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WT09 your two favourite gap-yearers make their way around the world armed only with a sense of adventure and a photocopied lonely planet guide to the mekong. wish us luck!

a slightly unglamourous arrival in france and a camping holiday, french-style

FRANCE | Sunday, 23 August 2009 | Views [865] | Comments [1]

pauline, iona, manon and vivienne

pauline, iona, manon and vivienne

apologies for taking almost a month to update you all on our adventures but in the few times when we've had internet access in the past three weeks facebook has unfortunately taken precedent, or failing that we've been booking things etc. and i didn't really get time. soz about that.

so, it was with sadness that we left the very lovely city of florence, in the land of the enormous pizzas, cheap-ish gelato and helpful people in train stations. our destination was angouleme, a nice but not very exciting town in the middle of western france where i spent 3 months on exchange many years ago (2007). france being france, the trains only run from north to south and as we were travelling west to east the trip took about 24 hours, involving an overnight stint in a cabin with some hilarious dutch people (we are yet to meet any dutch people we didn't like), and then about 8 hours crammed into a 4-seater with a sleeping old lady and a man who was cross because we'd asked him to move his suitcase so we could sit down. anyway, he was nicer after we both whipped out sudoku books (yes we are really cool) and even went so far as to make a joke about horses that we didn't really understand. it was, after all, in french.

the reason we were trekking to angouleme was not for the excitement and raging nightlife of the town (angouleme is, i will have you all know, the 'world capital' of comic books, if that gives you some indication of what kind of town it is), but to see a gorgeous friend of mine called manon with whom we were going on a 'camping holiday', and then on to paris.

every year, 5 million french people spend at least a week of their summer holidays in 'campings' (we watched a report about it on the french news channel which is why we now know so much about it), many having travelled impressive distances (or at least impressive by french standards) in bumper-to-bumper traffic in order to spend a week in a tent, caravan or mobile home in mediocre weather by the beach, pretending to be having a great time.

manon, her best friend pauline, vivienne and i had basically hit the jackpot by being able to stay in some friend-of-a-friend's 'mobilhome' (french for mobile home), being the creme de la creme of french camping accommodation.

highlights of the week that we spent at l'ile d'oleron (it's an island with a bridge, so it doesn't really count) were teaching manon and pauline the soulja boy dance and all the words to various sneaky sound system songs (for no reason other than that they liked them, and it made a nice break from listening to rihanna), as well as doing a 'cooking day' where we made some biscuits where we halved all the ingredients except the sugar and used nesquik instead of milo. basically we made far too much noise and drank far too much alcohol (we discovered manzana, a kind of apple liquor that costs €4 a litre and is absolutely delicious) considering we were staying in a family-oriented camping place, although one could argue that it was BECAUSE we were staying in a famil-oriented camping place that we did this.

lowlights involve the pretty bad weather, although we did get a few days at the beach it wasn't nearly as good as those at home (let's face it, australians can afford to be beach snobs), and also the day we managed to get a borrowed bike stolen from outside a supermarket and ate an entire packet of kinder while we stood around hoping the bike would come back.

on the whole, though, we had a really good time, and v and i both really enjoyed lying around and not doing much after quite a long time of moving on from place to place every couple of days. trust me it was perhaps more fun than it sounds! just some advice, though, french pools are really weird (we only went past cos the lifeguard was hotter than the weather but neither hot enough to bother going swimming), they make you shower in cold water and wash your feet before you even go in, and guys aren't allowed to wear boardies. after we learnt this, we stayed well away!

AND NOW, the lovely vivienne will give you a brief run-down of the excitement of the following week.

much love xxx

PS: It was apparently a 'blatant lie' that i told when i said 'we discovered manzana', it was in fact rupert saxton who first 'discovered manzana' and has never let anybody forget it. many thanks to rupert for pointing this out. several times.

Tags: camping, french lifeguards, ile doleron



discovered manzana my bottom. Give credit it to me if you become an alcoholic, i need the attention

  rupert Aug 29, 2009 5:23 AM

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