Room 62 and an Olive Tree

Carcassonne – part 2

After our week in Lourdes it was time to say good-bye to the Pyrenees Mountains and Le Tour de France and head back to our beloved castle and room 62 at the Montmorency Hotel in Carcassonne…. YAY!

To say that I am absolutely in LOVE with this hotel is not really a understatement!  It totally ROCKS!  The rooms…. super cool.  The beds….. amazing. The pool kicks butt, and being so close to the castle, well really, can you ask for more? Oh yeah…. there is also an olive tree right outside the door!  Hello……. it really doesn’t get any better!

Since we were in the same room from a week ago it kinda felt like we were coming home.  Everyone there remembered us and the kids loved that they knew where they were going.  I was happy that after a week away from this fabulous hotel, I, once again had full water pressure, an amazing rain shower, and various body gels and shampoos.  This hotel is simply AWESOME!

We arrived after an uneventful 3.5 hour drive from Lourdes – where we left overcast cloudy skies for sunshine and warmer temperatures. We spent what was left of the afternoon in the pool before heading into the castle for dinner.

We decided to head into the centre “square” for dinner which was probably a mistake on our part just given the touristy nature of the restaurants we were eating at. All the restaurants seemed to have similar plastic coated menus and had a HUGE number of tables that were all full of tourists ( I know …. I’m a tourist as well…..). This is usually my sign to run and find another eating establishment, but the kids were pretty set on the place that “they” picked out…. Brodie says “lets eat at that restaurant” referring to the restaurant with the green awnings and umbrellas.  I ordered the goat cheese salad, in my head, hoping to replicate the one I had in Luz St. Sauveur (but with no luck).  The kids ended up being super happy with their meals, and in the end as long as their tummies are full and they are happy….. well, anyway, that’s what I tell myself!

It was a beautiful night so we walked around the castle till dusk, stopping in on our favourite store… Real chocolate.  We picked up a crazy stash of über tasty chocolate.  After our shopping extravaganza , we were ALL going to head out on the “Daddy/Brodie” nightly castle walk.  Well little Syd had other ideas. Her “less frequent” meltdown was fast approaching…. I have no idea what set her off, and it lasted about 10 minutes with her kicking, screaming and crying on the ground, before I finally said… “OK let’s go back to the hotel”. She was happy as a clam to be heading back to room 62, her comfy bed, and Bubble Guppies on the iPad.  Brodie and Mike finished their nightly castle walk without the two of us, but then stopped by to pick us up for a “night-cap” at the hotel bar.  Apple juice for the kiddies and fermented grape juice for the parents!

We woke up to cloudy skies and a weather report calling for rain…. noooooooo! I wanted hot Carcassonne sunshine and blue skies!  We decided given the weather that we would enter the castle and walk the ramparts around the walled city.  The line up was a bit crazy, with about 30 minutes in line waiting just to buy entrance tickets and I found myself thankful that it wasn’t 32 degrees and sunny!  We all throughly enjoyed touring around the old castle, and walking the defensive wall that surrounded the castle.  The views of the countryside and city were amazing. Although it still wasn’t super hot and sunny….  we ended our day in the pool.

Our last morning in Carcassonne was BEAUTIFUL! Blue skies, sunshine….. the perfect morning for a quick breakfast, a quick pack of the hotel room and car, and then a lazy morning spent splashing in the pool and basking in sunshine.  We slathered on the sunscreen and ended up splashing, jumping, diving, swimming, shark hunting, dragon hunting, princess rescuing….. in the pool for HOURS!  We were all quite sad to leave but with a three-hour drive to Barcelona ahead of us, and lunch to eat, it was time to call it a day around 1:00.  We said goodbye to the resident pups, and cats, jammed our selves into the “european full size” car, and we were off.

Good-bye Carcassonne, room 62 and my olive tree…… till next time!

PS. Just so you all know….

I  didn’t understand the crazy amounts of time a blog would take, and the frustration I would have with the Wi-Fi in our various accommodations on our trip, so this isn’t really a LIVE account of our trip.  We have been back in Vancouver BC now, just about 4 weeks, and I am still blogging about our trip from July……  maybe it’s now called a “Journal”.  Either way, I’m still having fun recounting our trip from notes I took on my iPhone and going through the photos I took…… I hope you are all still enjoying it!

PPS If you are reading this and you happen to live in Carcassonne….. we left an iPhone 3GS (iPod really….) at the “green” restaurant  (we think).  If you could help me track it down and ship it back to Canada I would be forever grateful…. as would a little 3 year old princess! If you track it down you can comment via the blog and we can get in touch!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Hello Carcassonne Castle

“Real Chocolat” store   Mmmmmmmm…….

So, so happy!

Sword fighting in the castle

The Family

Hangin’ in a castle

The nightly walk

yup…. it’s pretty deep!

The Castle and Ramparts

Siblings

Me and my kiddies

we’re off to see the wizard….. Oops…..wrong era!

Walking the Ramparts

The inner City and Castle

Oh my…. we are all of a sudden not happy!

The start of the nightly walk

Syd is not having ANY part of this walk

My little man

Good Morning Carcassonne!

Fun with giant X’s and O’s

Hello AWESOME rain shower!

Bye bye comfy bed

Bye Bye resident pups 1&2

Bye bye, Syd’s favorite kitty

THE POOL!

My Olive Tree

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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!)

I’m Not High Maintenance

Orleans ~ Carcassonne

Orleans was a quick over night for us.  We picked it because it was a short drive from Disneyland, knowing that we would be spending the full day there and not leaving till around 6:00pm.

It was a nice evening for a drive, and we ended up having dinner en route to our next stop. The French countryside is so beautiful. Farmers fields, sprinkled with “wind farms”.  Both Brodie and I LOVE seeing this feature in Europe. It is amazing to see the innovation and thoughtfulness of putting “green energy” to use!

Our little hotel in Orleans was great. We had adjoining rooms, with a flat screen HDMI enabled TV`s, and free WI FI. Interesting how a small little hotel can accomplish this, when a huge hotel in Disney can not!

Our hotel, which is part of the Accueil Velo accommodation guide (a small group of hotels that are along the cycling roads of the Val de Loire – another trip to be planned when the kiddies are a bit older), had a great grassy area in back of the hotel, with a “merman” fountain, and running path that over looked the Loire River….. so peaceful and so beautiful!  The kids, Mike and I had running races around the “merman” fountain, before heading in to get organized for the next days “monster drive” to Carcassonne.

I found a great 60`s french movie on TV, and got organized for the next days drive, all while the kiddies plugged in the HDMI in the iPad and watched their shows on TV.  We all had a great nights sleep at our little hotel in Orleans.

During breakfast we met a really nice couple from Chicago. They were doing almost the  same trip as us but in reverse, so it was fun to chat with them about their adventure.  One thing the woman said to me when she found out we were heading to Lourdes and stuck with me was “Lourdes……… it’s a funny little town”  Hmmmmmm…. now my interest was piqued!

The kids and I had more fountain races as Mike packed up our little car, and as great as the hotel was, we were off on our monster drive to Carcassonne.

The drive day was perfect…… overcast and cool.

It was about a 7 hour drive on the toll roads of France.  We thought it would be an expensive day driving but it actually didn’t turn out too bad. I think it was around 20.00 euro for the entire day. One thing I LOVE about driving in Europe is the rest stops every 30KM or so. Some are just washrooms and picnic tables, with some structure built for the kids to climb on, but the BIG rest areas have gas, food, coffee, showers ect ect…… EVERYTHING you need to make your drive better, is there!  I LOVE IT!

The landscape changed drastically as we headed south.  We left lush green trees, rolling hills, and green fields, for a very dry and arid landscape, that was dotted with gorgeous sunflower fields and acres of grape vines.

You can see Carcassonne coming as you drive along the highway.  A big beautiful castle that appears just off to the left hand side of the road. It’s just crazy to think about how long this castle has stood in that spot, keeping people totally awe-struck as they came upon it,(or came to overtake it… depending what century you were in) Regardless…. it is breathtaking!

Both kiddies were tired from long days in Disney, and both Mike and I thought they would crash for a good portion of the drive.  Syd was right on cue and had a great nap while we drove. Brodie on the other hand fought sleep since he had a special treat on Mikes iPad…. season 1 of The Spectacular Spiderman.  He watched every single episode of season 1!

Darth directed us to the hotel in Carcassonne without a problem….. and oh my WHAT a hotel!  We were in the shadow of the castle, and with what turned out to be THE most AMAZING pool.  Our “Red” room was seriously to die for. The design of each  room is  different and oh so über amazing! If you are EVER thinking of heading to Carcassonne this is THE place to stay…. do it without question… you will be SOOOOOO happy you did!  http://www.lemontmorency.com/#/en/accueil/

When we were escorted to our room, and given the keys…. I turned to Mike and said  ” I absolutely LOVE it…. but you know I’m not high maintenance”  His reply…. “I know that” he said……….” I am”  Gotta love a high maintenance kinda guy, who loves modern design and luxury!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

running races around the “merman”

our “merman”

Syd was in running “heaven”

as was Brodie

Loire River

 

running path behind the hotel

Our Hotel….. the grassy back

Check in at the hotel…….  Carcassonne France

Hotel Montmorency –  Room 62

Bathroom – Syd couldn’t get enough of the tub

Kids room

Bathroom looking from kids room

The castle at our doorstep – literally!

Fun at the castle….. too bad Syd was in a mood

Loving being in a real live CASTLE!

Disneyland Paris… Yes we were CRAZY

July 7th saw Mike start his holidays and pick up the new rental car – European full-sized. We packed up the apartment, handed over the keys (nooooooo), packed the car full to the brim, and programmed the tomtom for DISNEYLAND! Yes we were going to Disneyland Paris for 2 nights/3 days and the kiddies were going to lose their minds – or maybe we were the ones loosing our minds!

We made our way to the hotel, checked in, unpacked the car, and within 15 minutes, without even leaving the hotel Syd had a new best friend (Tinkerbell aka Tink) to carry around….. you know what….. it was going to be a long 3 days of saying NO…….. constantly!

The weather was mixed. We drove through the Paris rain, but the clouds parted and the sun came beaming through just as we entered Disney Village for lunch.  Our lunch spot was one I never thought I would EVER take my kids too….. The Rainforest Cafe!

Now, the trip really hasn’t been the culinary journey I hoped it would be for the kiddies – although they had never been to Rainforest Cafe before……. and absolutely LOVED it.  I mean really how could they not.  With animated elephants, gorillas and butterflies, all topped off with an indoor thunderstorm – seriously if you are 5 and 3, and they serve a monster portion of french fries…… this is THE BEST RESTAURANT…….. EVER!

After lunch we made our way to the park entrance, where Brodie and Sydney went on a hunt to see who could find Tinkerbell (our new best friend) first. It was a tie – as usual. The park was jammed full of people, with lineups in every direction, for absolutely everything.

With many ooohhhhss, and awwweess, we made our way to Sleeping Beauties Castle.   The kiddies were super excited to be inside the castle, although Sydney was concerned that she couldn’t find Mickey or Minnie – “because that’s where they live”.  After our inspection of the castle was complete, we made our way into the rest of the park.  With line ups of 90 minutes or more, for almost all the rides, we decided to do the Alice in Wonderland maze since the lineup was moving fast.  The kiddies loved the jumping water, the playing card guards and the spinning eyes on the hill.  Once we finished up the maze adventure, we decided to go to the room and get ourselves organized for the night and the parade that would be taking place that evening.

Passing by Sleeping Beauties castle we noticed that we missed checking out the dragons home. We ventured in for a look, and I was surprised by Brodies reaction….. he was genuinely scared of the dragon!  I find this a bit funny since the boy has been watching Starwars for the past couple of years and NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING……. about ANYTHING……… seems to scare him. Well this dragon did…… he didn’t know if it was real or not!

Disneyland Paris is celebrating it`s 20th anniversary…… AND so was our hotel room. The room was clean but definitely in need of some modern updates.  A TV (from this millennium) with a HDMI hookup would have been nice, as well as Wi-Fi for my computer and iPhone (……seriously – no WiFi??).

We made our way to the Mickey Cafe to have dinner (another restaurant on the amazing culinary tour for us).  It really was awesome for the kiddies since all the characters walk around and visit your table while you eat dinner. They will sign your autograph book ( that is IF you remember to bring it), and sit for pictures. Syd was pretty shy around the characters and wouldn`t even touch or look at them, but Brodie was “all in” on this one!

We made our way into the park for the nightly light/water show. It was quite a wait, but it was pretty awesome.  The kids loved the lit up floats with all the characters, and the water and projection show on Sleeping Beauties Castle was spectacular.  The only problem was the duration!  We waited till almost dark for the floats and then we waited another 30 minutes after the parade for the projection show.  I didn’t time the whole production, but, when you have little ones with you, it really started to feel LONG!  We couldn’t have left even if we wanted to, because we were packed tight like sardines, with a ton of other people and their little kids.  The show was totally amazing, and the rain held off ….. quite literally till the show ended. We walked back to the hotel in the pouring rain and arrived at 12:15 AM. It was a long day!

We slept late, and had breakfast at the hotel – more characters showed up for photo opportunities, so not all was lost by sleeping late.  Mike and I decided to divide and conquer with the kiddies heading into the park since their interests were different.  Mike and Brodie would head over to Space Mountain/Buzz Lightyear/Star tours, and Syd and I would head over to the Dumbo the Elephant ride/Castle/Tea cups. We would meet up just outside the Peter Pan ride for lunch and go from there.

Syd and I got to the Flying Elephant ride to about an hour wait in line. A few of the thoughts running through my mind were “seriously”, “wish I had packed something for Syd to eat”, “wish I had packed some water”, ” I wonder how long the ride actually is?”. Well I decided to time the ride…. 1 min 20 sec……. exactly! This was NOT a good return on our investment in line! Well after about 20 minutes Syd saw the popcorn stand below the ride. This was enough for her to make the conscious decision to leave the lineup for popcorn, knowing we would NOT be coming back and lining up for the Dumbo Ride.

The 9.00 euro popcorn was also a DUD. Not only did I pay 9.00 euro for popcorn (seriously…… its popcorn Disney, not Mickey shaped popcorn sprinkled with gold dust), but all the popcorn in Disneyland Paris is “sweet popcorn”. BARF. Well Syd took one bite and also decided it wasn’t for her. Now what to do with popcorn I just spent about $13.00 Canadian dollars on?!?  I took it back to the same stand. The woman there spoke really great english till she realized I wanted my money back…. she even at one point totally ignored me. It really wasn’t that long time before I got my 9.00 euro back (I think she realized I wasn’t going to leave till I got my cash back)  and she got her sweet popcorn back!

We hooked up with Mike and Brodie after their adventure – Mike waited in what seemed like the “slowest lineup ever” for food (if McDonalds can do it in a blink of an eye…… Disney …. so can you!). At this point I decided I needed a coffee and the kiddies needed a nap. We headed back to Disney Village, grabbed a coffee while both kiddies napped in the stroller.  We called it an early night after another FANTASTIC meal at the Rainforest Cafe!

Our last day in Disneyland, and we slept late again.  On our way to breakfast we had pictures with Pluto, and then Mickey and Minnie both showed up.  Syd decided she now was in love with Minnie and just couldn’t get enough of her.  Sydney herself, must have had 5 separate photos of her and the mice. In the last photo she was being kissed by both Mickey and Minnie and she was sooooooo happy!

We spent most of the day in the Space Mountain/Star Tours area. We had some FAST PASS tickets for rides  which meant we really didn’t have time to leave the area. We had lunch and then all hopped on the Buzz Lightyear ride for some “ray gun” fun!

We decided to call it a day in the Disney Park since Mike had a conference call and Syd needed a big nap in the stroller. I headed to Walt Disney Studios for the rest of the afternoon with the kiddies – one sleeping and one awake!  Brodie and I didn’t really go on any rides but hung out looking at all the Pixar displays and rides.  Brodie and I went for a “coffee“ and watched Le Tour de France on the big screen all while the little Miss slept.

By the time we hooked back up with Mike, he had our little “European full sized“ car packed and ready for the short drive to Orleans, where we would spend the night before we headed out on our monster drive to Carcassonne!

I dont really think we had a true “DISNEY“ experience in Paris. I told Mike that we needed to head to California at some point with the kiddies. He reply……“ the kiddes had fun, know no different and that one Disney Experience is enough“ . Mr. Logical!

Look out Disney Aneheim….. we will be coming your way with the kiddies….. someday!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Hello Disney!

NO NO NO…. for the bazillionth time you CAN NOT have cotton candy!

…. but you can have a lollipop the size of your head!  😉

“`thanks for buying me my lollipop after I cried in the store Daddy“ because I DESERVE this for throwing a 45 minute tantrum in the middle of Disney…. the calories that you burn throwing yourself on the ground and screaming NEED to be replaced with PINK SWIRLY sugar!

Can you guess which balloon Syd was interested in

Hello Minnie…. I LOVE you

Can you guess who let Minnie fly free…..

Pluto……the hair messing, tickling dog!

Finally…..

One for Brodie

One for Sydney

Hello MIKE!