Moët & Chandon, Escargot and Cheese
Happy Friday everyone! How was your week? Did you adventure? Our week was filled with Moët & Chandon, Escargot and Cheese. We have not moved very far south since last week, mostly because we all needed some recharge time after loads of social for the past month. Plus, Will and I had a ton of WorldTowning business to take care of. Our goal is to make it back to Hyères by next week so we can meet up with friends and renew our visas. And after that we “officially” start our two-year/50 country tour of Europe and parts of Africa. Are you ready?
Remember I mentioned last week how we have a membership to France Passion (29 euros a year) which allows us to stay on farms, vineyards and other agricultural sites for free? Well, we had another amazing experience at Escargot des Grand Scrus. Escargot anyone? This visit was less interactive compared to the champagne vineyard, but nonetheless just as enjoyable. We bought some escargot spread and a couple of gifts as well. Which one of you will be the lucky recipient?
The owners did not live on the premise so by 7pm they locked the gate and we were alone with the snails. However, they did leave us with instructions about the self-guided tour and we were all over that. Wow, snails have no personal space issues. They were all clustered together. Thousands and thousands of snails. I have never seen so many in one location. Many even managed to get over (or probably under) the fence. As a result, we actually had to watch where we were walking. Someone went barefoot, but quickly decided that a shoulder ride might be a good idea. Escargot class, check!
MOËT & CHANDON
Another day, another champagne tour and another vineyard. Now, we are not one for following the labels, but it was Moët & Chandon. We could not pass up a chance to tour their champagne cellars and taste their latest vintage. I believe our guide said they have 24 kilometers of underground champagne cellars. I believe it, this place was massive. Think Catacombs without the dead bodies. Creepy, cold, but not a bad place to be stranded.
The tour was a bit pricy and clearly broke our budget for the day, but it was well worth it. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the tour and mark it as another highlight of our trip so far. Did you know that if champagne is not produced in the champagne region of France it cannot be called champagne. It then becomes sparking wine.
This week we have been staying at free spots as we head back down to Hyères for our visa renewal. They refer to them as “aires” in France and they are all over the place. And, yes, there is an app for that. We love them. So far (and we have only just begun) they have varied from town to town. As I write this we are in a field, with a picnic table, water, dumping (grey and black) and trash. There is green grass, a great setting and it is incredibly peaceful. All free! Yesterday we were in one that was in the center of town and more like six parking spots in front of the church. It was only a place to park the RV and sleep, no services, but still quite interesting and free. Do you see a consistent theme? Free! When we can stay for free it gives us more money to adventure. And we love that.
What is the downside you ask? Well, when they do provide services they are usually at the entrance and they are something you use as you arrive or as you depart. You are never directly hooked up to services, which is fine with us since we have tricked this baby out to survive off the grid for almost a week. I will give another update as we get further into this aire camping, but so far everyone in the family is totally onboard.
LEARNING SOMETHING NEW
I wonder if there will be a time when we know everything there is to know about our RV. Today we had to change the gas tank. Sounds simple, right? Yes and no. Will and Largo decided they would take on this adventure. They borrowed a wrench from our neighbor (on the aire) and were trying with all of their strength to loosen it. After watching for several minutes our neighbor set down his glass of wine and came over to help. He flicked a button and voila, it came off. No wrench necessary. I bet he had a good laugh all the way back to his glass of wine. We are newbies. What can we say. Good news…that first gas tank (our smaller one) lasted a month. We were pretty darn happy about that.
FROMAGE (aka cheese)
And to close out this amazing week we went to purchase some local cheese at Fromagerie de Mussy (no website) in Chaource! Do you think there will be a time when we say, “oh no, I am tired of cheese, lets skip it?” That was funny. I am not modest when it comes to cheese. Can someone get me a shirt that says “I love cheese” and all languages used in Europe? It could be very helpful on our European tour.
GROWN UP GAP YEARS!
Never heard it called this before, but I love the name. Lots of us are WorldTowning and taking grown up gap years. Are you next? Ask us how!
COLOR FACTORY SAN FRAN
This has nothing to do with travel, but it is so darn cool I had to share it! If you are in SF in September get your tickets now because it sold out for August in 1 day.
How do you make money? How do the kids go to school? How do they socialize? Top three questions we get asked. They socialize just like anyone else does. They just don’t always do it with their peers and in a traditional education system. I like this blogger because she is bold and takes a stand when it comes to homeschooling, socialization, treating kids as equals (not property) and everything in between. Are you thinking about becoming a WorldTowner? Are you worried about the social aspect? You might want to take a cruise around her site for loads of helpful information.
First Boondocking Experience | Camping at a Lavender field
Another champagne tour, more learning, escargot, more learning, a night at Wal-Mart (aka E. Leclerc), cheese, more learning. It was a slow, recharging week in many ways, but also a great learning and family connecting week as well.