08 August, 2010

Vacation week 1: Charolles, France

The first campground we stayed at was off the beaten path in a beautiful rural area near Charolles. It was so small that at any given moment at least 75% of the guests were related to us in some way.

The owners were friendly and welcoming and we had access to a small, relatively shallow swimming pool, perfect for all the little people who could come and go as they wished.

The kids spent their days dashing madly from the swimming pool to the grassy soccer field and back. D was crowned the official V family vacation mascot and wasn't even tied up most of the time. She just wandered from tent to tent, got stroked to her heart's content and devoured anything sticky that anyone left behind.

I took long walks in the mornings and evenings. Sometimes accompanied by a husband, always accompanied by a dog. I really enjoyed the idyllic pastoral landscape with all the Charolais-rump-steaks-to-be happily grazing or chewing their cud under the nearest shade tree.

We had a lot to celebrate this week! The first day we had a childrens' birthday party to celebrate all of the summer birthdays. Opa turned 72 later on that week, and M and I marked our 15th anniversary with a romantic 7 course dinner at a local Michelin-star restaurant.

The only fly in the ointment was the weather. It was unseasonably cool and rained for about half the days we were there. Which created the perfect conditions for slugs-- thousands of them. They crawled over the tents and under the chairs. We found them in our shoes, in the vegetable bin and in the caravan! So we also weren't alone when we took shelter from the rain in the tent attached to our camper. Picture 15 people, 7 of them under 10, and 1,679 slugs all compressed into one extremely humid 6m x 2.5m space. Some moments weren't exactly pretty.

There were several sunny days, though, in which we dashed out to explore our surroundings. We made a great field trip to a chateau in Buxy. This castle was in fantastic condition and had some really amazing 12th century frescoes in the chaple which were surprisingly well preserved.

We also spent a fun afternoon in a children's park which was a bizarre mix of life-sized board games, wacky bicycles, sunflower and wildflower labyrinths, trampolines, and an outdoor museum honoring that bovine wonder, the cow.

Lunchtime came and we all were a bit shocked to see that the snackbar carried little else other than baguettes and 7 different kinds of alcohol infused local pâté. Ohhhh yeah! C'est la vie, baby!


anno said...

Yech, slugs are the worst, and my memories of a girl scout camping trip where they were a star feature the one reason it took me more than 20 years to sleep in a tent again. Of course, we didn't have a swimming pool, or a nearby chateau, or a variety of alcohol-infused pates upon which to dine ... might have changed things a bit. Love that chateau!

Goofball said...

slugs ate my pumpkin plant :( :( :( :(

Boooohooooo I wanted to grow my first pumpkin this fall.

what's wrong with lots of alcohol infused paté? mmm

Goofball said...

1 post per camping week? Cool so we are due for another dozen or so, given the fact that on FB there seems to be pictures from half of Europe!

Jen said...

I think I want to find that snack bar! The castle looks amazing. The slugs seemed less so.