Every now and then you have to do something that’s just a little bit totally crazy, it’s what makes life an adventure. So we did it. We bought a ferry ticket to Cherbourg. A one way ticket.
We’ve borrowed a tent from some friends because five people into a three man tent do not go, bought the pinkest of pink pink pink sleeping bags for two very delighted little girls, and unearthed sleeping bags, picnic sets and the folding chairs from the cupboard under the stairs. We have our camp stove and a bright shiny green kettle and in a moment of beautiful irony, I think I might have bought Pip a travel double bed mattress after all, even if technically H and I are supposed to be sleeping on it too.
We spent yesterday having a little trial run with our version of glamping and to the extent that you can judge at set up by supper in the garden, it’s working pretty well, we can strike camp in a little under 40 minutes and I know we’ll only get faster.
The rough plan is that we’ll start by staying a few days in Normandy to go to the beach and explore Roen and Honfleur and the coastline. H and I both love the impressionists so we want to see some of the many spots that they painted on their summer holidays, especially Monet’s seascapes. Then continuing the painterly theme we’re going to head inland and visit Giverny and Versailles and maybe find somewhere where we can hop on the train to Paris for a day as Kitty has a hankering to go on the carousel at the base of the Eiffel Tower that’s on the cover of one of the guide books.
(dreaming of French cheese?)
After that the current plan is to head for the Swiss border. Annecy came top of everyone’s recommendations last week and when we did a little research we could see why, so we’d like to base ourselves in that part of the world for a bit and explore some mountains and lakes.
And then, well we might go north into Germany and work our way back through Belgium, or head back through France or Spain. We don’t have a deadline or a return ferry (we’ll book one on the internet via phone when we know when and where we want to travel from) and technically the date we absolutely have to be back for is Kitty’s first day of school, though I’d like to be back before Pip’s birthday. If we want to stay longer in one place we can, and if we want to move on we can.
(putting the table through its paces)
I hope that it’s going to be amazing, the kind of holiday that we remember for all the good reasons, and that the children fall into the rhythm of camping fairly easily. I’m clinging to the idea that the fact that they’re technically sleeping in the same bed each night will make it feel like home, regardless of the campsite, and if it all goes all horribly wrong and Europe is deluged in floods of biblical proportions we’ll be back on the next ferry. But somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen. This is why we jiggled things to make sure we had a summer all together before I go back to work and Kitty goes off to school, this freedom to travel without much of a limit is not going to come around again soon and I’m so glad that we’ve jumped at the chance.
We’re spending today packing, getting up at ridiculous o’clock tomorrow and driving to the south coast, and while we’re away some friends of ours who are having their kitchen redone are coming to escape the brick dust and noise and take care of my blackcurrant bush for me. Quite when the garden became the sixth member of the family is hard to tell, but I’m glad all my hard work won’t just shrivel up and die.
So, welcome aboard, I’ve got a few scheduled blog posts that will pop up from time to time but other than that I’m going to be posting little snippets of our adventures from my phone, I’m sure there’ll be lots of photos if you’re following me on Instagram and by the time we get back I’m going to have oh so many stories to tell.