Our first week in France has already been full of beauty and history but let’s get to the logistics first. The driving is amazingly simple with wide roads lined with trees, flowers and fields. Many rest stops are along the way with fantastic food, beautiful picnic benches and good parking stalls for Richard to sleep in. After about an hour of driving Richard needs a nap, but with little stores to peruse and places to walk around, it is quite nice for the boys and I to have an outing!
Yesterday at one of our rest stops the store sold about 8 different, very fresh salads to go. They were 7.50 Euros each and mine had greens, tabbouleh salad, apricots, carrots with Moroccan spices, tender chicken, and other veg. But the deal is, for 10.20 Euros, you can get a drink and dessert too, and so the lemon meringue tart, chocolate tart and raspberry tart came home with us too! Last note about the driving is that we are taking the toll roads, newly build roads and not very used….because of the tolls. It is fine with us but on our big 3 hour drives it costs us an extra 20 Euros or so.
I know Brandon has told you about the bike ride in the Loire valley. We rode 40 km that day and it seemed like we had the soundtrack to MacMillan Bloedel the whole time. Birds singing, frogs chirping, butterflies all around, roses, irises, poppies, lilies, and a myriad of wild flowers lined our route. Sadly all the cottonwoods were going crazy in the burst of the first strong spring heat and when Richard and Ryan were biking with Kleenex stuffed up both nostrils and swollen red eyes, we decided we had to return! We decided it would be so lovely in the fall also with the changing colours and all the vineyards we pass full with purple grapes.
Our time at the D Day Beaches, Mont St. Michel, and at the great chateaus of kings has been a great learning experience for us all and we have been learning so much. The French and English history is a cobweb of stories as they struggle for power back and forth constantly, never mind the 100 years war.
We are about to start our French immersion school. Brandon has clearly been the French star and as I order food or get information, I often turn to Brandon to see what is being said back to me. I can understand most of what is being spoken but Brandon seems to understand it all! He also can come up with a simpler way of explaining what I am trying to communicate.
So, our first stop in Normandy was amazing and we loved the Loire valley too. Now our third stop is in Sancerre, a hilltop town with our school and I wonder how much homework we will have…I’ll be sure to try and sit next to Brandon!