This summer we went for two weeks to France (July 4 - 19) mainly to visit our son Assaf, daughter in law Joelle, and their newly adopted little Russian son Mischa. We left Athens, Ohio, very worried - 3 bikes! (one for Mischa) - all packed in duffel bags and a suitcase, overweight by 40lbs. No problems, we went through security and took off from Cincinatti on time 7pm and arrived next morning at 9am.
Assaf had rented a house near the sea for one week in Leanou, Brittany, so we purchased train tickets to Quimper. We decided to get to Montparnasse by metro - a big mistake. With 4 very heavy items of luggage, one train switch, up and down many flights of stairs (most escalators not operating) jumping in and out impatient metro trains, many passengers jumping around our baggage we finally made it!
Nili with her bike and all of our clothes relaxing? on the
The TGV train to Quimper allowed us four hours to relax, Assaf and Mischa came o fetch us, and all was well.
The farm guest house that Assaf rented was a delight. A three bedroom ancient stone house with a lovely private garden where Mischa and Bunny could romp and enjoy, leading to the cow farm with hundreds of white cows, peacocks, in a quiet area near Mousterlin, walking distance from a lovely local beach, great pleasant weather. I unpacked and set up the bikes while Joelle prepared dinner. I don't think it will take a long time for Mischa to be able to ride his new bike by himself.
The entire region is very pleasant riding. We rode almost every day to Benodet - a lovely village and port at the mouth of the river Odet, about 1/2 hour biking from Leanou. Our favourite spot for coffee or petit dejeuner was the Hotel La Touline. On the first day we rode and met up with Assaf, Joelle and Mischa and had a lovely tour of the waterfront, with its playground, rocks, and boats (to jump from) while Assaf and Joelle relaxed. Mischa would always bring his truck and was always very curious about any activity.
We rode on bike randonnes near Benodet and discovered lovely quiet villages and roads. We also crossed the very high bridge over the Odet to Ste Marine, where we had lunch on the waterfront, then continued on a hiking/biking trail to a village on the other end of the peninsula called Ile Tudy.
We met up with Jaques and Jaquelin and had a lovely Crepe and Cidre Brut at a Crepery with a playground. Mischa and Jaques decided to climb up the ladder - luckily Assaf climbed the other side to save them. The next day Joelle and Assaf went on a all-day hike with Jaques and Jaquelin, we had "quality time" with Mischa, including visiting the peacocks, the cow that had just given birth, and a walk to the beach.
We decided to try Kayaking, and took a bus to Quimper where we were assigned a 2 person kayak. Then we kayaked 18 kilometers down the Odet river to Benodet. We stopped to relax at one spot during the 3 1/2 hour very strenuous tour which left us completely exhausted when we finally arrived at Benodet. We noticed these boys jumping off the tall rock into the river, and when we called out to them they bared their buttocks and wiggled them in a very French manner. I censored that picture.
The five of us also took a full day biking tour to Concarneau. While in the old walled fortress Mischa became fascinated with the beautiful music played on this weird instrument.
Finally Assaf, Joelle, and Mischa took the overnight train back to Toulouse while Nili and I drove back their car, fully loaded with five bikes and other items. A very enjoyable week.
We spent our final day in Toulouse visiting with Claudine and Raymon in Salies du Salat (without our bikes), about an hour's drive south of Toulouse. After eating lunch and relaxing a while in their very beautiful home (Claudine has furnished it like an exotic museum), we went to visit in Raymon's farm - his pride and joy. Raymon is retired, and this farm is his retirement hobby. The following photos are glimpses of this delightful farm:
The " guys" walking towards the lake
Nili and Belle - she only wanted to be petted and loved by all
The very beautiful lake
Finally, back in Ramonville we spent our last hours walking with Mischa in Port Sud, where he tasted Nili's ice cream "like it!" and rode his favorite horse.