Clam diggers at the evening low tide.The vacation part of our vacation happened against my will. One of E's friends bought a vacation house on the Ile d'Oléron, a kind of second sister to the trendy Ile de Ré. We had been invited for the house's inauguration and after E pleaded with me I agreed to go. My objection was the long drive: 5 hours from my in-laws and 12 for the return home. It was long and awful with whiny boys in the back but upon arrival all was made good. Our host was thoughtful and although he doesn't have children of his own he thought a bit about logistics.
Photographer at sunset.
In the Atlantic off of La Rochelle and south of Britanny, the island's atmosphere reminded me so much of the other side of the Atlantic - Cape Cod and environs. Which in my book is a very good thing. On arrival we ate at a dockside fish shack. It was touristy, but small and low-key and the fish was fresh and good. A harbinger of yummy things to come.
Boo's first sandcastle.
This lovely beach was reached by a little tourist train (but a real train, not one of those cheesy car/trains that tour cities). The beach was long, wide and flat and on the Atlantic side of the island. I could imagine Boston somewhere out there, in the far distance.
We spent our days exploring (or trying to get our kids to nap). The evenings we spent eating the local bounty - fresh steamed langoustines, wonderful oysters and other Atlantic fish. Strange that we live on the Mediterranean and rarely get decent fish. Here it was heaven. The area is one of the key producers of oysters, selling between 45,000 and 60,000 tons per year. The oysters, raised and eaten here, were full of flavor. We spent a couple of long evenings around the table, the platter of empty shells of oysters and langoustines growing while we quaffed the local vin de pays. There was music - American R&B mostly. Guitars came out and there was strumming. We listed our R&B and Rock pantheons and gamely argued over the particulars. We drank cognac and went to bed late. It was vacation.