Monday, June 8, 2015

Family Vacation - part 1

I think I was 16 the last time I went on a family vacation. Sure, I go visit my family because we all live in different states, but I stay at their home and enter into their daily lives. I'm talking about a "real" family vacation with parents and siblings, where you're all  traveling somewhere together and staying together for more than a day.

Being the youngest of five kids, my siblings all moved out by the time I finished high school, and thus family vacations no longer happened. And now that  we are all scattered around the country (or at the moment the world) and there are more than 20 of us with nieces, nephews and significant others, we just don't do family vacations.

However, I recently had the pleasure of having some of my family come visit me here in France and then we went on a real family vacation! We rented a car and drove out to Normandy for a few days and then spent a couple of days in Paris.

We had a grand adventure together - my dad, my oldest brother and his significant other. In France, WiFi is not nearly as prevalent as it is in the US, so we were navigating without GPS or a good map; nevertheless, Linda did an awesome job of getting us where we wanted to go. Warren was our chauffeur for the trip and had nerves of steal while circling the roundabouts and navigating Paris traffic. I was the translator for the trip and Dad was just along for the ride!

First stop, Saint Malo, which was purely an accident. As we were trying to find our way to Cancale for fresh oysters we stumbled upon this stunning medieval city. My pictures don't really capture the impressive magnitude of this walled city - it was so compact and dense that it was difficult to get the necessary perspective.

After a few hours of exploring, we were back on the road headed to Cancale, and once we arrived we walked the length of the city until we eventually found THE oyster stand that the guide book recommended. Unfortunately, we found them just as the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down, but that didn't stop us from huddling under an awning and slurping up our fresh oysters! We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a little restaurant on the seashore and then we were back on the road to find a place to stay for the night.
The village of Cancale
Fresh oysters!

The oyster stand
The pier at Cancale
You see, we are all adventurous and free-spirited, and so we had chosen not to make hotel reservations so that we could be free to roam about and explore, and then to land wherever the wind blew us. That night, it was getting late and we were still driving around in the vast countryside looking for a place to stay. I think we were all beginning to regret our decision to not have a reservation when we happened upon a tiny village with a fabulous little hotel. The price was reasonable, the rooms were clean, the people were kind, and breakfast was superb!
The view from my room
Our first day of family vacation ended well and after a good night's sleep we were ready for our next adventure. 

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