Monday, May 12, 2014

La belle vie Part 2

I wasn't joking.  Part 2 has arrriiiiiiiived!!!!!!!

Alright so I left off on Part 1 with Louise's friends all leaving us at St. Clement to take the train from La Rochelle back to Lille.  It was insane the change in atmosphere after we lost the presence of ten loud and joyous teenagers.  Their absence was heavily felt as a tired kind of silence fell upon the house and those of us in it, Louise and I especially.  We spent the rest of the day cleaning and getting the house back into tip top shape, then after a solid run by the sea we were wiped out.  Absolutely finished.  It took the absence of La Brigade for us to realize just how tired we really were.  The next morning we slept almost till noon and both woke up with budding colds. I'd say it took us about 2 days to fully recover and get back into normal shape.

Once we were finally back to feeling fine and dandy our second week of Île de Ré shenanigans could commence.  The Sunday we went with Valentine, Edouard and Suzanne to the morning mass, and after lunch Louise and I went to see a movie with Blanche and Philippine.  Philou and Blanche are both distant cousins with Louise (like almost everyone in the North of France it seems...) and their families both have vacation houses in St. Clement too! The weather was significantly less pleasing our second week, but we faced the cold winds and cloudy skies anyway to bike to the movie.  We got there early and took some photos while we waited for the doors to open.

Blanche, Loulou, Philou 

The movie was called Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu.  It was a hilarious movie about a classic conservative French couple who have 4 daughters that marry men from all backgrounds and religions.  It was one of those movies that made a lot of jokes on stereotypes but managed to do it without being offensive, I recommend it to all! Once it ended, we biked back to Ars for a bite to eat.  Our return on bike took about 2 times as long as the trip to the movie because we had insane headwinds the entire way.  There were no other bikes on the path which was a rare and eery sight but the crazy winds explained it all.

The next morning we got up and went to the morning market in Ars because it was so nice out.  It was fun to stroll through all the stands, there were so many beautiful (and delicious) things.  Valentine ran into some of her friends and sat down at a café with them while Suzanne, Louise and I went for a stroll and explored in the meantime.

Siobhan in Ars
me and Suz 
Buying warm baguettes and sending post cards for Mother's Day

After some good exploring we headed back to the house in St. Clement for lunch.  The weather was lovely and there weren't any menacing clouds in sight so we took advantage of the lovely weather as fast as we could and were off to the beach.  The beach is literally a 5 minute walk from the house along a road, a quick trail in the forest, and boom you're on the beach.  The weather was PERFECT and there were enormous waves because there was a strong wind.  Edouard's friend Charles came with us along with Philou.

beach ready
Valentine, the loveliest of host moms
Despite the sun, the wind made all of us a little chilly, so we decided we'd hold hands and book it together into the water so that none of us would chicken out and be lards on our towels.  The water was chilly but the excitement and fun of jumping around in the waves was distracting enough that I didn't notice after the initial shock.  I ended up staying in by myself even after everyone else had finished swimming.  Yes I probably looked like a lunatic jumping around laughing by myself alone in the waves but it was beyond fun.  And it's not every day you go swimming at L'Île de Ré.

there I am. the loner.
Note the epic kite surfer.  Added kite surfing to my list of "extreme-sports-i-one-day-need-to-be-good-at" after watching him all afternoon.  
Valentine was the only one who hadn't been in for a dip, so after I kept bugging her to go in she finally got up, only she made me go with her! Despite being quite content to sit and dry off in the sun I went in anyway because why not.

this photo is funny because even though we're holding hands it looks like we're trying to get away from eachother.
I had such a fun afternoon.  I was feeling a tad chilly when we got back to the house so I had a quick and steamy bath.  Then Louise and I went for a run.  Running at Île de Ré was so amazing because we could run on the beach, which would turn into trails, which became paved paths and then trail again etc etc -- it was never boring!

After our run, Philou invited us to her house along with Blanche, Blanche's sister and cousin, and Philou's 3 brothers who were already there for a mini soirée among St. Clement vacationers.  Just before walking over Louise and I stopped at the beach to take some photos as the sun was setting, something I'd been aching to do since arriving.  We were both in the best moods and had so many laughs running around taking photos and freaking out about how beautiful the sunset was.  We got some amaaaazing photos and also made some really great memories.  I am going to miss Louise so much when I leave.


The next day it wasn't so nice out.  Valentine went out in the morning to run errands and get groceries while us kids stayed home to work. Yep.  It's funny because in Canada, even though some teachers will assign homework for vacation, it's usually not a lot, and often people won't even touch it.  But we are in France and school is intense and important, therefore spending 4 hours doing homework during the morning on vacation is not abnormal.  Since I have the DELF French exam coming up this week and next (AH FREAKING OUT) I had stuff to work on too, so it wasn't such a bad thing in the end!  The afternoon we had big plans: trail riding.  I spent my time at the lunch table listening to Ed, Suz and Louise talk and laugh about the last time they'd done a trail ride at l'Île de Ré, laughing about how the horse took off on a gallop and they weren't expecting it.... or about the crazy guy who runs the trail rides and how he won't be nice to you if you're lazy... and so on and so forth with the random stories.  It started to get me a teeeensy bit worried.  I've done lots of horseback riding in my life, it's not like I'm a total noob, but since it's been so long since the last time and I'm in another country and I spent a couple hours listening to all these crazy and wacky stories, I started to wonder if maybe French horseback riding might be something different and maybe I really didn't know what I was doing... Basically that's nonsense but it was the beginning of my decline in self confidence and incline in worry that I was going to be thrown off a wild French horse and disliked by crazy-man-who-runs-the-trail-rides.  So when Mr. Trail Ride Man (whose name I have forgotten clearly) showed me to this giant horse named Geronimo (warning sign, his name is GERONIMO) and said "I hope you ride well because this horse can tell when you don't know what you're doing and if so, you're not going to have a fun time" I panicked and gave in and told him I was beginner.  Then he marches Geronimo off and returns with another horse.  Ladies and gentleman introducing the legendary Little Star: the scruffiest, tubbiest, smallest stub of a horse that would be my noble steed on the French trail ride of magic.  And what a noble steed he was.  The trail ride wouldn't have been the same with Geronimo I'm sure of it.  All in all it was AWESOME.  We didn't have to do all that much because the horses were so well trained but we were trotting through the forest and walking alongside fields and galloped (more than once) on the beach.  It was a dream, and so so much fun.

just after galloping

For our last full day at Île de Ré on vacation (*sniff* *tear*) us young'uns went on a little bike tour to the phare des baleines, in other words, the lighthouse at St. Clement.  There were big crowds and a huge line to go to the top, so we biked to the next town, Les Portes, and on our way back made it up the lighthouse before heading home.

Phare des Baleines

See that tall cylindrical cement water tower in the far off distance? That's where the house is!

I love these kids like they're my own family <3
 And that's that.  I had the most incredible vacation with some absolutely amazing people.  There will be a gaping hole in my life when I go back home and will no longer be able to see them as often as I do now.  But thank god for the 6 weeks I have left right?! 

Hope you enjoyed folks, until next time, bisous xx

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