We were counting the days to our first family vacation. Two weeks on the French Atlantic coast. Our first holiday since our honeymoon and our first ever holiday as a family. Our expectations weren’t disappointed, au contraire! Although, I noticed a few little differences to the style in which we took on les vacances before having little L.
To begin with, little L had the biggest bag of the three of us. Add a Bugaboo, a baby gym and her changing bag, and hers was 2/3 of the available loading space. To accommodate her car seat, my seat had to move forward, so that my knees hit the gloves compartment with every bump we took. I know, we don’t have the most child-practical car (I don’t want to say child-friendly, because SHE is absolutely fine, it’s me that gets cramped in like a sardine), but have you ever tried to sell a left-hand drive sports car during a recession? And as we are still not sure about the alternative, the problem is not to be solved anytime soon, i.e. we continue travelling like little, salty fishes in a tin.
Much more family-like than our car: the destination. The beautiful Île de Ré is populated by families with mostly small children, who take on the island by bike. The climate can be much cooler than my beloved South of France. On a few days we couldn’t even go out without a jumper. This being July, I usually would have shed a few tears about this fact. But this time, I couldn’t have cared less.
I am a fan of hotels. Fresh, fluffy towels. Somebody who makes your bed and changes the sheets. Breakfast in bed. But when I booked our accommodation last December, a little birdie must have been sitting on my shoulder, whispering the words ‘You don’t want to be in a hotel with an infant.’ Despite my pregnancy brain, I can happily say, I made an excellent choice with the apartment I booked. Although we ended up sleeping in the lounge, as the smallest member of the family claimed the bedroom for herself.
Another thing I love about being on vacation: eating out. We made one half-hearted attempt to go out for lunch during L’s lunchtime nap. But after five minutes of whinging from the insides of the pushchair, we decided to call it a day. She just sleeps better in her bed. And as time goes by, we will be able to go out again, I am sure.
As I was so keen on eating Moules Frites, Big M ordered two portions ‘to go’. I was expecting plastic boxes and tinfoil covers, but they send him home with two Le Creuset casseroles and plates and all. They even offered to send the waiter with him (the casseroles weigh about five pounds each, without filling). I think this was the most stylish take-away I ever had.
One more great thing about having an apartment: you get to try and buy all the gorgeous food on the market. We went everyday to buy only what we needed. I love how they ask you ‘Is it for today?’ at the fruit stalls.
Clubbing was a vacation low-light. Not only was there only one club in town, also didn’t we get in. Wrong attire, they said. Maybe next year!
Funny coincidence of this vacation: one afternoon a lively family of four took the table next to us in a cafe. Big M: ‘This woman looks like Peggy.’ Perfectly Happy Mum, her James Bond and their gorgeous boys had just entered the scenary. What a small world!