Thursday, August 8, 2013

Road rules, learned the hard way

Last weekend we took a road trip to the Bourgogne region of France.  It was a five-hour drive to the center of France that started out like any other road trip...with a fight about why the durn GPS was not detecting the satellite right away.  Typical.  That hurdle cleared I hoped the rest of the trip would be pleasant.  Can't say that's entirely true in our little family where patience is in short supply, but on the upside, it makes for good blog fodder!

So here are a few choice things I learned from our extended weekend.

1. Gum makes everything better.

We've recently discovered that Juju can get a little carsick.  Thanks to MameeLin's bright idea, a bit of mint gum keeps her occupied and steady.  And maybe the fear of her getting sick keeps her quiet.  We hardly heard a peep from the backseat.

2. Kids and culture don't mix.  Not yet, at least.  I tried to be smart about the limited sightseeing we did on this trip, limited being the key word.  I'd checked out some websites about Dijon beforehand and even some on kids' activites.  We just did some walking along shady or not so shady streets, checked out every fountain we saw and especially the one you can play in near the Palais des Ducs. And when in doubt about something, ask another mom for directions or advice.  I snagged one who was buying her kids ice cream to be sure we were on the right way to the fountain.

Rue de la Vannerie, Dijon.

3. Speaking of ice cream, buy plenty.  Hey, when it's blistering hot, go for it.  It makes everyone happy, cools off tempers and is part of being on vacation!

4. Do go off the beaten path.  Even though sometimes it annoys me at the time, my husband's tendency to explore (read: keep driving to find the perfect restaurant) can lead to some fun experiences.  We happened upon the Fête de l'Escargot (the snail festival) in Digoin last weekend.  There were an amazing number of people in line at the town hall for their plate of garlicky snails but we opted for a crêpe restaurant that was also serving snails (not in crêpes, mind you).  I got the rôti (roast pork), for the record. 

5. Rest stops are meant for resting.  To get to Bourgogne we took the toll roads.  The one good thing about this is that the rest stops are fairly abundant and clean.  And there's lots of tempting goodies in the mini-markets there.  Eiffel Tower magnets, anyone?

French junk food: waffles, pain au chocolat, brioche, and, oh yeah, some Oreos!

Watch out for the prices though.  We saw this one family of four getting a basketful of groceries: some speciality salads, cherry tomatoes, sandwiches, yogurts, and candy which amounted to a whopping 60 euros!  

 They're also pretty good about providing some play areas for kids to get those legs stretched out.

So I hope my roadweary experiences will help you out some too.  And don't forget to check your GPS before leaving and...bring along a map just in case. 


Michelle said...

Our GPS can take at least 30 mins to find the sattelites sometimes, so you have to know which direction to start off in or you've had it!!

Amber said...

Great suggestions! Looks like you had a good trip :)

Crystal said...

I love road trips! (provided the car has AC). And ice cream is great to beat the heat at any age.

I hope you guys can make it down my way soon!

Jenenz said...

Ice cream cures all. What a lovely trip you had!