Day 62 Ciao Italy! Bonjour France!

IMG_2069It was a little tough leaving the Cinque Terre today!  The spot we were in was like a cozy little hide-a-way in the hillside!  We were starting to settle in to our little apartment with the big view…but alas all good things must come to an end…and we had a new adventure waiting!  Our drive today was about 6 hours, and getting out of the Cinque Terre was quite a feat!  The well maintained roads…wink wink…were just as fantastic on the way out!  When we have big transitions like this, I always think of a quote from Jillian Michaels (yes the workout queen) “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!’…of course she means it in as a trainer…but it really has worked for me as a traveller!

We were headed into the unknown…but you can survive anything for 10 days right??  The excitement was building for Reid…he was going to meet his new buddy!  The drive to the farm was really neat!  We went up the coast and came into France near Monaco and Nice.  We never actually got to see any of the towns nearby, not really having any time to ourselves during this brief stay.  We were meeting Tom and his parents, Laure and Christian at the closest town to wear they lived, Puget-Theniers.  The town was really small, but super quaint!  Just like you would expect for a small town in the French countryside.  The town set in a valley with tall mountains around it.  A small river ran through the town giving it even more points on the quaint scale!

We were a bit early to meet the family, so we settled in at a nearby bar for a drink.  As we sat there, I looked up as the door to the bar opened, and who should be walking in?  But Tom and his family, our WOOFing hosts for the next 10 days.  Meeting new people is always a bit uncomfortable at first…Christian and Laure were very kind and nice.  I noticed right away that Christian was more outgoing and Laure seemed a little more reserved.  He told us that Tom was going to a rock climbing class and asked Reid if he wanted to come along.  Reid was so excited, he loves to climb!  Laure actually hosts workshops at a guesthouse she has at another property.  She was getting ready to host a seminar about love for the next 3 days…she asked me if I would be interested in attending, and I told her that I would.  There were a few things that I did not realize at the time…1. the seminar would be entirely in French…2. it was a workshop about love and relationships…3. how expensive it was (although Laure did give me a discount)…4. that I would actually have to touch people I did not know (I am not so big on that)…5. how very kind and nice a group of foreign strangers could be to me.

Laure headed home to get ready for her seminar, and we headed to the climbing gym,  Reid and Tom were talking and laughing, just having a great time!  I was so excited to see how well they got along!  After the boys were done climbing, it was time to head to the farm.  Now where we were going wasn’t really a “farm” but more a large property in the country, with gardens, and out buildings. The property was called “Valley Magique”  ( I think I spelled it right) and it really was just amazing!  Laure and Christian had spent about 6 years fixing up a run down farm house that was from the 1400’s.  It was a beautiful stone house, and they had really done a fantastic job fixing it up!

When we got to the house, we were shown to our room.  Reid would be sleeping in Tom’s room, and Russ and I had a room that had been created using curtains for walls up in the loft next to Tom’s room.  One thing that has been consistent in France I have noticed is that the toilet is separated from the rest of the bathroom.  In this case, the sink and shower were upstairs next to our “room”, but the toilet was downstairs.  I immediately had a bit of a panic…because thanks to having a kid and an aging bladder, I get up at least once a night to go to the bathroom…if not more…and now I would be travelling down the stairs, in an unknown house, in the dark, in the middle of the night.  YIKES!  Let me mention here that the house was heated well and very comfortable, however the “toilet room” was not heated…which made for some icy seating in the middle of the night!!

We got our things put away and then it was time for dinner.  Of course one thing you do not want to do when someone is hosting you, is to not eat the dinner they have made for you…and guess what we were having?? Mussels!  Oh boy…me not a seafood lover was going to have to muster up all the courage I had to eat this dinner!  The irony is, that I actually ended up liking the mussels.  I was just praying that Reid was not going to blurt out…”But mom you hate seafood!”  All was well, and it was time for us to hit the sack after a long day on the road!  I was heading to Laure’s seminar and the boy’s were heading off on an adventure too!

As we headed upstairs to bed, I was just saying a little prayer that included…me not peeing my pants or me not falling down the stairs on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night…and let’s just say that both things almost came to fruition!

Rock Climbing

Reid rock climbing in France