Had an amazing week! As much as I've enjoyed seeing as much of France/Europe as I can in the last few years it was really really great to just have a chilled-out week, sleeping late with no rush to fit 100 museums, tours and sights into every day, and yeah just generally having a really relaxing time. Got on really well with Hari, Eddie and Cat, enjoyed our little caravan life and we had some funny times (plus Rachy and Cecile both made it in for a little while). The campsite was lovely, set in pine forest, very quiet with a swimming pool, although annoyingly shop/bar etc not yet open. From there it was about a half hour walk I guess down to the beach/town. Arcachon itself was lovely beachy place with tons of seafood restaurants and surfy shops, but not "tacky" at all, and in the surrounding area (of the "bassin") there was lots of forests, the biggest sand-dune in Europe, and some really expensive villas owned by the French elite. We were amazingly lucky with the weather; the first few days were a bit changable with a bit of rain and often slightly overcast, however the last 4 days have been AWESOME! Like properly properly hot, bikini, ice-cream, prickly-heat weather! Have got a pretty decent tan going on and it was just sooooo cool, Swam in the pool and sea and sunbathed, and ate dinner outside at 9pm. Lucy likes that A LOT. It totally feels to me like this is it, my French summer here to stay, but the forecast says otherwise, so we shall see.
Ok, so, a quick run-down of what we did:
Get train 8.30am from Perigueux, picking Rach up en-route. From Bordeaux it was under an hour to ARCACHON!
All have stuff with us, so find our way to the beach and set up camp there for a couple of hours, dip feet in sea etc.
Lunch at cafe on sea-front, yummy chicken salad and chips.
Bit of a long, uphill walk to campsite, check out carvan etc.
Discover bus/lift into/back from town, easier for future journeys!
Back down into town, first of many ice-creams from Sorbet d'Amour. Walk along front to Port, get a bit wet! Stop for a coffee.
Walk back past Casino, take lift up to park where the old Casino was.
AMAZING dinner! At "Hippocamp" restaurant: fish soup with rouille http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouille (yummmy, so rich), best salmon ever, and perhaps the nicest white wine I've ever had...damn it though, I've lost where I wrote down what it was called!
Back up to caravan, Cards: Lexicon (giving birth to "woolscar" and "umtwine") and JUNGLE SPEED (to become game of the week!)
First glimpse of Hari's Powerball before bed.
Cereal for breakfast, Rach offers Hari salt in his tea!
Swim in the pool! Bloody cold! And slide kinda uncomfortable but fun all the same and Rach, as always this weekend, is "well up for it"
Back to caravan for a great hot shower
Down to town, Mie Caline paninis etc for lunch. Sun out!
Meet up with Cecile and get out billets for the "Grand tour du bassin" par bateau, 2 and half hours on-board, get to see:
l'Ile des Oiseaux
Dune du Pyla
Expensive, very nice villas
And then it gets slightly bumpy...very fun at first as Rach slides across boat in her plastic chair, but then start to feel kinda queasy.
Hang out on the beach...duck, duck, goose, bulldog. Meet Tony (a real dog!).
Back up the road, stopping off at the playpark.
Dinner de Cat et Lucy, pasta followed by cheese and vino, of course. Sit outside, lovely. It's the eve of Hari's birthday and Eddie sings an AMAZING song his written for him, gauntlet is laid down for an Arcachon song by end of the week.
5 minutes before midnight I suggest Hari should do something "crazy" to celebrate end of his boyhood....before we know it he has stripped and is running around outside caravan. His adulthood is welcomed in as we are told off for being too loud...oops.
Just about roll out of bed at 6am to say goodbye to Rach :-( but will hopefully see her soon. It's raining, poor her.
Roll out again, very quietly at 8am, with Cat. Head down to the supermarket and stock up on stuff for bacon sandwiches and BBQ for Hari's birthday. Wake the boys up with the smell of frying bacon. Nice breakfast, Hari opens his presents.
Seriously lazy morning, reading, playing games etc...basically don't do anything until lunchtime, BBQ and beers, followed by self-constructed Strawberry Birthday Cake.
After that tiring morning (ahem) have a little siesta...but woken up by boys breaking through a certain wall.
Boys go out to get some necessities for the shot glasses I gave Hari. Cat straightens my hair! Really weird, but quite like it, makes a nice change...like it with the layers, sexy! he he!
We make ourselves pretty.
Jungle Speed, The Drinking Version. Very funny...general misbehaviour.
Leave to go and get dinner...starts to rain, take cover in phone box, then get lost in the forest. General tipsy ramblings.
Eventually arrive in town for dinner at about 11pm...obviously this is late even by French standards. Eventually
the, really-quite-posh, Casino offers us steak! Totally random meal...we're the only people in this smart restaurant, they eventually tell us they're closing up. Check out the casino...don't really get very far.
Cereal time...random conversations.
Bit of a lie-in.
Tidy up caravan. Run out of gas, just as reception is closing for lunch, but boys save the day.
Bit overcast, head into town. Get the bus to the Dune du Pyla where we meet up with two of the teachers from Eddie's school.
Dune in seriously impressive....MASSIVE. Amazing views of forests, bassin etc once you get to the top. Walk most of the way along it, then all the way down to the sea and back up again, very hard work indeed!
Eddie's friends drive us to a little port and then to a little cafe for a drink in the sun, very nice.
Boys cook dinner tonight, very yummy salmon pasta.
Chill-out to Eddie's guitar accompaniment, lovely.
Jungle Speed... "Why are the cards like that?"
"...because someone thought they should go in the washing up last night..."
12 hours sleep.
Hang around by pool.
Potato salad etc for lunch, wander into town.
Hire a 4-person Chucklebrother bike! Hilarious, if slightly terrifying, hour along the coast and back.
Beach....long-jump to keep warm. Somehow Cat ends up kicking a load of sand all over me, the boys almost die laughing expecting a fight I think!
Dinner on the sea-front. Try mussels (in a cream sauce)...soooooo yummy, followed by the best duck confit EVER. Hari has a massive sea-food platter.
Cold walk home...dressed for day-time.
Jungle Speed, of course.
Get up and head right down to beach, get ferry across to up-market Cap Feret.
Hire bikes...slightly wobbly at first, haven't ridden in ages, but get into it...although always at back of group!
Cycle to lighthouse and then back for some lunch, steak.
Back on bikes across the island, very peaceful and nice. Quickly lose the boys but find a really cool beach...pretty deserted, massive and awesome waves, proper North Devon/Cornwall atlantic waves. Boys track us down and we go in sea! I'm the only one prepared with bikini so it's underwear for the rest. Weird "creme brulee" sand. Dry off in the sun. Cycle to the point and then back to return bikes and get boat home again. Little nap on the way.
Good dinner chez nous: rillets, terrine de campagne, pasta salad etc, and best cheese EVER...tome de basque....mmmmm
Showers, Profiteroles for dessert.
ARCACHON SONG! So cool, I'll have to try and get words off of Eddie.
Lazy morning, poor Hari is ill.
Read/lay outside. Seriously good weather.
Cat, Eddie and I head into town...wander around some shops, do a pharmacy trip for Hari, lunch and ice-cream.
Laze by pool. Little sleep and then a swim, I'm the first one in!
Nice warm shower and down into town for out last dinner, Italian, followed by sangria on the front watching some hilarious "jumper fashion" from the middle-aged couples enjoying the summer's eve (hard to believe still only April!) and entertained by Victor.
Up earlier. Pack up and clean caravan. Very, very warm today.
Head down to beach with all our gear. Sunbathe for a few hours, and Mr Umbrella comes in handy as a parasol. Paddle in sea, eat lunch, sunbathe a bit more and then a kinda uncomfortable walk back up to the station with all our stuff, too hat.
Train journey home and back in the Gueux in time to upload photos before bed.
This morning I nipped out for half an hour in the sun, need to keep this tan topped-up for ball next Saturday. Oooo, on other news, Ben Folds, The Zutons and Groove Armada are among Glasto confimations, :-) . Washing, lesson planning etc for a couple of days now and then it's off to Angleterre. Sooo excited to see Oxford mateys, realised I'm gonna be there for May Day and the ball should be awesome. And, of course, really really really can't wait to see Joe...been like 8 and a half weeks...
Quand meme...pas de soucis, hein?