Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The journey

It takes us about sixteen hours to travel from our house in London to my parent's house in South West France.  That's a very, very long way to drive. 

We set off at 4am, and arrived at half past eight in the evening, French time.  Just in time to share a bottle of wine and sit down to a family meal around the big wooden table in the kitchen.

There are ways of making a sixteen hour journey bearable - and on occasions it even felt like a fun adventure:
  • Pack vast quantities of food in the car.  More than you think you can possibly eat.  We took sixteen sandwiches, a giant fruit cake, oatcake biscuits, crisps, kitkats, chewing gum, 3 bottles of water and 2 flasks of coffee, and ate most of it.  Nice, homemade food is a must on long journeys - it saves your sanity and your wallet.
  • Only attempt such a long journey with children old enough to keep themselves amused for sixteen hours.  Until a couple of years ago we just didn't go down to visit my parents in France.  It was too long a journey for the children (and therefore us) to endure.
  • Provide the children with things to do.  Books and iPods do it for mine.
  • Know your route before you set off.  There is nothing worse than marital navigational rows at the start of a holiday.
  • Agree ground rules for music choice during the journey.  In our car it is very simple: the driver chooses the music and nobody else is allowed to complain.  This means that both G and I are very keen to share the driving equally.  He endures my Country Classics playlist with very good humour and I don't say a word when he puts on Joe Satriani guitar wig-out sessions.  That's fair.
G said there were two moments when the sixteen hour journey seemed completely worthwhile.  When we finally turned off the motorway and drove down through the Aveyron Gorges into St Antonin - the views, as the sun set, were breathtaking.  And when we were sat around the table, with a glass of cold wine in our hands, laughing and chatting with my parents.

Buggy headlights
Buggy headlights, at the end of our drive along the length of France
Wisteria in the sunshine
Waking up this morning to sunshine and wisteria


  1. Looks totally worth the pain. Bonnes vacances.

  2. Oh, it all sounds soooo delightful (especially the arrival). Looks like a beautiful place! Enjoy!


  3. Oh, how wonderful. Have a fabulous holiday!

  4. You've hit on what I miss most living in Australia - spending time in Europe. It all looks so beautiful and I can smell the French air. Have a wonderful holiday!

  5. have a wonderful time, it looks like it was well worth the drive xxxx

  6. That is one epic drive. But definitely looks like it was worth every minute!

    K x

  7. It seems worth it to wake up to that beautiful wisteria. Have a fabulous holiday.


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