Monday, October 14, 2013

My Fabulous 40

Once upon a time, about 10 years ago, our friends go married. In France. In the South of France. Erik and I thought it would be lovely to attend the marriage, but the airfares were high and our bank accounts were low. I don't remember if Nutmeg had been born or not. We didn't go to the wedding, and the rest of our friends did, and they had a wonderful, wonderful time.

Ever since that day, my husband has mentioned now and then that he still would like to go to the south of France. But we were busy having babies, and moving across the country and back, and working on old houses and losing and finding employment and launching and scrapping blog empires, and travel took the back seat for many years.

Until now. We decided that we should celebrate my 40th birthday by going to France. Oh, I also celebrated by getting diagnosed with a cataract today, but I'm going to focus on the France part.

Forty eight hours from now, Epu and I will be on a jet plane, headed for France. We'll be staying with the same friends whose wedding we missed so many years ago, who are now living on the old farm where they wed all those years ago. And we'll go a few other places. And, listen to this part, people, because I may only say it 20 or 39 more times: WE ARE NOT TAKING THE KIDS.

Wow, you may say. I didn't know you could go to southern France and back in a quick weekend. And here's where I blow your mind: We are not going for a quick trip. We are going for two weeks!

For two weeks, my parents are going to be in charge of the kids here in Alameda. They're flying out here to take on this task. Yes, I have the best parents. You don't even know.

So I'm sitting here with my hair blueing, experimenting with melatonin for the first time as a jet lag prophylactic (Status report: I ingested 1 mg and so far I do not feel very sleepy. Tomorrow night I will try taking more.). And I thought, I think the Internet needs to know our itinerary. Actually, I thought, I should write down our itinerary so we know where we're going, and whenever I write something, I pretty much just publish it, so here it is.

Day 0,.Tuesday Oct. 15
Mom and Dad arrive at Oakland airport around dinner time. They embark on intensive initiation.

Day 1. Wednesday Oct. 16
Depart SFO at 3:40 p.m., Air France, because I want my flight attendants to be French!

Day 2, Thursday Oct. 17
Arrive Paris CDG at 11:10 a.m.
Depart CDG 12:45 p.m.
Arrive Toulouse 2:05 p.m.
Pick up rental car, drive to Chateau Nineyrol. It's not really a chateau, it's a bed and breakfast! It's on the Dordogne River, near a castle called Castelnaud, and it was "rebuilt in 1860 on medieval cellars, by a returning war hero from Napolean's army."
Rad, right?
6 p.m.-ish crash in exhaustion

Day 3, Friday Oct. 18
We'll see how we're feeling. We could get up early and try to get tickets to see a Neolithic cave, or we could just take a little walk up to the castle and try to stay awake. Or tour Sarlat.

Day 4, Saturday Oct. 19
Kayak the Dordogne, past castles and picturesque villages! predicts a high of 72 degrees! The company Couleurs Perigord, just up the road from our B&B, says their shop is not open in October but as long as we call the night before, they'll have a canoe or kayak for us. This will only take part of the day, so we can go to Sarlat or Castelnaud after.

Day 5, Sunday Oct. 20
If we haven't seen a cave yet, visit Font de Gaume and/or Lascaux II.

Day 6, Monday Oct. 21
Drive to Maleville to visit our friends.

Day 7, Tuesday Oct. 22
Go on a day trip in the area. See some really old stuff like menhirs.

Day 8, Wednesday Oct. 23
Another day trip. Horseback riding with the horse rental place up the road?

Day 9, Thursday Oct. 24
Head into Villerfrance de Rouerge for the weekly market, then return the car to Toulouse airport and take the train to Carcassonne. Check into the Carcassonne Guesthouse, sit on the terrace, and enjoy amazing views of the medieval city.

Day 10, Friday Oct. 25
Explore Carcassonne.

Day 11, Saturday Oct. 26
Rent bikes and ride to a country winery or along the canal du midi.

Day 12, Sunday Oct. 27
Take a day trip by train to a nearby city? Possibly all the way to Nimes to see Roman ruins.

Day 13, Monday Oct. 28
Undetermined! If we are loving the Carcassonne area we can ask our hosts to extend our stay for one more night, if not we can take the train to Toulouse and get a room in the city for one night.

Day 14, Tuesday Oct. 29
Check into Ibis Budget Toulouse Aeroport Hotel, from which we can actually walk to the departures terminal. (1/3 mile!)

Day 15, Wednesday Oct. 30
Depart Toulouse airport at 7:15 a.m. Arrive CDG at 8:45
Depart CDG at 10:40 a.m., arrive SFO at 2:15 p.m.
Hug kids and try to stay awake until their bedtime!

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