Friday, October 31, 2008

Our First Week of Vacation

The kids are on vacation – from October 24 through November 6 – and we’re making the most of it!

Lac du Salagou

Sunday adventures are becoming a weekly phenomenon with the Bruns. We love it!

This week, Jean-Louis lead us to Lac du Salagou. The water was chilly, but the kids still grabbed the intertubes and walked out in the distance. The water is shallow for a long way, so it was safe to let them frolic while we stayed warm on the rocky beach.

The kids also had a great time exploring a small inlet river. They shucked their shoes and marched up and down the creek. I wish I had caught a picture of Josey in her “mud booties”! She stepped in the mud to almost mid-calf to give herself very stylish shoes.

Noah even caught a fish! This poor fish was gasping it’s final death throes in the shallows of the creek. Of course, that is a temptation that most boys cannot resist.

For better pictures of Lac du Salagou:

Fossil Hunting

This week, we made our first and second fossil hunting journeys. Well, the first attempt was an unsuccessful journey, and the second attempt was a successful jaunt!

Monday we decided to start our first official day of vacation by finding some amazing French fossils. Dado did some research on the Internet, we picked a destination, we scrounged up some fossil-hunting hammers and a picnic lunch, and off we went!

Our planned destination was Millau. Based on Dado’s research, Millau was supposed to be overflowing with fossils. He he he. Not a fossil was found, although we did troop through some pretty strange places to look!

The highlight of the day was the Viaduc de Millau. We’ve renamed this “The Golden Gate Bridge of France”!

For more information on the Viaduc de Millau (it really does look like an engineering marvel!), check this out:

Millau was nestled in the valley beneath the Viaduc. As most of you know, we are not city people. It turns out that Millau is quite a thriving city. We ended up driving through the center of Millau a few times, but we didn’t stop to look at anything. We were on a mission! Plus, there wasn’t anything that tempted us to stop.

We drove first toward the Gorge de Tarn, which is a place I definitely want to revisit. It reminded me of something out of a JRR Tolkein book! We were driving along the bottom of this amazing gorge, with the hills first sloping up beside us – covered in green fields – then rising in vertical, rocky cliff faces! After a few twists or turns, another quaint village would spring up in our path on the road or would appear as if magically clinging to the cliffs above us. It is so cool!

We made one fossil attempt in the Gorge de Tarn. Dado turned up a small side-road, we drove up and up until we found a place to park, then we climbed through an orchard like billy goats (it was on a steep hill). After climbing a short hillside covered in thorny plants - all with Max in shorts of course – we decided that we had to change plans and look in easier-to-reach places.

That lead us out of Gorge du Tarn and toward Roquefort – yep, where the cheese is made! We crossed through Millau again, drove directly under the Viaduc du Millau (cool!), and headed up the mountainside again. By this time, we had been driving for hours with little result. We were all getting a bit restless.

Long story short, we ended up back home, relieved to be out of the car and determined to do better research for the next time.

The second trip was a success! Jean-Christopher told us to go about 5 minutes away, just beyond the town of Lupian. The kids found several oyster fossils! Pictures to come soon.


Our friend Jean-Christopher needed some computer help, so we paid him and his family a visit on Tuesday. Oh – I wish I had my camera with me to show you how amazing his house is! It has an ambiance I would happily copy.

While we were there, Jean-Christopher showed us the amazing photos he has taken of Bouzigues, and he gave us copies of several! They are my favorite French “art” so far!

We also brought him a map of the two local areas, and we spent an hour pouring over the map (and going through his extensive map collection). He highlighted places we should visit for either historical beauty and/or natural beauty. How cool is that?! He wants to accompany us on some of our journeys, but he’s recovering from knee surgery. Poor guy! He’s one of the sportiest men I’ve ever met, and he’s out of commission for a while.

Of course this was 99.9% in French, and I understood a lot of it! Dado is a star and communicated almost flawlessly the whole time.

Pumpkin Carving

As you already saw in my last post, we had a ton of fun carving pumpkins Tuesday afternoon!

Sandra’s Cousin

Thursday we were invited to the Brun’s because her cousin and his family were in town for a visit. They live in Bordeaux, where we have been graciously invited for a visit. Get this – there is surfing in Bordeaux!! Yeah for Dado.

We had a great afternoon. They kids all played happily while we ate a delicious lunch. Philippe and Sandrine (his wife) are kind and hysterical. We are definitely treated like family – not as guests. It is a wonderful feeling! I hope you know what I mean . . . when you are part of a group, and you are completely at ease and a full member in the festivities. Thanks again, Sandra!

Today is Halloween!

We are all so excited. Sandra has been planning today since we first met her! There will be trick-or-treating in the village this evening, and there is a party at Sandra’s before that. Woohoo!

She loaned Max and Josey Halloween costumes, too! Max is going to be Jack Sparrow, and Josey is going to be a witch.

Last night the kids told us that Halloween is their favorite day of the year, even before Christmas! Josey explained it like this: “On Halloween, you are excited all day waiting for trick-or-treating. On Christmas, you are only excited in the morning.”

Mike and I have to miss the party. (Imagine my sad, sad face right now!) Our Carte Sejour saga continues, and we have an obligatory appointment in Montpellier today at 2:30 for chest x-rays and a medical exam. Wah!!!

Love to all!

No comments: