which had been a steep descent when I left the ship was now almost flat, and on entering my cabin I was shocked to find it almost in darkness, as the cabin portholes were now well below the level of the quay!
Postscript: Around 11pm we set sail for our next port of call, Rouen. This involved sailing quite a distance up the River Seine. As this was a ‘River Sailing’ cruise, it was rather bizarre that we were doing this river sailing at night and in the dark! Regular readers of this blog will know my views on the competency of the Fred. Olsen cruise planning department, and this only reinforced my views! I went up on deck as we sailed to watch and photograph us sailing under the impressive Pont de Normandie cable-stay bridge I had seen and photographed earlier in the day. The bridge is over 2143 metres long, with 856 metres between the two piers. When it opened in 1995 both these measurements were the longest for a cable-stay bridge.