Whilst in our minds Simon and I set out on a cultural and culinary trip around Europe - it has soon become a trip of children’s playgrounds and swimming pools punctuated by the predictable question “How many Miles is it Daddy” and the Sat Nav has been reconfigured to provide the answer...
The ferry trip from Portsmouth to St Malo was thankfully uneventful – Claire wasn’t even sick (except at the huge price of dinner on board). Off we got and straight on with driving on the wrong side of the road at a combined length of 34 feet – scary…
Our first stop was Ile de Re in the Vendee (thanks Faye for the tip) a lovely island where we stayed near the beautiful harbour at La Flotte, on a fabulous campsite with a swimming pool with a slide and mushroom shaped water fountain for the boys. We enjoyed getting into the camping groove, collecting the baguettes and croissants in the morning, going to the playground, going to the swimming pool, filling the aqua roll (water barrel) and testing out the local supermarket for milk-free food.
We really enjoyed Ile de Re, whose white washed and pantiled
looks like Bloors have been building here too! (private Prideaux Drive joke there)
roofs reminded us of Los Roques in Venezuela (not surprisingly as it was the departure point for slaves to French Guyana) and hope to return on future holidays (The Cannons – this is the holiday destination for you guys, myriad of cycle ways and birds).
Keen to make it South to predictably good weather, our next stop was to the massif central region of . Sat Nav took us off-piste as usual but we were happy to meander through the vineyards of Bordeaux – all those nights spent at Ealing Tertiary taking, re-taking and re-taking again that Wines of France course bringing back happy memories for Claire with a vague glimmer of recognition of this AOC and that. Julie, Kate, Roz and Dee would be proud.
All of a sudden our attention was drawn to a squiggle on the road in front of us and our horror grew as we recognised it as a snake (about 3-5 feet long). All 3 axles missed it (so says Simon) – the thought of squashed snake on the mud guards too much to contemplate – and gone in a flash all our dreams of spending our dotages on a chateau in
Glaces all round!
Milk free of course!
Here we stayed at a lovely spot in the forest (so tranquil that our neighbours from Cornwall had been here for 10 days and seemed in no hurry to leave – spending 6 months a year away from England in their motorhome they had the luxury of time on their side).
The boys were happy just to play on the trampoline and in the park (with the dodgy see-saw) and while away the hours – the swimming pool being closed it was just as well. We dragged ourselves off to Sarlat for the Saturday morning market and acquainted ourselves with just how expensive this trip is going to be with some horror (café doble for £3 anyone?).
Being unable to rouse any interest in a cave trip (pre-historic cave paintings being the main attraction of the area), the boys having being terrified by a trip to Wookey Hole a year or so ago we decided to head south to Millau.
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