It’s been a while since I have updated on my travels. I continue to gallivant around South West France, currently residing in La Rochelle with the family of my mum’s childhood pen pal. My last week in Bordeaux was very lovely, involving several picnics, a bit of sunshine and lots of long French meals with my host family. Perfect.
My last day with my French family was great and I experienced a true French shopping trip (almost identical to an English shopping trip but obviously a hundred times more chic) and the family treated me to a ‘galette bretonne’ before going to the cinema to watch the new Sofia Coppola movie. Sunday, my day of departure, arrived and after an extraordinarily sunny Sunday lunch, presents were exchanged and I was then accompanied to my train. When I say ‘accompanied’ I am not lying. My French parents not only drove me to the train station, but they took me to the platform and more than that… to my seat. I love them. However, the obligatory French farewell with numerous kisses therefore took place in the aisle of the train causing quite a considerable build-up of French travellers who (bless them) were very patient, even when they saw how much space my combined 35kg of suitcase had taken up in the luggage rack.
The arrival in La Rochelle was surprisingly smooth, even if I do say so myself. I did nearly get off the train in Rochefort, but after some awkward bag juggling I was informed by my fellow passengers that I was rather too eager. On the plus side I made friends with a very helpful gentleman (I am my mother’s daughter) who offered to help me with my luggage. I was whisked off to the Rimbert household, where I was given a royal welcome and the family have insisted that I stay with them during my time in the city. Although I pleaded that they shouldn’t organise anything out of the ordinary for me whilst I am here, in just a week I have visited two different beaches, witnessed La Rochelle’s ‘Fête de la Musique’ and on Monday I am going in an aeroplane for an overhead tour of the South West coast. Wow. I have had aperitif in at least six different houses and I will surely return home two stone heavier… but it will be so worth it.
I just want to assure you, for all those Brits out there who might feel that I am perhaps losing my cultural heritage during my time in France, that I have actually injected a little bit of English into the lives of my hosts. My culinary skills have been put to the test and I have produced two apple crumbles (with custard, obviously) and a shepherd’s pie with gravy. Impressive, huh? I haven’t broken it to the family yet, but I have placed an order with Conor (who is arriving in La Rochelle on Tuesday afternoon) who will bring with him marmite, jelly and baked beans… I have a feeling that the reception might not be quite so welcome!