Off to the woods we go.
The day after Christmas we were just hanging around the house. Mom Huget went out for a walk. Joey's friend Zack came over to show us his beyblades that his mom had to order from AMERICA since they couldn't be found in France. Don't know what beyblades are? Some kind of spinning top toy that are popular here right now. They can battle each other. Boys and battles go together.
Joey and Zack are playing nicely until about lunchtime. Zack wants to invite Joey over for lunch and so he brings his dad over to our house to see if Joey can have lunch with their family. Lunch is a pretty big meal. So being invited over for lunch is sort of like being invited for dinner in the states.
We chat with the dad, Philip, and then he invites us to take a walk in the Mervent Forest with his family later in the afternoon.
At 3:00, Philip, his wife Natalie and their daughter Valentine come over. None of the kids want to take a long walk so they decide to stay home. Zack included. Mom Huget had already taken a long walk so she didn't want to go either.
So Rod and I hop in the car with Philip, Natalie and Valentine. We don't really know where we are going. We are just along for the ride.
They drive us by an old chateau nearby that I like to run past. There is only one man who lives there. He is old and descends from nobility. At least that is what Philip tells us.
We drive about 15 or 20 minutes away and park near a river in a wooded area. There is a path along the river. The 5 of us get out and start walking along the river. It is a nice crisp day.
The path follows the river and gets steep and narrow. I am just starting to think that this wouldn't be a good path for my younger kids. I look up and see some bikers coming towards us. When the path is too narrow, they just pick up their bikes and carry them.
Rod chats with Philip, who speaks English. I walk alongside Natalie and Valentine and chat with them. Natalie tells me how much trouble she had getting the beyblades for her son for Christmas. She went online and couldn't find them anywhere in France. Finally, she ordered them from the US.
After our walk, which was probably close to 2 hours, Philip wants to show us more of the forest. We drive around a bit more.
Then we start heading back. On the way home, his wife reminds him that they need to stop for baguettes. I ask Philip where he likes to buy a good baguette. Find out that he is very fussy about his bread. He doesn't like it when the dough is shipped in to the chain stores. He thinks a proper baguette is when the dough is made onsite. Then he drives us past a boulangerie that he likes. It is a tucked out of the way and I might not have ever noticed it.
Then they invited all of us over to their house for dessert.
They drop us off at home and we gather up everyone else. It takes a few minutes. When I say get your shoes and coat on, to a child that means stop and watch a tv show first.
Finally, we walk down to Philip and Natalie's house. They introduce us to the galette de rois (cake of the kings). It is a cake traditionally eaten here in January. Inside each cake is a little hidden figurine. The person who gets the figurine is the king or queen and gets to wear the crown. They had a couple of cakes so we had a couple of kings and queens.
Rod must have enjoyed the walk because the very next day he took Katie and Gabi back there. They loved it. Their favorite part was throwing small stones on patches of ice and hearing this strange echo pinging noise.
I didn't know that a walk in the woods would bring such smiles.