Europe Travel

Giverny, France

20 July 2014

Our third day in France was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The day started on a joyful note: the excitement of finally visiting Monet’s house and gardens was sinking in. One year earlier we saw an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria featuring works from Monet’s garden and vowed we would go one day. That day had come!

The train ride was only one hour, but towards the end of the trip I began to feel a little nauseous. Once we arrived in Vernon, we were to catch a bus to Monet’s house in Giverny, which would take 5 minutes. Somehow, we made it, even though I felt even sicker than on the train. We even managed to enter Monet’s property, and I got to catch a glimpse of his colourful gardens and the outside of his beautiful house.

But then I spent a lot of time in Monet’s bathroom. After unfortunately emptying whatever awful thing was in my stomach, I felt so much better. So we headed towards Monet’s famous pond, home to his water lillies.

Before I could see much else, I had to run back to Monet’s bathroom. This happened several times. The periods in between I sat near the bathroom, watching beautiful French children on an school excursion laugh and play. We couldn’t stay any longer at Monet’s home. We had to leave, but I was too sick. We were an hour from Paris and our hotel. We left the property and tried to work out our next move. Alex tried to get a nearby restaurant to call a taxi but they weren’t very helpful until I appeared and was sick in front of everyone (including the diners, sorry). Lucky for me, an American tourist approached me. He happened to be a G.P. in the States and made his local tour guide call the ambulance. I spent the night in a French hospital, with my beautiful husband by my side the whole time.  Every test imaginable was conducted. The doctors suspected gastro or food poisoning. I suspected the unwashed lettuce from the day before.

Needless to say, my two admissions to French hospitals helped greatly to improve our French language skills from awful to poor. We spent most of the time watching tremendously interesting French daytime television and listening to the old lady in the bed next to me mumble incessantly with the assumption that we were French. My doctors and nurses in Vernon were especially patient and lovely. And lucky for us, before we left we managed to find a Spanish-speaking doctor who was able to clarify our concerns.

I was released the following day at around 4pm and we arrived back to our hotel in Paris at 7pm. We missed an entire day (our last in Paris) and had to give away our Louvre tickets. Next time!

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