Truly truly La Belle Provence! The people are so wonderful – allowing us to hack away in French and even complimenting it. I was so nervous about speaking French when I called the campsite to book a spot – so when the man answered, “Hello, bonjour” I replied in English – he was flustered and said they didn’t have space. Chris made me call back and ask in French. And Chris was right – I said I had just called and then asked again about a spot and he said,”But your French is good.” Then he gave us a spot. Big boost in confidence for both Chris and I. We arrived late (that is how we roll) and the the man was waiting in his golf cart happy and accommodating.
It still took us FOREVER to pop up. “Pop up” is really the wrong term – more like “gradually and with lots of noise unfold like an deaf old man in a yoga class”. And we have still not managed to get through a pop up with out wanting to gouge each other’s eyes out. #goals
But we did it. In the dark this park looked crazy – huge motor homes in a parking lot, the usual perfectly manicured hard shells with built up decks and little soft tents and tons and tons of decor. We could only find one washroom with a spinal board in it. Leading me to believe they drive the golf carts hard around here.
But over the next two days I fell in love!! Everyone was super friendly and eager to talk – nobody asks about our French or where we are from. Even Anderson gets into it – speaking French and making a friend! He even speaks French with us!!?!! Seriously – he has been in French Immersion since kindergarten and he has NEVER EVER let either of us speak in French to him and he hates when we speak to each other in French (I mean we DO only do it if we are trying to annoy him….) so it was a big breakthrough – he understands the power of a second language and how much fun it is to communicate – even when it is hard.
We hit the city with a very vague plan of walking the old city and checking out a couple of historical sites. It was hot and super crowded so it took us a minute to chill out and just go with it. But thankfully we were able to relax and then we managed to hit a museum, catch a street performer, walk the old wall, see the guards at the Citadelle and we went to the Observitoire. We even got an early dinner (what? Early you say? But yes early dinner) at La Buche.
La Buche was a recommendation from my friend Max who is an awesome cook and host and who loves to eat out. It was traditional (a little kitschy in a good way) heavy on the meat, cheese and sugar. So, you know, yummy. We did get caught in a giant rainstorm and had to call an uber which unfortunately arrived just as Chris and Sabine were locked into a washroom. Because it’s never a straight line with us. We made it back to our crazy little campsite to find the camper dry!! And it stayed dry all night.
Needless to say the next day we were pretty tired and it seemed like the kids needed a little more kid centric time so our plan was to start a little later. Then it turned out that our little campground, COOP St Esprit, celebrates Halloween in August. And not just a few little masks – full out Halloween – with orange “Halloween” pumpkin garbage bags on top of decorated golf carts, candy handed out from all the trailers. They just drive around the trailer park Halloweening from golf carts. So after Halloween we were late heading back into the city. Ole Smokey, our huge and obnoxious pick up truck draws no attention trying to negotiate the quaint and narrow streets of Vieux Quebec. Chris had to pull up in front of the museum to drop us off so we wouldn’t miss the show. At that moment – 5 minutes to show time – trying to pull and open the stroller and get the kids out of the car – Anderson asks – did you grab my shoes?
Yeah – he was barefoot. And now he was barefoot and pissed that we hadn’t – you know-“grabbed his shoes”. It’s a flurry but I end up in Chris’s sandals, Anderson in my shoes and Chris drives away barefoot. So I trip and stumble us into the museum to catch the last show. But it’s not the last show – in fact the last show is in half an hour. So I have lots of time to loiter in my giant filthy teva’s. Chris arrived in a spanking new pair of shoes. Well they weren’t actually new but they looked new and I was trapped in the teva’s (which I figured out how to cinch in) shudder. The show was good and then we headed off to find dinner – we had plans to see the free circus show at 8:30 and it was 6:30. Long story short – leaving out the melting down of children and parents as we searched for somewhere without a giant line up (getting vetoed on every attempt by Anderson because he was intent on getting a croque Monsieur which I had tried to sell him on for lunch and of course isn’t on ANY dinner menus) we ended up in this perfect little backyard patio – no line up – great menu. I sell Anderson on the raclette. It’s PERFECT. And then the wait begins. We play hangman, the kids colour, we chat with our neighbours. We wait. They bring the raclette machine and plug it in. We wait. My wine finally arrives. We wait. Sabine is going to destroy someone or something. Tensions are high. Finally the meal comes. It’s yummy because it’s melted cheese but WE COOK it. Turns out to be a great night – we walk after dinner and stop to get macarons and gelato. We miss the circus but it doesn’t seem to matter as fireworks light up the sky on our walk back to Ole Smokey.