Yesterday we had a fun adventure. We checked out what these "Velorails" were all about that are scattered throughout Normandy. So let me explain to you what they are and where you find them. Velorails are basically 4 or 5 seater bikes that sit on top of out-of-commission railroads. Apparently, these go on for miles throughout our area. We choose to start our adventure in a town called Saint-Pierre-du-Regard. It is a town about 1 hour away from Caen. We could have chosen closer locations, but I liked this particular one because you could begin and end your trip at any time - which is essential with three small children. Also, you could fit all 5 of us on their velorails wheras other locations only allowed 4 people. So, off we went!
We arrived around 1:30 p.m. and had a picnic so we could store up some energy for our anticipated 2 hour bike ride on the tracks. Around 2:00 p.m. it was time to literally put the pedals to the metal! I believe the cost of this adventure was only around 20 Euros. As you can see above, there are two bikes in the front of each car and then a little couch in the back. Now, if you had calm, reasonable children, they would all sit there nice and quiet while enjoying the lovely scenery. But you know that is not the case for us, so basically the girls were up and down and standing and jumping and you name what else for the whole ride. So thank goodness for the netting in the front of the car.
Andrew and I powered the pedals - the seats are too high for children probably below the age of 8. There is a real simple break system to use when approaching stop signs (cars and bikes have the right of way when crossing public streets) and also when approaching veloriders coming from the opposite direction. Veloriders go out and come back on the same set of tracks, so when you approach someone coming form the other direction, you basically need to remove one car from the tracks to let the other riders move along.
The whole trip took about 1.5 hours and we probably went about 15 km. We saw a few interesting things along the way but to be perfectly honest, not very much. I think between one whiny child and one sleepy child, which together created crazy children, we also didn't have a very relaxing ride. If we had been with two other adults or even three children that were Ella's age (she was amused and happy the whole time) it might have been better. But for sure we had fun and will most likely try this again in another location. What a great use of defunct railroad tracks!
(pictured above: rusty car, drying laundry along tracks)
(pictured above: billy goat on tracks - he was on a chain, eating grass! Now that is green)
(pictured above: the track)
Later last evening we were lucky to have a babysitter. Who regretfully is moving to New Zealand for a year at the end of September...but I digress. We met a work friend of Andrew's out for drinks and then the three of us had dinner at a place called La Poterne. The restaurant is located in a building from the 17th century and is located on the oldest street in Caen. Great drinks, great atmosphere, great company!
Today was very low key. We had some boxes arrive on Friday that we shipped from Colorado. They had some clothes and books and costumes, just random things really that we wanted with us but couldn't fit in our suitcases. So we spent a lot of the day unpacking and putting away and ended with pizza at our favorite pizza place.
Oh, and school starts tomorrow! At least I hope it does - cause we are showing up! We have most of the school shopping done, the girls have picked out what they want to wear, they are bathed and sleeping and getting rested up for school year #2 here in Caen. So be sure to check back here tomorrow for how school went. All I really want the girls to accomplish tomorrow are the following: 1) Grace does not wet her pants 2) Mia doesn't pick any fights and take all the bread during lunch 3) Ella likes her teacher so she wants to keep going back. I don't think that is too much to ask, right?
Also, I am really excited about my oldest sister Kris coming to visit. I will go into Paris on Tuesday morning to retrieve her from the airport and then she will spend 2 weeks with us here in Caen. Oh, the adventures that we will have together!!
P.S. please ignore the funky formatting that has been happening in the past few blog posts - for instance the underlining of the first paragraph. Sometimes the text underlines, changes font, font size and color on me and I haven't the foggiest idea what is going on. I consider myself to be the resident IT Support Desk around here, but this has really thrown me for a loop.