Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16, 2009: Ketchup Tiger by his Toes

March 16, 2009:  As many of you Facebookers may know, our family had a great adventurous weekend.  We visited Mont-St-Michel and Granville.  We left after dinner on Friday evening and drove straight to Pontorson, France to our hotel.  Pontorson is only about 5 km from Mont-St-Michel. It is hard to know exactly what is good and what is not while you search at the last minute on the internet for hotel rooms at tourist attractions.  But I can honestly say, we picked a winner of a hotel - the Best Western Hotel Montgomery.  It was an old mansion-turned-hotel that was completely accepting of children and fancy enough that it kicked our children into better-than-expected behavior.  We had two rooms next to each other and that worked out well.  The bedding and furniture was very "authentic" and it intrigued the girls.    After a very nice, quiet night of rest, we all got up and drove to Mont-St-Michel.  It was beautiful.  This won't be surprising to most of you, as many visitors say this is the sight of a lifetime.  When we arrived around 9:30 am, the tide was still high and our shoes got wet from parking just short of the shoreline.  But this didn't deter us and 200 other visitors that had already arrived at this monumental wonder.  From the skinny streets, to the mossy arches, the doorways, the architecture, the views, everything was just wonderful.  All of us were fascinated.  After a few hours of touring museums and climbing stairs, we stopped for some hot chocolates for the girls and some local ciders for Andrew and I.  The weather was just perfect for March, but it was still pretty windy and a bit chilly so we needed to warm up!   After our thaw-out, we got some lunch at a huge but tasty restaurant.  By the end of lunch, the girls were approaching obnoxious so we decided to head home for naps and rest for a little while.

While Andrew, Grace and Mia took naps, Ella and I read up on where to visit the next day and decided it would be Granville.  The primary reasons were the Pointillist paintings at a local museum, the magnificent views, and Christian Dior's house and gardens.  We then went on a very small stroll of the very small town of Pontorson - cute, but small.  Andrew and the twins met up with us after nap time and we all went to Alligator Bay.  We had seen signs on the way to Mont-St-Michel and with time available, we (well, all of us except Ella) were curious to see what this was all about.  In a nut shell, it was about alligators. TONS of alligators.  Piled high, to the sky.  I don't know why!  Why were they here, in a really hot, humid building with fake lakes and a stinky aroma?  It was weird and actually I felt sorry for the gators.  Hopefully, they are happy and content in their "Alligator Bay."  Next we visited the turtles who were numerous in quantity and large in their scale.  Petable creatures it turns out!  Yuck.  Lastly, we visited the lizard and snake house.  Most of it was cool, but the best part were the tunnels and ladders that the girls climbed in and out of for an hour.  At 5pm it was time to feed the snakes and lizards and we saw them throw live mice to some of the caged inhabitants and that made me sad, too.  But I digress....

After departing Alligator Ally, we found some dinner and then headed home to our hotel rooms for some chilling out and sleep.  

Sunday morning we got up and drove about 35 minutes to Granville.  The drive would have been uneventful, except for a 90 year old man that Andrew and I saw fall onto his face on the sidewalk in a very small village and no one else was around.  We promptly pulled over our CTA bus and assisted this frail man.  He was foggy and speaking in French, so Andrew and I knew there was little we could do to help except hold his hands, help him up and comfort him with some really bad French spoken in improper tenses.  We finally decided to hail a car down for assistance and that was the best idea ever.   A really nice guy ended up taking him in his car and (hopefully) taking him to the hospital or his home.  By the time we got back to the car, Grace had peed her pants, soaked her car seat, and was balling her eyes out, so let the adventures begin!  We arrived at the Christian Dior Museum and it was closed but the gardens were open.  They were beautiful and fragrant, both because of the flowers and the podiums set up throughout of each of Christian Dior's signature perfumes.  We departed the museum and found a hiking path around the perimeter of Granville's coast and admired the blue skies, green grasses, the sailboats and the warmth of the sun.  It turned out the Pointillist exhibit didn't open until 2pm, so Ella and I were bummed, but we decided to make this a trip for another time.  A perfect day, for sure.  Lastly, we stopped and ate some ad-hoc picnics on some benches before we started our drive back to Caen.  On the way home, the girls were singing some random songs and it always makes Andrew andi laugh when we hear them sing a song and the lyrics are so wrong - but totally understandable.  For instance, they were singing Eenny, Meeny, Miney Moe..Ketchup Tiger By His Toe.  We tried to correct them, but it was no use.  They love ketchup sooo much...

I can only hope our adventures turn out this well every time.  Sure, we had our spells of whining, crying and misconduct but all in all we had a blast!  Shortly after our return to Caen, Andrew left for Paris via train.  He had an early morning flight to Krakow, Poland for a customer meeting and an office visit.  The girls and I spent the rest of the night relaxing, getting ready for the coming week of school.  I was to pick Grace up from school after lunch the next day due to her wetting her cot twice in a row the week prior.  So this coming week was my week to train Grace on peeing before and after nap time.  I think she will be fine and I wonder if she does some of this stuff on purpose - to be able to spend time at home, with mommy. Probably a little of both.

1 comment:

  1. Know that you all had a super trip - I am going to try to Skype call tomorrow 3/17 at 5-6pm your time - hope it works - cleaning people here today - home looks super - check out the multiple listing for north suburbs to see our listing - hope something happens, but not hopeful - Also, check out iMesh I sent you - 15,000 free music downloads in cluding Karma by Boy George - have to teach the girls that song - my favorite - even if it is a druggie song - they won't know!!!