Tasha & Kiri's Winter En France travel blog

Eu chateau

500 year old beech tree planted by Duchess of Normandy

Joan of Arc slept here before we did - plaque on Eu...

It is the wee hours of the morning (2 am), and I am sitting with my laptop in the corridor of the youth hostel in Eu, Normandy (just east of Dieppe). Unfortunately, I can't get internet connection in our room, so I’m sitting on a hard bench in the silent hallway downstairs, while Kirianne sleeps upstairs. This hostel is interesting – it’s the former kitchen outbuilding for the huge chateau of Eu, residence of the Dukes of Normandy (and later kings), built some 500 years ago!

Our travel plans have been disrupted by a train workers’ strike - which I didn't know about until I tried to book to Rouen yesterday. Hopefully our reservation for later today will be okay. We have to return first to Dieppe by bus then to Rouen and on to Monet's garden in Giverny via Vernon.

Today I should have gotten some computer work done, but I spent the morning homeschooling some math with Kirianne. She was supposed to work on that while I was on the computer, but I've realized I'm asking just a little too much for her to SELFschool (while I do other things), on top of all the "work" she is doing to simply come along with me. And I couldn't work earlier this evening because Kirianne finds it too creepy to go to sleep alone in the room way upstairs at the end of the dank, echoey corridor in this OLD stone building, so I had to go to bed when she did. (Although I told her I would get up early in the morning, so she doesn't panic if she wakes up and finds me not in the room.) She is really being such a good trooper with all this, although it takes its toll. This afternoon we had to abort our little side trip to the neighbouring town of Le Trèport because she felt sick. She tried to be brave, but we turned around when we got there and came home again on the next bus. We concluded she was just overtired. (After a nap, we returned in the evening for the meal of scallops that I was craving and for which the town is famous. And we rode the free funicular up the side of (and partly through!) the cliff to the part of town up on top.)

So this is how our days go by! We've been in France for 6 days now, and it seems something of an accomplishment just to get from day to day and place to place and find where and what to eat and maybe spend some time visiting a museum or church or special exhibit or going for a walk... And then spending time planning the next move!

The good news is that we have a WWOOF invitation starting Oct. 27. This will be in the Loire-Atlantique “province”, just north of Nantes. We are really looking forward to having a place to settle for a while, and I hope that will really help to start our improvement in french. Finding a placement was more difficult than I had thought it would be. So many of the places I had written to were already booked; or are not taking helpers for the winter months... We have another invitation for later in November, but it is way up in the north of Bretagne, and I'm not so sure I want to return north at that time of year! Kiri told me this evening, though, that she is looking forward to that place - she likes the sound of the family.

I hope this finds you well. We send you lots of hugs!


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