Day 5: Clear skies and chilly on this Saturday in Caen. Slowly the kids emerge from sleep, still miserable but without vomiting. Ella has been a trooper and without sickness (please, knock on wood) but wisely avoiding Grace. Grace's vomiting scared Mia and Mia's moodiness scared Grace so they all three girls pretty much wanted only DADDY (who was at work) and wanted nothing to do with me or each other. All that Grace and Mia wanted to do was absolutely nothing - no food, not activity, no playing. I let them watch Cars and High School Musical on the computer, for which Ella was all to happy to agree.
After lunch, Andrew and I decided it was time to leave our nest. Up until now, I felt like all I knew how to do when I left the apartment was walk to Monoprix - the Wal Mart of Caen - to get grocery staples. The chance to get out and explore was what I had been looking forward to so was all for this nest departure. Grace and Mia were unagreeable but we forced them to get dressed, etc.. Fresh air is good for anyone, right? All of us walked to the local park, which just happens to be smack dab in the middle of the Chateau de Caen (Caen Castle). We bundled up and walked (well, we dragged Grace and Mia) to the Chateau. I can't describe how amazing this Chateau is - the accessibility, the proximity to our apartment, the historical significance, just amazing. As you approach this castle's monster walls and wind up the walkways and then walk through an ancient archway, you see this kid's park. And then to your left you see an old church, an abbeye, crumbling walls from 1400. To your right you see really high wood pillars that have mythological statues that tower above the castle walls. There is an empty moat surrounding the castel, which has lovely homes perched on the opposite side's bank. Just amazing! Ella and I did some discovery, as Andrew had to walk home with Grace and Mia who were miserable, cold and crying basically the whole walk there. Ella had played on the park equipment while Grace and Mia remained curled up in balls on a bench with Andrew.
After playing at the castle, Ella and I were not eager to go home so we continued to walk the streets of Caen. Again, I was amazed at what I was discovering. Like a kid in a candy store, I discovered TONS of awesome shops, both local and chains. We bought some over-priced pots and pans from a delightful kitchen store, checked out a local Poisonnerie (a store that sells fresh fish), stopped in and got 2 monster croissants and then sat on a bench to enjoy our snack. This day was turning out to be really nice. Having been separated from the sickness and the confines of the apartment, I was feeling positive, hopeful of our adventures here in Caen. Every corner you turn has a new surprise - more cobble-stoned walkways with a great new shop, an awesome butcher with great meats, a man selling crawfish from a big red box, freshly caught that day. This outing with Ella was just what I needed and I think she enjoyed herself, also.
Later that evening, after dinner and baths, things felt slightly more normal at the apartment.
Day 5 was a turning point where I went from feeling confined to this new, strange apartment with a smelly bathroom to one that seemed limitless with possibilities. Paint the walls - that'll get rid of the smell! Buy heavy drapes for the bedroom windows - that'll get rid of the outside noise at night. And get some fresh air - that can give you a whole new look on things.