The Day Started in Spain

It was time to say good-bye to San Sebastian, our beautiful sandy beach and warm water.  We were in our last week of our extended holiday, and making our way towards Paris for our flight out later that week.  Our second to last stop before Paris was a small coastal town … La Rochelle.

After packing up our room and fitting everything into the car, we spent the morning at the Barceló Coast (ice-cold) pool, swimming, and soaking up the sunshine before having lunch and making our way north towards La Rochelle.

Funny thing about San Sebastian is that it is literally 20 minutes from the border into France.  Had we not had to pay a toll, I just may have totally missed even entering France….. it was that quick!

Our drive took us north on the A63 through one of the most famous wine regions in THE ENTIRE WORLD …. BORDEAUX.  I seriously had to laugh.  Here we were…… 4 of us in a car driving past some of THE most fabulous vineyards and wine in the world, without even the slightest desire to stop! HA…… Mike and I were on a mission (and with 2 kids 5 and under… I guess it was reason enough NOT to stop) get to La Rochelle….. QUICKLY!  Sigh…… the vineyards and wine of Bordeaux will have to wait for another trip!

It was about a 5 hour drive to La Rochelle from San Sebastian, and driving on the toll roads…. well……. it’s never a cheap day on the toll roads of Europe! We arrived late afternoon and were directed precisely to our hotel by Darth Vader and our trusty Tom Tom app on MIkes phone.  The hotel was super cute and was everything you would expect in Europe….. an old non-descript stone building, that once you entered, blew you away with all its loveliness!  There was nowhere to park on the tiny road that lead us to our fabulous hotel so we were parked half on the sidewalk. Had we been on our first week of the trip we would have totally stressed over the situation of “where to park”…. but after 6 weeks we were starting to  feel like locals and pulled “kinda off the road and half on to the sidewalk”…. It just seemed like the normal thing to do.

What a fabulous room we had. Mike had been booking a lot of our accommodations off of Trip Advisor, and this one, like all the rest, (the exception being Lourdes) did not disappoint. We looked into the courtyard and had a tiny view of the old town.  After the long drive we decided to get cleaned up and head out to investigate the town and find a yummy place for dinner.

La Rochelle is a pretty little town.  Tons of restaurants and shops in the old town with beautiful cobblestone roads and walkways.  Leaving the “gates” of old town, there was a great little night market, with tons of artisans showing their goods. We did a little walk about while looking for a place to eat with the kiddies.  There were so many amazing options. Walking along the street surrounded by all these amazing restaurants it was hard knowing after we looked at the menus that there was really nothing that the kiddies would eat…. Uuuugghhhh….. so frustrating knowing that we were missing out on some AMAZING food.  We had almost lost hope on where to eat when Brodie spotted a sushi restaurant.

If you know the Bain Family…. you know that we are addicted to sushi… kids included! Seriously… we go for Sushi every Friday (or Saturday) since the kiddies were born.  Sushi was not really something we had come across during our adventure, so with Brodie begging to go there for dinner, we went and got ourselves a table.

The restaurant (I think it was called Koi) was a funny one.  From the moment we arrived not one person looked happy or smiled.  Mike and I assumed it was because we had 2 kids with us, but as time passed on it was clear that the waitresses just were not happy people…… they were treating every table the same…. no smiles and just plain crabby!  I don’t really remember the sushi and if it was good or not, but I do remember being quite happy that the kids weren’t eating pizza or pasta! Since this trip I have noted that the kiddies will do well eating in Italy or Japan!

After our sushi experience we decided to do a walk about and look at the towns military towers that were so pretty all lit up.  Afterwards we headed over to investigate the night market that was happening just outside of old town.  As we were walking through the tree covered night market we heard a crazy squeaking sound.  It turns out that the trees covering the market were filled with bats just “hanging out”, and Brodie thought this was über cool.  After our bat experience we decided to hit an ice cream shop for a “before bedtime treat” and made our way back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

It had been a long day of driving and the kiddies were holding up rather well given that the day started in Spain!

So much to do….. so much to see!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Loved this hotel!

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Why must little Miss  always sleep perpendicular to me….. that girl does laps in her sleep!

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hanging poolside… topless of course!

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This pool was ICE COLD!

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Hello France (and toll booth)… we are coming!

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Bordeaux

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Bordeaux

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HAY… in Bordeaux

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Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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More Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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Shocking… another toll booth!

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Our Hotel…. SO AWESOME!

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Would totally stay here again… so great!

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NOT Super happy… its been a long day!

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La Rochelle…. Old Town

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Koi…. Interesting little Sushi Restaurant!

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Wanted to take home Kois’ Bar statue… she was so cool!

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Restaurant row at dusk… Old Town

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La Rochelle Tower

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Clowning around just outside “Old Town”

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After a long day…. chilling together!  *Love*

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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!