Edit Blog Post
Published: February 7th 2015
We have entered stage 3 of our trip: the relaxing part. We are staying in The Commeignes family holiday property in the little town on the island called La Couarde which Rene bought and built a house on in 1974.
Ile de Re is an island on the Atlantic West coast in the Charentes-Maritime region of France. It is a summer holiday destination for French, German and English tourists. We have been here in both summer and in March and the difference is enormous of course due to Ile de Re being a place to come for cycling, sailing, surfing and other beach activities. Not much is open in winter (at this time) except maybe a local bakery, pharmacy and (if you're lucky) one cafe in each little town on the island, and 2 big supermarkets. This suites us fine! It's incredibly peaceful and charming. We have also been very lucky with the weather and had many sunny calm days. Cycling is so easy (100kms of cycle tracks!) because the island is flat and at this time of year you are aware of how the seasons turn and you get to see the vineyard farmers and oyster and
muscle farmers get on with their yearly maintenance chores.
The only thing we must be careful of is the rain and wind. Ile de re has a lot of both so it pays to check before you go off for on a 2 or 3 hour bike ride around the island. (we've been caught peddling home against 45km winds in sleety rain and 2 degree temperatures and do not want to repeat the experience). The rain is different here, unlike Sydney rain which is wild and has big drops. The rain here seems slight and steady but don't be fooled, you still get drenched in no time. I thought being in winter would help my poor sun-drenched and dry Aussie skin heal but actually the freezing cold and wind is doing more damage than ever.
On rainy (or even one snowy) days we head off to La Rochelle which is the town just over the bridge to Ile de Re on the French mainland. So far we have visited the harbour for a walk and lunch and visited both the Natural History museum and the Aquarium. The Natural History museum has to be seen to be believed, 5
Some of these birds are migratory. There are geese and others
floors and almost 300 years of collections. Every possible animal from all over the world done in taxidermy so well they look like they are looking right back at you (see pictures and video).
We have been doing some cooking and pawing over every shelf in the supermarkets to find interesting new ingredients and combinations. I always enjoy looking through supermarkets because you get a good sense of the local food culture: what they like, how they like to eat it and how they cook it. In France there are also a lot of quality canned products like Confit de Canard which is duck pieces in it's own fat. (You heat up the duck and use the fat to cook potatoes). Even the petite pois (peas) and green beans are delicious straight out of a can. We are spoilt for choice. We have made crepes, mouclade (mussels in local sauce), a french kind of chicken curry, and beef Bourguignon, of course served with local wine. There are lost of nice pates, terrines and rillettes to try too (duck, rabbit, pork, wild boar and goose).
It's also been a nice time to try all my new French
pharmacie products that I bought in St Germain de Pres in Paris. I dream about this place! It is 2 floors of fantasy French creams and potions that are not available in Australia and cost a fortune to ship in. Lauren came with me last time and we spent more than two frantic hours eyeballing all the products and "pardon'ing and "excuse-moi'ing all the other French women on their equally frenzied mission of bulk buying their favourite products. It's actually hilarious to witness, and loads of fun, especially trying to have a conversation in French about what a product does. The French are so blunt: "Ce est parfait pour vous parce que vous êtes vieux" (This is perfect for you because you are old). No beating around the bush when the conversation is about beauty and the attainment of youth in France!). I don't know if they can surpass my favourite but I'm willing to give it a try with my new Nuxe, Bioderma and Embryolisse products 😊
Tot: 1.348s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 14; qc: 66; dbt: 0.0392s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb