Today we thought it would be prudent to actually spend time in the town we lay our heads… Beaucaire.  Why not explore our own backyard?  This is actually literal, as the castle is only 10 steps behind our house.  As we have only two days before we leave this town, we wanted to make sure that we actually explored the castle and surrounding grounds before leaving and having to read about it in a guidebook.

First though, was the market.  We went on Sunday (the first morning we were here) and caught it right at the tail end.  The kids wanted to go back and, as it’s only on Sundays and Thursdays, it was now or never.  The Rainbow Loom phase seems to be hitting Europe hard right now – as it did in North America last fall.  Our kids were hot and heavy in to those bracelets back then and had all but forgotten about it, but these market stalls have the most interesting elastic colours and they were sucked right back in.  Chloë used some of her souvenir money to buy some very cool elastics; they’ve been busy using embroidery thread to make the (old fashioned) style friendship bracelets of the 80’s, and I think we now may have an elastic band bracelet resurgence on our hands.

The market was shutting down, and today seemed hotter than other days so we quickly got the elastics and headed back home.  Needing to use up some of the food in our fridge, we made a lunch of sandwiches and salad and ate it up on our veranda.  We were all feeling a little lazy, but we rallied and went up to the castle and its accompanying museum.  The museum was cute, but they were out of English brochures and so we didn’t get as much out of it as we could have.  Luckily our French is decent enough to make some sense of the placards, but an English translation would’ve been very helpful.  One thing is for sure, people in the 1700’s had beautiful penmanship.

As mentioned earlier, it seemed hotter today than other days regardless of the actual temperature on the thermometer.  The air was stagnant and there were very few clouds in the sky.  The small walk up to the castle, and then the steps up to the top, seemed harder than usual.  I used my usual tactic of throwing capfuls of water at the kids, but I think we all would have welcomed a monsoon rain.  The castle was really interesting, and if you bother to read the history of it on Wikipedia it’s pretty interesting.  Suffice it to say that a lot of drama occurred here in the 1100’s.  To add extra excitement to its history Napoleon ate lunch here in 1793 after staying overnight at a pharmacist’s house in Beaucaire.  Random?  In any case, it’s a claim to fame.

After all of that physical excursion a Popsicle was in order.  We were also running low on water so we went to the supermarket.  Of course we came out with much more than those two items… we added on a bottle of scotch, some peaches, and a cucumber.  Instead of popsicles we got an awesome bag of freezies that were in the flavours of bubble gum, cola, and ‘American style gum’.  (I realize now that freezies is a Canadian term.  They are those plastic tubes of frozen sugar water that you have to cut the top off of.  I’m not sure what other people call them…) It turns out that “American style gum’ is mint gum – like Trident or something similar.  Very refreshing actually!

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing Rummy (errrr…. Jeff won), having our usual snacks and drinks, and jostling for the right to the hammock.  The bells of the church tolled (as usual) at 7 pm which indicated it was time to get in and clean ourselves up for dinner.

Dinner tonight was so fun.  We tried to get in to this tiny restaurant a few days ago but it was booked, and so we made a reservation for tonight.  The evening a few days ago had maybe 10 tables out on the square, but tonight there was a huge long table that sat at least 50 people at it.  Plus there was a stage set up for a band called The Gypsy Kings.  We sat down, and without asking they brought the adults a fancy pink drink in a champagne flute, and the kids were given fresh pressed peach juice.  That was the last we saw of the waitresses for at least 30 minutes (aside from quickly dropping off a basket of bread).  It looked as though it was going to be a ‘you get what you get’ kind of meal – and we were up for it!  (Well, the adults were and the kids didn’t have a choice!).

First course – who knows what!  It had arugula with a balsamic reduction sitting on top of a mixture of… ricotta blended with goat cheese and crème fraiche?  Who knows, but it was delicious.  The kids weren’t fans, but the adults loved it.  We waited quite a while (the band was good, the weather perfect, the company excellent), and they eventually brought an amazing chicken and potato dish.  It had a pesto/tapenade of black olives and pine nuts cooked under the skin and served with potatoes and grilled tomatoes.  It was amazingly delicious!  Simple, but not simple – and the kids devoured it.

During the course of the evening we befriended the single man sitting alone with his dog at the table next to us.  His name was Klaus, and he is German but lives on a sailboat in Beaucaire under the Dutch flag and speaks pretty decent English.  Man of the world!  The evening ended and he invited us back to his houseboat for ice cream and wine.  The kids were excited because the delivered pecan pie wasn’t their desert of choice, and so off we went on an adventure.  After arriving at the boat Klaus hastily cleaned up his tools and other stuff so that there was enough seating for the five of us.  The kids were pleased with their ice cream bars, and he surprised us with a beer for Jeff and some kind of fizzy piña colada drink for me.  He drank rosé wine.  What an interesting evening!  We had to call it a night before the kids formed a mutiny on the boat, and so we bid farewell to Klaus and his little dog Typhoon.  These are experiences you can never re-create.

It’s late and time to call it a night.  I hope you all had something interesting happen today that caused you to view the world in a slightly different way.  Humans are humans no matter the language or the country, or even the place they decide to call home.  Beat to your own drum – it makes you more interesting. :)


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