Week 1 – Travel Year

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France – Montmorrilon, Sud Vienne Poitou

Our first week has been very similar to what it would have been without a travel year. We flew from Saudi to Bordeaux, ready for three weeks at my parents’ house. The flight was ok. We had friends with us in the airport in Saudi and then luckily someone with us for the layover in Istanbul. So thankful for friends who are happy to let our children climb all over them and play the “Yes, No” game for two hours…we love you Dan! Arriving in Bordeaux was a bit crappy, as picking up the hire car took forever. Even drip-feeding the children Haribo while playing Peppa Pig on repeat at full volume didn’t keep them chilled for long. By the time Tom rocked up with the keys I was ready to leave at least one of them behind in the airport. To add insult to injury, Bertie did an enormous poo just as we were about to pull out of the parking lot. The joys of travelling with small children.

We made it to my parents’ house though. They had some family friends staying as well for the first part of the week, so there were plenty of people to keep an eye on the tribe. Lot’s of French food, a cold beer, the kids ran around the garden and we were ready to hit holiday mode.

We arrived straight into a canicule, heatwave, and wow did we struggle! On the one hand we are used to heat, coming from Saudi, but on the other hand we are used to having AC. We can handle the heat and humidity for short bursts of time but at night time our rooms were always kept at a constant 23’. The kids were sweating and finding it hard to sleep. Plus Bertie hates any change in his bedtime setup, so he spent the first couple of nights waking up and yelling the place down.

Luckily, there is a huge garden and the kids have the paddling pool and trampoline set up, so this week we have mostly hung out there. We also have been enjoying some amazing food. My mum is a great cook and we have been making the most of this, sitting down and eating and drinking as much as we can!

Although it has been tempting to just vegetate in the garden, eating food, playing with the kids and refilling wine glasses, we have ventured out.

Montmorrilon is the nearest town and is also known as La Cite de l’Ecrit, The City of Writing. It is a pretty town with pretty French architecture and a lovely Abbey with gardens. It is filled with bookshops, paper shops, places selling literary artworks, pens, anything literature related you could think of. There is also a walking rail to follow, marked by quills on the road, that leads you around some sights and past some cute museums. There are old printing presses on the bridge and vintage typewriters sat outside the museum, lots to keep book loving adults and inquisitive children happy! We had a fab walk, even with Arthur moaning about having tired feet every five minutes….can’t win them all.

We have also started to explore some of the swimming lakes in the area. There are loads of them within a 40 minute drive. We went to the lake at Saint Martin L’Ars. Where there is a beach, teepees and a play area. Of course, in about ten seconds, Eirlys had taken all her clothes off and was rolling around in water. We had a picnic under a tree by the lake, with a bottle of cider for Tom and I, splashed in the lake and went for a short walk to the nearby abbey. Perfect!

Also this week…

Mum and Dad took Arthur and Eirlys out for a few trips, one to a nearby goat farm. They got to feed the goats and try some goats’ cheese. Definitely one of the best parts of staying with family is having a few hours where someone else is entertaining the kids!

We had a family trip out to the Crocodile Park at Civaut. I’ll do a blog post on that and there are videos up on the gram and facebook. It was awesome and the kids loved it. Arthur was spouting crocodile facts the whole way round like a true Wild Kratt brother!

Tom and I also visited the town of Oradour-sur-Glane, the site of a massacre during WWII. You can walk around the old town itself, where only the shells of houses remain and visit the museum/memorial to find out more about what happened here. It was a strange feeling walking around. It almost feels like a historical ruin but then the burnt shells of cars, the tram lines, sewing machines, remind you that the town was a busy community only 70 years ago. We all hear and learn about the big battles and landings of the war, but tragedies like this have almost disappeared into history already.

So that’s it! Mum and Dad have taken the bigger two out today to check out another lake, Bertie is having a nap and I have just finished making a ham quiche! Not bad for our first week!

*If you want to see what we are up to more regularly you can follow on Instagram @ourdreamsincolour, otherwise I will be putting picture and updates on Facebook and here weekly-ish.

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