Here in France, they have Easter Monday off instead of Good Friday and it is, like, a national holiday. So that meant André was off as well. Great news since we love having more time with Daddie! Also, Olivier was going to be out of town visiting family for the holiday so he offered us the car. Our cup runneth over.
It is strange, because supposedly everyone has off this weekend, but, strangely, nothing is closed. I was supposed to have horseback riding Friday evening but Zander threw such a huge fit we missed the bus and I had to cancel. It is so hard trying to take them to the stables before lessons – I wish they started just a half an hour later – or that we had a car so getting over there would be easier. André and I have been talking more about a car, we are thinking we might go for it…. We are always renting cars to go on our vacations, so we would save that money and it would be easier to do day trips. We feel like we’ve seen much of what’s reachable by bus, and we’d like to extend our range.
Saturday we were headed to Funky Parc to celebrate with Griffin – since he didn’t want a party he chose to go there instead (it is like a giant version of a McDonald’s playspace, we think – only Callie has ever been). Zander really, really wanted Griffin to choose to go see Monsters and Aliens (we haven’t gone to the movies since we got to Besancon) but Griffin wanted Funky Parc. It didn’t open until 10am so our plan was to hit Emmaus for some dishes (since we break ours often and the Petersons are headed our way) and an ironing board (André’s been using a bench for 7 months and is sick of it) since we had the car to make things easy. We’d be done by 10 and then head on over.
Well…. we ended up getting everything we needed, plus, of course, much, much more – it’s hard to resist when it is all about 50 cents a pop! We got a poubelle (trashcan) for the table (not as gross as it sounds), a French butter dish (http://itotd.com/articles/215/french-butter-dishes/), a French cheese plate (essential for having guests here) and also, after much debate, broke down and got some new chairs to sit on for the kitchen as well as an office chair. (Due to Olivier’s generosity, we have been using his outdoor chairs – now broken- sorry - for the past 7 months) Here we could score 5 kitchen chairs and a cushiony desk chair for only 15 Euros. In fact, our total for everything was under 50 Euros. I am so happy we have found a real thrift store! The acquisition of the chairs meant, unfortunately, that André had to drive the stuff home and then come back for us afterwards. Getting to Funky Parc at opening time was not going to happen.
That’s OK – the kids and I hung out at the top of the mountain, admiring the view, digging worms, playing hide and go seek (cache – cache), hiking around and gathering violets and greens to cook and eat for Easter dinner.
An hour later when André got back, we headed down the mountain. The entire road up is one lane and people drive pretty fast on it. There are pullovers here and there so traffic can pass. The hill that took us 2 hours to hike up last weekend takes about 20 minutes to drive down – it has lots of switchbacks, etc… Stopping in the middle of such a road with blind turns may seem foolish to you, but sometimes seizing the moment is worth the risk involved. Yes we were on a one way, dangerous hill but do you see those amazing yellow wildflowers? I hopped out to get a shot and a closer look. There were tons of them so I picked one for each kid. After checking my websites, I believe they are called cowslip. I have never, ever, smelled a more beautiful scent. We literally were fighting over turns to take a whiff. I don’t wear perfume, but I would if it smelled like this flower. I had a strange thought about how traveling is unique today too – I can look at websites or wikipedia to see pictures or learn about the places I have been, I can buy French food at home but smelling that smell? Completely inexplicable and irreplaceable by any other experience yet had--another little known bonus to the adventurous life.
We got over to Funky Park to see if they served food for lunch and they were, seemingly, closed. Hmmm….. Well, many, many businesses close for lunch around here so we headed to a local ‘American’ restaurant to eat. It is called Buffalo Grill – and has a cowboys-and-indians theme. “Native American” does not exist as a concept here in France – nor, for the most part, does political correctness. The place is totally, gratuitously stereotypical, but hey, they have onion rings and I had a coupon. I took a shot of the drink menu so you could see that, here in France, you get candy in your cocktails – all your cocktails! The kids were thrilled at this place since they got to jump in a bouncy hut while waiting for the food to arrive and they could get barbe a papa (cotton candy) for dessert. Frankly, I liked that too!
When we returned to Funky Parc it was still closed – we are suspicious it might ONLY be open for birthday parties. Well, did Griffin start to cry and scream? Nope. He was willing to go to the zoo instead! Well, at that point Callie and Zander started to scream their protests to this idea – not big fans of the zoo. Brats – it’s not for them! But, difficult to have fun when 2 of 3 kids are having a fit so we ended up going home instead and dying our Easter eggs. Was Griffin upset by this? NO. He is the mellowist, most flexible little guy around!All the eggs here are brown (and, imho, much fresher and yummier than at home) and they don’t have Paas packets (or plastic eggs) so we made our own dye with food coloring and vinegar – and I dripped wax on the eggs from a candle (yes, I got the idea online) and made some really cool effects. Callie dumped the purple dye everywhere, staining the table despite the newspaper, and blunder upon blunder, I lit the newspaper on fire at one point – but I can’t let little snags like that stop me, right? (I thought André was going to run out of the kitchen screaming more than once – he can’t hack the chaos!)
We ended up the day by going to see a used car. There was a VW Golf for sale parked up at Emmaus (the mountain thrift haven) and we decided to take a look. Hey, if it made it up the mountain it can’t be in such bad shape, right? It’s a diesel engine and gets, like, 100 miles a gallon or something. We took it for a drive and it ran great – it just got a current ct (like an inspection) a month prior and it fit all of us. It even had a moon roof which Zander absolutely was in love with. The only problem was the owners were serious chain smokers – they smoked about 6 cigarettes just when we were there. Andre’ was in love, however, so we said we were in – we can get that smell out, right? Plan is to meet them Tuesday am at the Prefecture for the official transfer.