Highlights from trip with dad:
Arrival in CDG Airport with a surprise visit from... me! We rented a brand new Renault SUV, with only 10km on it. An SUV may have been a mistake, as we later found out, except for the fact that it was nice to have all of that extra space :)
Went straight to Angers in the rain, but arrived to a breaking sky in order to give my dad a tour of where I had been studying the last 5 months.
Dad got drunk under the table by my 66 year old host mom, but it was OK, because he needed the sleep after a full day of traveling.
Had a final goodbye to JP, Helene, and Charlotta, then hit the road, Jack!
Stopped in Clisson for a muskadet wine tour, so good!
Made a pit-stop in Terrasson, looking for the 'garden of imagination', only to find out it had JUST closed when we got there, but it was a pretty kick-ass, teeny tiny, hella old town. worth a visit if you're in the area!
Final destination 1: Fontenay-le-Comte, couchsurfing with Emilie and her boyfriend, Manu. They welcomed us with drinks, appetizers, bbq, and chocolate covered strawberries. The plan was to see Ile de Ré and La Rochelle in the morning, but due the the rain (still!), Emilie showed us around the surrounding cities. We even saw a tower where a fairy used to live in order to protect the city from harm, and a cherry tree that grows cherries all year long, because it was a sick boys dying wish.
Final destination 2: Talence, couchsurfing with Sylvie. She was great, and met us for drinks in Bordeaux. The main reason for staying with her was to go to the Dune de la Plya, near Arcachon, which is the largest dune in Europe (not the world, as my new friend, Anna, informed me!). It was so great. We spent a couple of hours at the dune, got our workout for the day, and enjoyed watching the kite surfers. It was so great, and relaxing. The sun FINALLY popped out to say hello just as we were about to begin the climb up the stairs... and stayed out almost the rest of the trip!
Final destination 3: Breton-Bretenoux to couchsurf with Linda. She was so great to put up with us, after calling her when we were 2 towns in the wrong direction. Breton-Bretenoux, btw, is a great town, not listed on the map, full of 7 families. :) She had a beautiful farm house, and was so welcoming. I even got fresh picked blueberries for breakfast! You could see the view of a castle outside her dining room window, which was great. The next day we went and explored the castle: it's where I'm getting married. Eventually. Maybe. :P
Final destination 4: Le Cannet, Cannes, couchsurfing with JLO. On the way there, through the very windy roads that my dad swore "the bitch" (aka the GPS system) was wrong, we stopped at a restaurant that served us a full course meal for lunch, consisting of quiche, horse, cheese, and dessert. It was my dads first stap at horse... and while he pretended he hated it, he lied! It was pretty good, not as good as Colette's, but pretty good nonetheless! JLO ended up taking us hiking out last day there, up 800m, through show, streams, huge rocks, and fields. I never thought I would do that in my life, but it was a great accomplishment, especially when I got to the top (after climbing what seemed like straight up through show in tennis shoes, shorts, and a tanktop), to see the frozen lake on the other side. It was great. On the way down, tho, daddyo fell and bruised a couple of ribs. He's ok, but he could feel every bump in the road the rest of the way!
Final destination 5: Besançon, France, to see Pauline, Julien, Narimel, and friends. From Cannes, we decided to hit up Monaco because it would be faster to get from Monaco to Besançon, since we had less time than I thought, so Turin was out of the question. Once we arrived in Monaco I plugged Besançon in to the bitch, and we ended up going through Turin anyways, and Switzerland. This was our 4 countries in 1 day trip. It was great! Then in Besançon, we toured the Citadelle, and did a tour around the river on a boat. Very cool! I didn't realize how big the Citadelle was, and how well it's been kept together! There is even a zoo inside! Dad was so silly with his audiotour... :)
Final destination 6: Paris. We decided to stay in a hotel the 3 days, just for added comfort. Great idea, daddyo! Saw the Eiffel tower start lighting up at sunset, saw Charlotta, walked around Montmartre, and had dinner with great friends. Great end to the trip, and I was so sad to leave dad...
The trip was the best thing I could have done, and better than I imagined. Renting a car is the way to go... and so is couchsurfing, and seeing the small towns. Dad couldn't get over how old everything is, and how it really does look like the old photographs. He kept asking questions along the way, of which I had no idea what the answers were! It was great, though, that I was told I speak French fluently by a woman that lived in one of the 400 year old houses just at the base of the castle. Made me feel great! I learned so much about my dad that I didn't know before, and a lot of questions were answered about our lives that was originally foggy to me. My dad is SUCH a great person, and I am the luckiest daughter in the world to have him as a Father. It's kind of weird, though, because my mom wanted to take us to Europe when we graduated college. So, one semester away, I got to bring my dad instead. I wish she could have been there, too, but, sadly, I can't go back in time and bring her back. Hopefully she was with us the whole neck of the way... that's probably why it rained the first 4 days of the trip. She was crying because she couldn't be there, too!!
Love you, daddyo!!
Don't be afraid to go dance in the rain. Not everyday has sunshine but every day has a chance to dance.