We wake up on a clear sunny day in the camper area of Jumièges, not too far away from the abbey. While we’re having breakfast a multitude of baby goats appears from a wooden hut just beyond the fence and start to roam around the lawn. They’re too cute not to take some pictures. A young man comes out of the hut waving at us. At first, we think he wants us to leave, but soon we realize he is inviting us in. We walk past the fence among the goats, first staring at us and then giving some confidence playing with their paws on our legs.
The breeder tells us that he is milking in the stable and asks if we want to join him and take some photos. It’s an offer we can not refuse! He’s really kind and we follow him in the small but neat and clean stable, that, by the light look of the wood has been recently built. To greet us the looks of a dozen goats that stare at us while chewing straw.
Our friend, armed with a bucket, approaches a goat and, in a relaxed way, begins to milk her. After a while, he invites us to try. A bit hesitant and embarrassed, we go ahead and realize that it is by no means easy.
He teaches us how to hold the hands and how to tighten. Ste is up, but even following the instructions, he can’t pull out a great deal of milk. Then it’s my turn to try, so I kneel near to the goat in the middle of the straw and, with a little fatigue, I milk her! The result of my work is just two fingers of milk, and we’ve been told that one liter is needed for a cheese. It would probably take us the all day then! Happy for the unexpected experience, we leave the stable welcomed by the baby goats and warmly say goodbye to our teacher.
We walk to the Jumièges Abbey, which has just opened. Two tour buses have poured through the entrance. To avoid the crowd we do the visit in the opposite direction to that recommended by the map provided at the entrance so we are able to enjoy the architectural complex almost always alone.
The Romanesque building, part of a monastery, which still survives a small portion of the cloister, is preserved. Only the tallest masonry remains, giving the idea of the abundance of the abbey architecture.
Our Norman adventure ends here. We get to the van and head towards Rouen, from where, after a short break, we drive back to Holland.
Jumièges Abbey: 6,50 €