June 15th-June 18th
|Southern France is gorgeous! Like Emma Watson.|
Howdy doody. Remember where we left off? Sleeping in the worst apartment ever? Yeah? Okay good. Well not really cause it sucked. But anyway… Lyon left a bad taste in my mouth. I was ready to leave the next morning and we did. Thank the Lord. We took a couple trains to get to La Bastide where we planned on staying at a monastery for four days. I found this place online and thought it would be a cool experience, especially for Mom. To be honest, this didn’t start out much better than Lyon and I was already in a bad mood from the night before, so the lack of buses and 3.3 kilometer hike uphill on gravel with our luggage in the heat was not my idea of a good time.
|Notre Dame des Neiges. And cool fluffy angel clouds.|
When we actually did get to the monastery, we had to search for which building we would stay in and no one, I mean NO ONE, spoke English. About an hour later, we finally got where we needed to go and I took a much needed shower. Unfortunately, the shower took longer than expected and I missed the bells for dinner. I was not about to show up late either, because they took dinner in silence and it would have been very awkward if I had come in late. So I sat in my room instead, eating dry oatmeal packets I had packed and pouting. Mom came in after with some delicious bread and an orange, so I didn’t starve. Dinner was at 7:20 PM, so soon after we all hit the hay.
|Monastery hiking is just as bad as normal hiking.|
The next morning, we woke up early for breakfast which consisted of a bowl of coffee or tea and bread. We had to drink it like the milk left over in your cereal bowl. It was a bit odd to say the least. This was not enough to give me energy, so I promptly returned to bed until lunch where I was properly fed. In silence of course. After my first satisfying meal at this place, Mom and Dad decided we should hike to town. I have no idea what they were thinking because it was definitely hotter than a sidewalk-fried-egg-day, but we went and quickly sweated through our clothes again. The payoff was good though; there was WiFi at the bottom. Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you that Dad’s first words about the monastery were: “Do you think the monastery has WiFi?” Pffffft.
|Cool as ice (which is pretty cold cause it's ice)|
Anyway, after a refreshing drink of raspberry juice and a satisfying amount of WiFi, we headed over to the river about 200 meters away and started fooling around on those different height wood step things. See pictures. First Loni and I went from opposite sides and back and then Mom and Dad went. Then I got in the river because I could. I would have done anything to delay that horrible 3.3 KM trek back up the hill. I couldn’t postpone it forever though because dinner was exactly at 7:20 PM and we had to have enough time to all take showers beforehand. So we went back up, showered, had dinner in silence, and went to a French church service no one could understand. Dad wanted to go to sleep, but I forced everyone to watch that zombie movie, ‘Fido,’ that Marius put on my computer. Everyone thought it was weird and Dad complained the whole time, but I liked it.
|Look at me. I'm mysterious and in a tower.|
The next morning was exactly the same. I went to get a bowl of coffee for breakfast and then back to bed again until lunch. I know I wasted time sleeping, but you gotta understand how exhausting travelling is. And I rarely have an actual bed, so I had to take advantage. Again when we finished silent lunch, the family went hiking and this time I played music from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because they both take place in France. Dad hated it and made me walk far enough ahead that he couldn’t hear the music. I got a sun burn. I don’t have more to say about that. When we got back to the abbey, the sky turned dark and it started thundering so I lay in bed and listened with the window open. It was lovely. Dinner happened and Mom cried because we were to leave in the morning and she was sad to leave so soon.
|Look Dad! Dad! Look! Hey Dad! Take a picture Dad!|
At dark thirty in the morning, we made the hike to the station and found out our train wouldn’t be arriving until four hours later due to a train strike in France. SERIOUSLY!?!? WE COULD HAVE HAD A BOWL OF COFFEE!!! NOT TO MENTION MORE SLEEP. Well I suppose we did get more sleep. On the train station bench. Like homeless people. -__- What. Ever. We did make it to Lyon eventually, much later than expected, to catch our connecting train and the station had WiFi. I took this opportunity to Skype my lovely friend Ethan. It was great to see him again, kinda. On my phone. Same difference, right? Not really, but it was better than nothing. We had a nice long chat until it was time for me to shepherd my family to the next train that took us to our next adventure.
Our next adventure? A CASTLE!!! I booked a night for the four of us to stay in a castle in Le Creusot, France. It was beautiful! Every bit of it. Jeane, the owner, took us on a quick tour of the castle and the grounds before she returned to prepare dinner. One of the places she showed us was her art gallery inside the top floor of the barn. It was GORGEOUS. All of the pieces inside were done by her ex-husband and they were magnificent. It was great to listen to her explain the meanings behind many of the paintings. When we went inside, many more pieces were hung throughout the castle including pieces of her sons and many, many naked pieces of herself and other women. I guess, it’s her castle and she had a rockin’ body, so why not? She looked almost exactly like Lucy Liu.
|This place is a castle and I was here. That makes me cool.|
Before dinner, we went hiking around the grounds a bit and then after finding a tick crawling on my leg, a massive slug, and a dead mole, we decided to return to the castle. We’ve seen wilderness before; not castles. And a castle with WiFi. (Of course). For dinner, Jeane prepared for us a delicious meal of salad, bread, and quail along with some red wine. She and her boyfriend attended dinner with us and we had some great conversations about her and her castle. She said many centuries ago the castle was occupied by Augustine monks. Apparently this order was very strict because they weren’t allowed socks or shoes and when one cheeky monk had cold feet and asked for socks, they locked him in the tower for eight years. EIGHT YEARS JUST BECAUSE HE ASKED FOR SOCKS! Goodness gracious. Poor guy. I bet his feet were colder up there.
|My castle. Mine. I'm keeping it. Except not really...|