Sunday, 25 August 2013

A week inland.


It was strange to be driving through the countryside with fields full of sunflowers on either side, heading in-land and away from the sea but we were off to meet family and the crew were very excited. We stayed in a nice rambling old house in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Normandy, built into the hill side using the cliffs in some places as walls. Surrounded by country side, the town itself has a castle, beautiful views and some interesting little shops, it was very nice to have some ‘girly time’ with my niece and sister in law, not something that has happened often in the last couple of years.

 
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe
 

With chocolate box villages (particularly Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei) and interesting towns (Alenҫon amongst others) surrounding us we enjoyed exploring the area, it turns out that with French sat navs you have to put the accents into place names or it can’t find them, unfortunately it is difficult to put accents in a text when giving directions! The deckhands and their cousins made the most of their time together, they ran through forests, swam in a lake, played in the garden and chatted non-stop.

 
Le halle de ble - the old wheat market at Alencon

The nearest big place is Le Mans, a city with historical connections to England and of course a famous racing circuit. This is Plantagenet country where English King Henry II was born; parts of the medieval palace remain and have been incorporated into the town hall. The castles and cathedrals around the area tell the story of long ago battles and rich merchants with decorative facades and some very old buildings. Over the summer months the city puts on a light-show at dusk using the buildings as a screen. After a very nice meal out we wandered round the city to watch the various displays. It was incredible, stories roll over the old roman walls whilst patterns and mythical creatures climb the walls of the cathedral.

 
Museum of the 24 hour race at Le Mans

Pony trekking was perhaps the highlight of the week for the deckhands and their cousins. We booked in advance, when we turned up they saddled up the horses gave us directions then waved us off; each adult taking a horse for a walk with a child perched on its back grinning hugely. We ambled along beside a stream with the sun on our backs whilst the ponies kept stopping for a quick snack of grass or hedge.

 
Pony trekking

This was a week to spend time with family, talking and playing, reminiscing and making new memories. It was a week of celebrations with 3 of the children and 1 adult having birthdays within a few weeks of each other, and a wedding anniversary, not to miss out the other two there was a ‘non-birthday’ day for them and the Thursday saw the second anniversary of us leaving Somerset and moving onto the boat.

 

The week flew past as holidays always do and it was time to head home. With the bags unpacked, the hire car returned and a McDonalds for tea it was back to normal life for us, bobbing in the waves, listening to the wind in the masts and planning the next move.

 
cherries growing at St Leonard des Bois

 





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