summer holidays

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Holiday Snaps

Good morning followers, here is the obligatory photographic report of our family trip to Charente-Maritime. You really didn't think you would escape, did you?

The port of La Tremblade, the town where we stayedThe port of La Tremblade, the town where we stayed

Queen for a day, crowned by WolfQueen for a day, crowned by Wolf

Tyl taking a nap. We all slept a lot, we were in dire need for some rest.Tyl taking a nap. We all slept a lot, we were in dire need for some rest.

Naughty toddler!Naughty toddler!

The beach of Royan. The old sailing ship on the horizon was a visitor of the Tour de France for sailing boats. How they get over the Alps is a mystery to me. (For Daphne: beach with blue-white striped tents)The beach of Royan. The old sailing ship on the horizon was a visitor of the Tour de France for sailing boats. How they get over the Alps is a mystery to me. (For Daphne: beach with blue-white striped tents)

Gunner Wolf at battle stations. This picture was taken in Brouage, a fortified town not far from our camping. The whole region is littered with forts that were meant to protect the French navy from those English bastards.Gunner Wolf at battle stations. This picture was taken in Brouage, a fortified town not far from our camping. The whole region is littered with forts that were meant to protect the French navy from those English bastards.

Going to the loo was a communal affair for the 18th century French soldier.Going to the loo was a communal affair for the 18th century French soldier.

View towards the sea, which used to be much closer in the olden days. But this whole bay region is sanding up.View towards the sea, which used to be much closer in the olden days. But this whole bay region is sanding up.

A face ravished by cookies and mosquito bitesA face ravished by cookies and mosquito bites

So, that's all for the good weather pictures. The next day it started raining until the morning of the very last day of our summer holidays...

Choo Choo

On the second day of our holiday, we tooka historical train ride around part of the Bay of the Somme. There are two main lines, from Saint-Valéry sur Somme to Cayeux (to the south at the coast) and back and the other one from Saint-Valéry (on the South side of the bay) to Le Crotoy (on the North side), with a stop at Noyelles-sur-Mer. We opted for that second tour, because it's with a real steam train whereas the trip to Cayeux is with an old Diesel locomotive.

However, when we'd bought our tickets we only found the Diesel train. So thinking that it replaced the normal steam train ride, we boarded. It was only when we left the train station that we say the steam train leave from another station, just 500 meters from where we hopped on our Diesel train.

I blame the French for being absolutely incapable of giving clear indications. They put one arrow in the general direction, then another and then you're left to your own devises, until you see an arrow pointing completely in the opposite direction (so at least you know you're too far).

My wife blames me, of course.

So it was with red cheeks that I handed over the tickets to the train conductor, who claimed again that their directions were perfectly clear. Luckily, he didn't kick us off the train. And besides, that old diesel locomotive was at least as charming as the steam train, wasn't it?

You can't take pictures like these on a steam train, you knowYou can't take pictures like these on a steam train, you know

Arrival at Cayeux. Forty-five minutes later the train returned to Saint-Valéry sur Somme.

And we're off again!And we're off again!

We smuggled Booh, Wolf's favourite cuddle, into the passenger compartment. She really didn't want to travel with the cargo because there were no windows.

It was very hot that day (28°C!), so Wolf made sure that Booh drank regularly.

That's what you get for trying to scare me and my cuddly cow!That's what you get for trying to scare me and my cuddly cow!

When we got back to Saint-Valéry, we heard a steam whistle. This is the train to Crotoy and Noyelles (where we were supposed to go). See, it's not half as nice as our little diesel train!

Although I admit that the cars do look more comfortable than the ones we travelled in. But then again, we could see the tracks through the cracks between the floor boards.

Ok, it IS a nice train.

Beach Holiday

Wolf playing with Lobster Man (aka dad)Wolf playing with Lobster Man (aka dad)

Punching In

Well, that was that. After a last well-deserved holiday in France, it's back to the chain gang. The taste of sea-food still lingers in my mouth and at night I can still hear the seagulls (or rather the storm wind beating the walls of our little cabin).

The weather was a bit of a spoiler in the end, although the week started off with temperatures up to 28°C (about a 1000° Fahrenheit I think). As a consequence, I had to sleep face down for a couple of nights, but at least Wolf and I had great fun in the swimming pool and on the beech. Mummy joined us only once, I think she prefers swimming in molten lava over water. The merest cloud in the sky and she's turning over the suitcases in search of a thick sweater.

But then the storm clouds came in and the last couple of days we let the gusts of wind blow us inland to seek calmer weather. Not that we found any, so there are plenty of pictures of us walking through various cities and places in yet another downpour. The last day, we sought our entertainment indoors and went to Nausicaa, an infotainment-zoo-aquarium-museum in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Wolf had a blast running from one fish-tank to the other. I think the penguins were his favourite, finally an animal that was exactly his size.

That final visit brought the total score on 695 pictures, some of which will be featuring here in the coming days.

Only 351 more days and we can hit the road again. - Sigh -

Vive La France

We’ve finally decided on our holiday destination. We already knew we wanted to go to France, where the sun always shines. Not that we’re going very far to the south, I don’t think a two-year-old would take well to sitting in a car for ten hours straight. So we looked for something more to the north, in the region of Picardie, Normandy or Pas de Calais. Alternatively, we could have gone to the French Ardennes or the Champagne region. But we wanted sand and sea, so they were quickly dismissed.

Budgetary considerations meant that three weeks in a five star hotel was out of the question. Instead, we’ve hired a little ‘maisonette’ on a camping at the ‘Baie de la Somme’. On the website, the camping looked lovely and clean with plenty of sand dunes and the occasional pine tree. Mmmmh, the scent of warm pine while you sip on a cocktail with your feet in the warm sand…

On the other hand, we had an occasional bad experience with places we reserved on the internet after looking at pictures that showed spacious rooms and clean hotels. And no doubt our caravan will wash away in the Somme river after days of torrential rain. But I don’t care; I want to go on holiday abroad!

Only three more weeks and we’re off…

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