For the past 2.5 months, we have been busy. As in 29 cities in 96 days busy. As is walking 3 miles on our lazy days and 8-10 miles on our active days busy. As in putting 2300 kilometers on the car in one week busy.
It’s time to slow down.
Last Thursday, we drove 6 hours to get to our rented apartment in La-Charité-sur-Loire, a quiet village of 5,500 people in the Loire Valley region of Burgundy. We arrived on our 15th anniversary, so it was nice to settle in that evening. And, thanks to some scheming on my part, we had a chocolate cake waiting for us upon our arrival.
We arrived to find something we have been lacking…space! We have 3 levels — ground floor has the kitchen and terrace, main floor has the living room, our bedroom and a bathroom, and the top floor has the kids’ room, bathroom, and their own outdoor walkway which has a small table and chairs. We have space to spread out, space to cook, and space to breathe. And did I mention we have a washing machine?! No more counting days to make sure we don’t run out of underwear!
To see pictures of where we are staying, click here.
So we slowed down. Way, way down. We got here on Thursday afternoon and all we really did was go next door to the cheese shop to get cheese, milk, eggs, and yogurt (who knew you could get all that at a cheese shop?!)
And then we slept. And we have pretty much slept ever since. Hubs and I have not been out of bed before 8:30 am any day, and on some days the kids have slept until 8:45 as well. We have lazy mornings where we don’t eat breakfast until 9:30 am. Mornings spent writing journals, doing schoolwork, and finally responding to emails. Mornings when it just feels good to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
It’s been a week since we arrived. We’re getting used to this. We know how to go to the post office and get the stamps we need. We know what we can get at the Saturday market which is a 1-minute walk from our place and what we need to get instead at the grocery store. We know where the local pizza restaurant is and have learned that it is closed on Sundays and Wednesdays (so much for a dinner treat last night!) And, we know that the chocolate shop, the best in the region, sells ice cream in the courtyard on warm days. Did I also mention we found the wine shop? We spent a good 30 minutes chatting with the owner, getting recommendations on local wines, and even tasting one that he wouldn’t sell us until we (and he) had tasted it as he didn’t think it was ready to be purchased. He was right.
The kids know their way around as well. They know that La Presse a few doors down from us sells Minion trading cards. And that the big grocery store sells Lego mini-figures. Better yet, they know how to order morning goodies at the local boulangerie. Give them some money and send them off, and fresh croissants and pain au chocolat arrive at the table. Only be sure to be explicit in what you ask them to buy. If, like Hubs, you send them off with instructions such as, “Here’s 10 Euros. Buy 4 croissants and then whatever you want,” you may end up with this:
The town itself is charming and just what we had hoped to find. The local shops are all within walking distance. Just this morning, thanks to our hosts, Hubs and JJ found where to get freshly ground coffee for the French press. And, just as we had hoped, there is a lot to do nearby.
Some of our favorite finds in town so far include:
On our own exploration of the town, we walked the rampart walls. Turns out you actually can’t do this due to safety reasons, but there were no signs on the route we took, so we didn’t know that until the end of the walk. It was worth it!
We have also begun to explore nearby towns the past few days. We continue our lazy mornings and then head out in the afternoon for several hours. The towns have been charming, and we love spending time seeing new sights. But, we also love coming home. After all, who can’t relax when your evening stroll includes this?
It’s always a bit of a gamble when you book a place online. I’m thinking this time we hit the jackpot.