Vive Le Tour de France!

Lourdes – Part 3

Well this was the day we all had been looking forward to, and anticipating for a VERY long time!  We were heading back into the Pyrenees Mountains to watch Le Tour come through…. live and in person! We were very excited to say the least!

After days of trying to figure out the BEST place (many maps and GPS devices were used to figure this out) to watch the tour go through from Pau to Bagneres du Luchon, we decided to head to Luz St. Sauveur, on the Col du Tourmalet climb.  The advice we were given from “our” local trampoline/ski instructor from the day before was that the road wouldn’t close down till about 11:00am so we would have plenty of time to get there before the race came through.

Mike and I were both a bit sceptical on whether the road would be open (this is THE Tour de France after all) but decided to go with the advice we were given by our local “guide” and make our way for around 9:30am. This would give us plenty of time to hopefully find parking, and scope our spot to watch from.

We made our way and were pretty surprised that it was relatively quiet.  I was expecting thousands upon thousands of people all crowding the streets just trying to get a glimpse of the riders…… however that was not the case.  We found parking easily and had a great morning (amazing yummy coffee and chocolate croissants were involved) waiting for Le Tour to come through.

About an hour before the riders come through, a huge caravan of sponsor cars came through playing crazy loud music. There were people yelling in French over loud speakers, go-go boys and go-go girls dancing and throwing prizes. Really it was more like junk than prizes, but the kiddies were having fun trying to gather up as many goodies as they could.

At around 11:00 am Mike went to buy a beer….you know…..its a novelty for us Canadians to be able to walk around in public with an alcoholic beverage in hand. I don’t drink beer….. but seriously, how awesome is it to have beer being sold and people just walking around drinking beer, instead of being corralled like sheep behind a “beer garden fence”.  Life is so civilized in France and I LOVE it!

The Tour day that we saw, turned out to be the hardest stage of the entire tour.  Four mountain climbs, and 201 seriously hard kilometers. When they came through Luz St. Sauveur it was the start of the second climb of the day. The peloton was broken into 2 groups…. the mountain climbers were in the front pack and all in the hunt for the polka dot jersey, and to be eventually crowned king of the mountains.  The second pack had Bradley Wiggins and all that were in the hunt to strip him of his coveted, leader of the race, yellow jersey!

It was honestly a blur of cyclists as they passed through Luz St Sauveur.  I would have thought that they would have really been struggling hard to get up the mountain but it looked like this part of the mountain was being handled quite easily by all the riders.  I was so excited by seeing all the riders I actually didn’t get the best shots (certainly not Graham Watson or Liz Kreutz worthy).  The riders passed through, the team cars followed, and then it was over.  It happened that fast.  We headed into the bowling alley/restaurant for coffee/beer and to watch the televised climb up the Col du Tourmalet.  The experience was beyond awesome.

This was Mikes 3rd Tour de France…. in a row…… that he has been in France, watching, live, and in person, and my first. (….so something is wrong with this picture…. no?).

Summer 2010 – after a cycling trip with the guys, Mike said something to the effect that “for being in France, you certainly don’t get a lot of coverage on the race…. its like it’s not even happening”. I thought for sure he was tricking me so I wouldn’t be super envious and know how fabulous it all was.

Summer 2011. Mike was in Paris (for work….hahaha) for the final stage of Le Tour and on the Champs Elysees watching live.  We were talking on the phone, him there, me watching it on TV here  in Vancouver.  Turns out it was him asking me what was going on.  He said he couldn’t see a thing since it was über crowded and there were about 12 rows of people in front of him. Again….. all I could think of was “STOP trying to make me feel better about not being THERE!”

Summer 2012. We spent the entire 22 days in France during Le Tour, and I hate to say it, but Mike is right……. being in France (Paris, Disneyland,Orleans,Carcassonne, Lourdes) during the Tour, we were hard pressed to find out anything about the race while we were there.  It was never on TV, not in the newspapers, not anywhere! Without internet we really would not have known what was happening! Seriously!

In Canada we seem to follow all the stages…. waking up early and catching every pedal stroke, every drop of sweat, every feed station, all while holding our breath. We watch the entire days ride just to see a sprint finish or watching the riders grind it out on the mountain stages. It makes for awesome sport,  awesome TV… and I LOVE it!

With that all said……. next year is the 100th anniversary of Le Tour…. it sure would be fun to be in a motor home, with a group of equally enthusiastic cycling friends, on the side of a mountain climb with a Canadian flag, body paint, costumes…. partying with all the rest of the crazed Le Tour fans. Mike are you listening??!?

After our morning of watching Le Tour we decided to head up another famous Le Tour climb…. Hautacam!  It was stunning and beautiful.  I was surprised how different the climb was from the Col du Tourmalet which really was not that far away.  Turns out they have a crazy luge track at the top of the mountain that we all just loved. The kiddies were in heaven! SO. MUCH. FUN.

Vive Le Tour de France!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Race Set up… flag check point

Mountain Tunnel

Cured meat in Luz St. Sauveur

Start of Le Tour in Pau

Hello little Le Tour Fan

more rides before the race comes through

Town centre

Lets Jump – I’m READY!

Brodie was cheering for Cadel Evans and team BMC

up to the minute race stats courtesy your friendly iPhone 4s

The Caravan Arrives

#1 Fans!

More race stats… unfolding as it happens!

Helicopters are near…… the race is near!

Drinking beer in the middle of the streets in the AM…. because you know what…..we can!

look both ways!

The Family…..

Group #1 looking for the polka dot jersey!

Mike…. the amazing human climbing tree!

Race leader Bradley Wiggins Spoiler alert…. he wins Le Tour 2012 AND the gold medal in London 2012!

Brodies team car

Watching from “our” bowling alley

Hello Brodie…. Le Tour de France is going on behind you!

Hautacam in all its glory

Our afternoon coffee stop at the top of a mountain!

Summer Luge track…. FUN!

So high…..

Brodie and Daddy

Syd was SO EXCITED!  This little lady likes danger!

More cows in the middle of the road!

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Mountain Towns in France…. They Totally ROCK!

Lourdes – Part 2

So the day after Mikes bikes race the weather started to clear up.  We decided to take a family tour around town, and ended up at the Pic du Jer, and the funicular ride up the mountain,  to the amazing views over looking the city, and where we took in a cave tour – Brodie and Sydney’s first…… EVER!

I wasn’t such a fan of the funicular ride up the mountainside. Being pulled up the mountain in a metal box that was over a 100 years old, by a cable, at a crazy slope (28-58% grade) was almost too much for me to handle.  The views were spectacular but I could hardly wait to get off the funicular and back on to solid ground!

The cave tour at the top of the mountain was very cool. Brodie was super pumped to be inside a mountain….. even little Syd seemed to be excited about the adventure ahead.  The tour took about 30 minutes, and our guide, Helene, was very informative and had quite the sense of humor.  Other than the tour and the views, there wasn’t much else to do at the top of this very pretty mountain, so we decided to have lunch at the little cafe at the top, before getting back in line for the ride down on the 100 year old funicular. I was happy that it didn’t seem to be as nerve-racking on the way down as it was on the way up!

Now it’s totally weird, but during our visit to France, and in EVERY little town, there has been some type of carnival/carousel/trampolines, and Lourdes one was no exception.  We had promised the kiddies for 2 days that we would go to the carnival – seriously 2 blocks from our apartment….. and tonight was going to be that night.

Well…..during the day, the carnival had packed up and left….. except, thank goodness, for a couple of the kiddie rides.  Brodie was happy on his bumper cars, expertly driving to AVOID the other cars, and even teasing some of the other kids with a “drive and dodge“ maneuver (he learned this from Mike in our parkade…. teaching a 5 year old to drive!)…. all while laughing his head off!  Syd was quite happy to go in circles, riding as many different characters and animals on the ride that she could on the carousel. “Just one more ride….. please“, well this too eventually had to come to an end…… and you know what…… it never seemed  to end on a high note….. no matter what!

Oh little Syd……. sometimes you can be just too much….the tears, the drama, all over nothing…… but…….. we love you more than anything!

The Monday in Lourdes we woke up to beautiful blue skies and what we had planned as our laundry day…… Boo!  We found an amazing coin laundry place not far from our apartment (I, at this point was missing our Paris apartment and its washer and dryer!) and we headed there first thing. The laundromat turned out to be one of those industrial type of washer/dryers places. I had ALL our laundry in 3 washers and then put it ALL…. yes ALL…. in one crazy huge dryer.  The clothes were dry in 40 minutes! Totally awesome, we had it all done in record time and we were now heading to the Col du Tourmalet, to scope out our ” Le Tour de France” watching position, and head up the Pic du Midi for stunning views of the Pyrenees mountains.

We ended up spending quite a bit of time in Luz St. Sauveur on our way up the mountainside.  Turns out they had trampolines and a carousel!  REALLY…. I’m just sooooooo surprised by this!

Brodie was in total heaven, bouncing around in the Pyrenees, and Syd was pretty happy, once again to go in circles!  We then made our way up the ever more crowded Col du Tourmalet as everyone was staking their coveted spot for when Le Tour was passing through in 2 days time.  We decided to stop half-way up the mountain since Syd was starting to go a little crazy in the car (she builds up to her meltdowns in increments, so you can see them coming a mile away).  Both kids loved the cows and sheep on previous stops on the mountain, so Mike thought this would be another great adventure.

We were at a ski lift spot on the mountain, as well as an area that looked like they gave kids lessons since there was one of those “moving carpets”.  The cows and sheep graze relatively freely on the mountain however there are these little electric fences put up so the cows don’t go past a certain area.  Well….. Mike thought it was a great idea to hop this little electric fence with both kiddies and go and visit one of these nice little dairy cows, that were wearing GINOURMOUS bells around their necks, grazing on the mountainside.  I followed a bit behind, swearing at myself for being a “scardey cat”, and eventually hopping over the little fence,  joining Brodie at the end of the “magic carpet”.  Mike ventured off into the field with Syd in his arms to go and visit a French cow!

To say that this particular cow (with horns…. now…..does that make it a bull) was not happy to see Mike would be an understatement.  The cow turned to face Mike did this weird little “hop” and made a crazy swipe with its horns at Mike and Syd.  The cow caught Mikes hand with his horn as he turned Syd away. To say that we were relieved that the cow didn’t charge the two of them (because he SOOOOOOO could have) would be an understatement!  It was scary for Mike, Brodie and myself all while little Syd took it in stride, feeling safe in Daddies arms.  We are pretty lucky that the cow/bull didn’t charge Mike….. the day would have ended right then and there, on a completely different note!  Guess the electric fence was there to keep the cows in…….. and the tourists OUT!

With Mikes aching hand, and another half of the mountain to go, we hopped in the car and made our way to Pic du Midi.  We summited the mountain with crystal blue skies on one side of the mountain, and rolling, socked in cloud on the other….. this, as well as arriving late, cancelled out trip up the Pic du Midi. And now ” I ” was in a mood…. the only thing I wanted to do that day was closed…. Uuuugghhhh!

We hung out for awhile and then decided we would make our way down the mountain and stop in a cute mountainside town for dinner.  We ended up in a town just before Luz St Sauveur….. I think it was Estrre but not 100% sure.  The restaurant was right on the side of the road that the tour would be passing through in 2 short days. Dinner was great, but both kids were crabby, so we ended up playing in the park across the street before heading back in the car for Lourdes.

Tuesday had bright blue skies again and we were definitely gonna make it up the Pic du Midi…. without question!  Mike wanted to cycle up the Col du Tourmalet in the sunshine so we packed the bike, a change of clothes, and headed to Luz St Sauveur to drop Mike off.  The kiddies and I hung out in our FAVORITE mountain town, for some bouncy trampoline,and spinning carouseling fun, before making our way to the top of Tourmalet then on to the OTHER side of the mountain for lunch……. where we would meet up with Mike.

The day before Le Tour, on one of THE MOST FAMOUS HC category climbs in Le Tour history = complete CHAOS trying to get up the mountain!  On a road that normally might fit cyclists and one car, in one direction only, now had campers, tents motor homes ….. all parked by the side of the cliff, and any other spot they could possibly STUFF their vehicle into!  To say I was stressed driving up the mountain is an understatement.  Mikes parting words of encouragement were……. “DO NOT drive off the side of the mountain”….. and just so you know……. it could easily happen people!  With no guard rails, there really is nothing between your car and a huge plummet off the Col du Tourmalet! I was totally crossing my fingers that this didn’t happen!  I did make my way up, and at points thinking, “I hope we are 100% covered for accidents” as it was  super TIGHT in some spots.

I was relieved to make it to the top and descend the other side until I spotted the herd of cows just hangin’ out in the middle of the road.  This sight got ROARS of laughter from Brodie as I made my way weaving through meandering dairy cows on a mountainside road, all while talking to them……  ‘do not back up’,  ‘please dont move!’, “If you move, you’re gonna be hamburger meat”.

We found a great parking spot (always a concern when not really knowing all the parking regulations and signs), and then we had a great lunch, with Mike joining us after his cycle. We then made our way to the Pic du Midi gondola…… FINALLY!  Wow… it is a far and long ride to get to the top. I will admit that for some reason, on this trip, I haven’t been so good with the mechanical things,….. you know…… those mechanical things that pull you up, or across a mountain. So WEIRD!  Anyway……. I was scared going up the mountain, deep breathing was used, and I was thankful once we reached our destination and I was no longer suspended 10,000ft above the mountains by a cable!

The views were absolutely amazing!  Wow… seriously, STUNNING!

At the top Mike didn’t really get that close to the edge and barriers as I, and he barely looked around.  He hung back with the kiddies till we sat down at the cafe to grab an afternoon coffee “high in the sky”.  As we were talking about him not having a good look around and I said to Brodie “Daddy doesn`t like heights” to which Mike replied (and Brodie thought was beyond HILARIOUS and repeated on a daily basis………)

” I’m not scared of heights….. I’m scared of dying”

This MIke Bain quote was reference to a “man-made fence” randomly giving way at 10,000 ft. and plummeting downwards towards death.  Hello….. you just took a 10 min tram, with all your faith in a “man-made cable crossing” ( and he gave ME a hard time for being scared on the crossing).

We all made it safely down off the mountain, and it was a day of accomplishments for everyone. Sydney got to ride her carousel, Brodie got to jump on trampolines, Mike got to cycle up the Col du Tourmalet in the SUNSHINE, and I got to the top of the Pic du Midi. For dinner we had the most amazing meal at a bowling alley in Luz St Sauveur. I had seriously been wanting a goat cheese salad just like the one I was served in the “Bowling Alley” for weeks….. and without any luck, so I was happily surprised where I ended up FINALLY getting my salad! We got amazing Tour de France viewing information from the guy who owned the trampolines (and whom is also a ski instructor  on the Tourmalet in winter).  All in all, it was a great day in the Pyrenees Mountains!

And just so you know….. mountain towns in France, well they totally ROCK!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Hello….. I’m over 100 years old! The Pic du Jer…. not Mike 😉

the funicular for our journey up the mountain

CAVES!

Here Sydney…. Look at this!

Over looking Lourdes

Lourdes

Funicular Tram for the ride down!

Luz St. Sauveur trampolines

Col du Tourmalet

The cow/bull that had enough of tourists and swiped Mikes hand…. OUCH!

Safe ground from the cows/bulls on the “Magic Carpet”

Die hard fans waiting days for Le Tour to come through….. we are SO IN on renting a motor home next time and joining in on the PARTY!

The beautiful Col du Tourmalet….. and one of the grazing herds.

There is a carnival in EVERY town!

Bumper Cars and LOVING it!

Circles, circles and more moving circles! I LOVE IT!

Hello clean and beautiful Industrial laundromat….. seriously AWESOME!

The CRAZY dryer…. 3 loads …. 40 minutes ……DONE!

upside down in Luz St Sauveur

Circles in Luz St Sauveur

Seriously…… are all carousels in France over a 100 tears old?? 

After a great climb on the Col du Tourmalet

Pic du Midi – Pyrenees Mountains

Pic du Midi

Pyrenees Mountain range

Gondola ride overlooking fab hiking trails

Coffee time!

Just like MOM and I soooooo LOVE it!

Seriously……. on the side of a cliff…..

The drive down the Col du Tourmalet

Sooooo Beautiful!

Yummers …… and in a bowling alley…… in a small mountain town of all places! Seriously in LOVE  with this salad!

After a long day……

…… but so not wanting a rest!

Good Thing He Brought The Visa

Lourdes

We arrived late in the day in Lourdes. We hit some city traffic, and then found our apartment hotel that was going to be our home for the next 7 days. We got all our luggage, (now, plus 1 bike), in the room before heading out for a quick scout around town, pick up some breakfast supplies (it was Saturday night and we now know what its like to be in a town, in France, on a Sunday…. everything is CLOSED!), and grab some dinner.  It turns out they REALLY like pizza in Lourdes.  Almost all the restaurants that were near us were Italian. Pizza and pasta….. the kiddies were in heaven!

Our apartment was situated perfectly in the city.  We were close to shops, restaurants, and much-needed laundry facilities! We were also super close to the highway entrance to the Pyrenees Mountains – this was great since it turned out to be our almost daily commute. As it turns out…. the tiny mountain towns in France are simply the BEST!

We woke up Friday morning to beautiful blue, cloudless skies.  We packed the bike and headed to the Pyrenees Mountains. We drove up the Col du Tourmalet – and at 5km to the summit we pulled over.  Putting on 2 pairs of socks, Mikes cycling shoes, and buckling up his helmet I set out on the rented bike.

Right away……on the bike, I knew I was headed for trouble…… I was not 100% sure on the clip out mechanism of Mikes bike shoes, I couldn’t get the bike to its lowest gear, all while starting out on a 8-10% grade…….well 20 meters into my 5km journey I toppled off the bike into a heap on the road.  Mike came running to my rescue, managed to get the bike in the lowest gear, then got me and my bruised ego, back cycling up the Col du Tourmalet all within a couple of minutes.

WOW, WOW, WOW……..

It was crazy to think that I was actually “cycling” up one of the most über famous mountain climbs in France.  I was actually cycling where Lance Armstrong spent a good part of his career (I LOVE Lance Armstrong…. its OK …… Mike knows). A climb I had seen countless times on TV –  and the ride up the mountain was nothing short of spectacular.  It was so unbelievably amazing, there are almost no words to describe it!

Mike took the kiddies to look at the cows and sheep that graze freely on the mountain while I cycled up.  About 1.5KM to go, they passed me in the car, cheering and waving their arms.  I felt so lucky to have such a great cheering squad encouraging me up the mountain.  They pulled over and continued with cheering and picture-taking.  The last switch back up the mountain is crazy.  It kicks into a 12% grade…..  I wasnt sure I would be able to do it when I watched a van turn and take the climb, but when 2 cyclists passed me and jumped out of their saddles…. I didn’t miss a beat and followed suit.  The last 200 meters there were cyclist making their way down the mountain and they were cheering us all on…. it was like my own “little” Tour de France.  I wish I had enough training behind me to do the entire 23KM climb, but so happy that I got to summit the Col du Tourmalet.

After my EPIC 5Km ride we came down the “back” side of the mountain (which Mike informs me is actually the front side of the mountain), and had lunch in the cutest little ski town.  We were quite literally surrounded by the Pyrenees mountains, and I definitely see a ski holiday there at some point! It would be breath-taking all white and covered in snow.

We then packed the bike in the car, programmed the tomtom and made our way to Pau to pick up mikes race pack for L’etape du Tour.  The drive through the mountains was beautiful, the kiddies slept, and we managed to find exactly where we needed to be in Pau…… parking spot and all.  The bike expo was awesome.  So many bikes (some 6000 euro and above) bike gear, nutrition, Le Tour clothing….. you could definitely get carried away and spend a fortune!

We had dinner in Pau, and got back to Lourdes around 9:00pm. Mike got his bike, nutrition, and clothing together for the big race.  Alarms were set as it would be an early morning for us with a 5:30am wake up and drive to Pau to drop Mike off for his big race. Its always hard to getting ready for a race.  Trying to figure out the right clothing to wear, and making sure it is perfect for the day…. well its just stressful. We woke up to cool temperatures and low socked in cloud. As we were driving to drop off Mike, we were passing all sorts of cyclists heading to the race.  Mike turned to me, and with concern in his voice says “Why is everyone dressed like its winter?”  Well there wasn’t much Mike could do at this point with regards to clothing, so we just had to all cross our fingers that the cloud wasn’t that bad and that it would burn off as the morning progressed.  We wished Mike well, said our goodbyes and the kiddies and I made our way back to Lourdes, as Mike headed for the start line.  We were to pick Mike up in  Bagneres de Luchon later in the afternoon after 201km ride.

The kiddies and I went back to the apartment, cleaned up, had lunch and ventured out in Lourdes.  The town we needed to get to pick up Mike was about 90 minutes away from Lourdes so by mid afternoon the kiddies needed a nap, so we packed in the car, programmed the tomtom, and we were off.  The kiddies napped on cue, I stopped at the roadside rest area for coffee and a small nap before heading back on our way.  We arrived in Bagneres de Luchon, and was trying to find parking when the phone rang.  It was Mike.  His race was over and wanted to know if we could pick him up, instead of hopping on the race bus…. it would probably save us 3 hours.

Our new destination was Tresbons….. about 40 minutes away from where we were.  I reprogrammed the tomtom and we were off.  Now, for me it was a super strange feeling to be driving `blind` and not really knowing where we were.  I`m definitly more of a visual human being, so this is where a huge foldable map comes in handy!  I followed the directions from Darth, and after about 30 minutes I started to question whether we were on the right path.  We exited the highway, paid our toll and we were on an amazingly beautiful rural road in the middle of farmers fields.  I made a right turn as directed and was thinking this can’t be right…… I thought I would drive another 10 minutes and then call Mike if I didn’t find him.  Well lo and behold after passing through countless little communities, there was Mike and his bike at the side of the road waiting for us. Gotta love modern technology….. and our $80.00 tomtom iPhone app….. AMAZING!

Mike had a rough day in the mountains.  The day was the exact opposite to what my ride had been.  It was pouring rain and super cold.  The clouds were socked in on the mountains and the cold from the descent off the first climb was almost too much to recover from. The second climb was the Col du Tourmalet, where, once he was at the summit, jumped off his bike, bought a jacket and gloves (good thing he brought the Visa), both of which were WAY over priced.  Mike said that being as cold as he was, at that point price didn’t matter, and  he would have paid any amount of money, just to get something warm on his body. He found some cardboard and stuffed that in his shirt for extra wind protection for the second descent.

I was sad that Mike didn’t have great conditions for his race and that he couldn’t finish, but he was happy with how well he climbed and I know if the conditions had been better we would have watched him cross the finish line!

Seeing all the cyclists throughout our week in the Pyrenees mountains was super inspiring….. and with the beauty I saw on my ride I know we will be back….. riding up all the famous climbs! Its one trip I cant wait to plan!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Driving through the Pyrenees

On the Col du Tourmalet

In Luz St. Sauveur

5 km to the summit

Hanging out with the grazing cows on the mountainside

1.5 km to the summit

Top of the Tourmalet

Someday we will climb them all!

Syd fell in love with horses

Surrounded by the Pyrenees

in Pau

Mikes Race – 201 km

Profile of race day

Brodie was cheering for Cadel Evans – team BMC.  He thought this was pretty cool!

Race day for Mike – you should see the mountains…. not clouds!

Carcassonne. An Amazing Castle, One CRAZY Meltdown, and iPod Shuffle Love!

Caracassonne

We had 2 nights and 3 days in Carcassonne before our next stop.  We arrived later in the afternoon the first day and basically got settled in the room and went for a quick explore of the castle and then for dinner.  We ate at a great restaurant in the castle walls…… Le Saint Jean. We sat outside since

1.) there was room for the kiddies to run around if needed.

2.) there were paths for them to explore between courses.

3.) We were in a FREAKING CASTLE built in like……. 1067AD…. why wouldn’t we sit outside!

Our dinner was great and afterwards (and well into the night) we spent some time exploring different walkways, and the castle wall.

On Friday morning Mike had to go and pick up the road bike  he rented  for his bike race (l’etape du tour) that would be taking place in Pau the following week. He left first thing in the morning as he had a conference call with work and didnt want to disturb the kiddies or I before it was time to wake up. We woke up later than expected due to the AMAZING blackout curtains in the hotel.  The kiddies and I went for breakfast and were joined by the resident pups that lived at the hotel – a chocolate lab, and a hush puppy.

The kiddies and I decided we would head into the castle, check things out, and then head back and pick Mike up around 1:00 for lunch.  When we entered the castle there was a horse drawn carriage that would take you around the castle… both Brodie and Sydney decided that they REALLY wanted to take the tour even though it was all in French. Syd fell in LOVE with the horses, and Brodie wanted to see all around the castle. Sounded like a great plan….. Done.

After the ride, and saying goodbye to the horses, we ventured into the castle to see what goodies we could find.  Syd fell in love with a princess shirt and brodie a knight shirt. We got the appropriate sizes and were making our way out the store when our day completely fell apart….. Brodie started completely loosing his mind over not having a plastic bag to carry his shirt.  I finally got him out of the store crying hysterically, and I decided we would make our way back to the hotel.  I thought the tantrum would pass quickly since it was so out of character for the little man, but I was wrong! The 4 minute walk back to the hotel took us about 20 minutes with Brodie taking tantrum to another level, all while little Syd pretending that she NEVER acts like that, and telling Brodie he should be good….. OMG…… really…… was this happening!

We finally got back to the hotel and Brodie was sent to the kids room.  I sat outside in the sun trying to figure out what the heck happened, all while Syd walked around acting like she would NEVER do that!  UUUUGGGHHHH!  Mike made his entrance a short time later….. to me sitting outside, in the sun, with steam pouring out of my ears, Brodie sulking in his room, and Syd (acting a perfect angel) watching the iPad on the big bed.  Mike finally got Brodie to calm down, and apologize for his behavior.

Round 2:

We made our way BACK to the castle for lunch, and a walk around the castle wall.  We had a great lunch (although I am tiring of looking for pizza and pasta for the kiddies), and a fabulous walk along the castle wall.  The weather was nice so we eventually made our way back to our hotel and the awesome pool. The kids were super happy to be finally swimming and splashing around.  They could spend the entire day in the water if we let them!

We woke the next morning to our travel day to Lourdes….. and what an amazing day it was! There was not a cloud in the sky, and I found it hard to believe that I would ever pull myself away from our hotel and amazing pool!

We had breakfast, and packed up the room.  Mike – the master packer that he is, needed to find room in our “European full size” car that was already packed tight, for the road bike that he rented.  Unbelievable……. but…. the master packer made it work!  I was sooooooo surprised that it all fit given that we were so tight to begin with.  The kiddies had to sit side by side for drive to Lourdes…. it was SUPER tight…. but we all fit!  We spent the morning in the Carcassonne sunshine at the pool, and then around 1:30 we decided to call it a day, and make our way to our next destination.  I wasn`t too bummed about leaving knowing that we had just booked another 2 nights for the return trip en route to Barcelona…… YES…. we would be back at this amazing hotel, in this amazing city, in a week!

The drive to Lourdes was pretty uneventful. We plugged in my ancient iPod Photo (from about 10 years ago), with its 10,000 + songs on it and away we went. The kids watched their shows and then slept part of the way.  It was beautiful to see the landscape change once again. We left dry and arid, almost desert landscape, for green, lush land with rolling hills.  It did surprise me that while I knew we were heading to the Pyrenees Mountains, all I saw was rolling hills…. even when we entered Lourdes (which is only about 30 minutes from the mountains).

Where were the Pyrenees Mountains…… I count wait to find them!

PS. I LOVE my iPod….. on random while driving it came upon one of my all time FAVORITE songs….. Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung.  Now there is an oldie but a goodie. Thank goodness for the random shuffle on the iPod!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

 

Nighttime castle walk

Carriage ride

The kiddies and I

Castle wall walk

Hello Princess

My awesome prince!

Hello Spiderman!

Brodie and Daddys nightly castle adventure

Resident pup #1

Resident pup #2

Our hotel looking from the pool

Hello amazing pool in the Carcassonne sunshine!

Outdoor warm rain shower

Cramped drive to Lourdes

Gotta pay to drive in France!

Traffic jam in Lourdes

Gotta Love the 80s music’e (and my 10 year old iPod!)