While we were enjoying our sea days, we entertained ourselves by going to movies in the theaters (or watching them from our beds in our rooms - NICE!). We also played bingo, attended wine tastings and went to the spa. Now that's what I'm talking about! Haha!
|This was one delicious bottle of wine!|
|Walking up the famous green bridge in the water garden|
|One of the gardeners cleaning the ponds - During his time, Monet employed someone to dust his water lilies so that they would look their best before he painted them.|
|A view of the bridge|
|Water Lilies! Monet painted around 250 in his Water Lilies series and I was fortunate enough to see some of his larger, mural works in this series at the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris in 2008.|
|Had to capture the moment!|
|My favorite view in the water garden|
|Monet's Flower Garden in front of his house. He constructed the whole plan of his garden, based on placing specific colors of flowers next to each other.|
|The rose arches!|
|Rose arches leading up to the house|
|Monet's House - Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside, but it was beautiful too.|
|We could take pictures of the outside from the windows! This was taken from Monet's bedroom. What a view he had!|
|Love this flower and want to put it in my own garden. Phillip told me it would work! We're going to try to find them this weekend!|
|Entrance to Monet's Studio - Now the gift shop|
|Inside Monet's studio/gift shop|
The thing I loved, though, was the fact that Monet also painted the rooms in his house with bright colors. One can see yellow and light blue throughout the house. I received a little flack about that when I was decorating my house, but now that I have a few years under my belt, I realize that it's my house. I can do whatever I want! And I love it and it makes me happy! I also loved the fact that Monet didn't give up on his dream. He knew what he wanted for his life and he went after it. This man's life inspires me as much as his art. I have such big dreams for my life and for my community. In order to achieve those dreams, I have to keep at it!
|After our tour, we drove to a beautiful water mill/house for lunch.|
|The backside of the mill house - So quaint and beautiful|
|Inside the lunch spot!|
|I met a wonderful couple from LA, Jerry and Bobby. They were hilarious! We had a lot of fun on this trip!|
|After lunch, we travelled to Rouen. This is the cathedral that Monet painted in a series as well!|
|The Rouen town clock!|
|Church of St. Joan of Arc - The roofline is supposed to represent Joan of Arc's hat.|
|The place where Joan of Arc was burned - in the courtyard of the church.|
|Inside the church - our tour guide said it was built in the late 60s- early 70s.|
|Leaving Le Havre's port at the end of the day. Sailing back to London to get on the plane home!|
After a night on the ship, mom and I got up really early so that we could disembark and travel to the airport in London. When we arrived, checked our bags, made it through security and up to the gate desk, we were greeted with a great surprise! We were upgraded to first class. Heyyyooooo!!!! I've never flown first class and it will probably be a reeeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyy long time before I do again, so this was a big treat for me. When the lady at the desk told us, I looked at mom and said, "How did this happen?!?!?" She looked at me with a serious face and whispered, "Don't ask questions." Hahahahaha! God I love my mom.
So we boarded our flight and found our seats. I'm sure I looked like a "hick-from-the-sticks" as I proceeded to play with every button and gadget available in my little pod. The seats could recline, with a leg and foot rest motoring up to where my legs were straight in front of me. That makes a big difference to a shorty whose legs usually dangle during the entire duration of a flight. We also received little pouches of goodies, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye masks, ear plugs, socks, and we also were given a set of pajamas that the sassy flight attendant told us we could sell on eBay. Haha!
And then there was the fact that we had our own video monitors, dimming lights, a little desk, and we were given unlimited cocktails and food. I was stuffed by the time the flight ended. I told the flight attendants that I was just making the most of it because I never knew when I would be back in first class. Haha! Then they brought me two cookies. LOL.
I had the best time and it was the perfect way to end such a wonderful trip with my mom. The very best part about this trip was spending time with her. We talked, laughed, resolved issues, saw incredible things, and were given a chance to simply enjoy each other's company. I love my mom. She is kind, loving, generous, sweet, hilarious and beautiful. She's been that way with everyone she meets from the beginning. I'm proud to call her my mother and couldn't be more grateful. What an incredible graduation gift this was. I will cherish the memories we made forever.