Armada Rouen, Normandy France
Have you ever been to see the Armada event in Normandy, France?
Well this year it was celebrated its 30 anniversary, its 7th edition, event taking place each 5 years for approx. 10 days. Hundreds of sailors descended to Rouen on their ships from 15 different countries from all around the world. Its about a spectacular show of the most finest and largest sailing ships (warships, school ships and exceptional sailing ships).
Looking back in time thousands of years ago, there were no main roads and the most efficient way to travel was by water. It seems that the Ancient Egypt had one of the first types of sailing vessels sometime around 3400BC. But then the Greeks came around 480BC and enhanced the functionalities of the sailing vessels. Let’s not forget the Vikings with their fabulous vessels that were enough resilient and flexible to endure the tough long journeys from the Scandinavia to nowadays UK, France and Spain coasts. And nevertheless its worth to mention the Chinese sailing ships from the 2nd century.
So many thousands of years of craftsmanship and with the techniques improving we got to know from history the Spanish Galleon from the 16th century, a ship to survive crossing the Atlantic and bringing all treasures from what is called today United States of America.
There were plenty of vessels at this festival, all beautiful but one was fascinating in my view. I think you guessed already; it’s about Galleon the Spanish vessel. The name derives from the ‘galley’ being a merchant ship that could easily be converted to a war vessel in times of trouble. The largest ones (from hundreds of tons to 1200 tons) were built and developed in 15th and 16th century mainly by the Spanish and Portuguese. See photo of the Galleon in the photo gallery.
You were allowed to get on each ship and visit it, ask questions to the sailors and capture amazing photos. Like other festivals they try to revive the old times in terms of food. Huge BBQ with whole hogs were set, feeding the people with smoked BBQ pig meat; a bit barbarian but so delicious. During the last evening, we were the spectators of a huge fireworks show that lasted up to 45 min; really impressive.
During the last day of the festival the ships prepared themselves to start their journey on the 120 km on Seine River from Rouen to Le Havre. It’s a spectacular journey to see them leaving. Along the Seine River there are quite a few small and picturesque villages. We have chosen to stop in Villequier and wait hours and hours for the ships to come. Loved the atmosphere of that village; it seems that Victor Hugo spent a lot of time in that village with his friends and family. Everything was frozen in celebrating mood, most of the people being out of their houses occupying the riverbanks, the radio station emitting all kinds of old sailors songs from different countries. It was a splendid view to see the vessels one by one with most of the sailors standing on the masts waving their hands to the hundreds of spectators watching from the riverbanks.
Last but not the least you will notice among the photos a beautiful shot with the Villequier Castle and its garden.
Enjoy the photos from the gallery !