Beautiful day today!! Woke up (late) to bright sunshine and chirping birds! Have I mentioned yet the braying of the donkeys at sun up! Way louder and more intrusive than a rooster… but we slept with the windows closed last night because of the rain, and didn’t hear them this morning. Maybe they slept in too!
After a reasonably relaxed morning in the house, we decided to head down to town and take the Steam Train along the river, to the Bambouserai (Europe’s largest Bamboo Forest), and then back.
Unfortunately, we didn’t organize well, and mistakenly thought the train would run more frequently during peak season. So we arrived at the train station just before noon, only to find that the next train was at 2pm. So…. we made the best of it and took a meander through the sleepy little town of St Jean du Gard, had coffees and a light lunch, and then went back to the train station. Unfortunately, Liam was already starting to get tired, and could have used a nap. In fact, he had fallen asleep in the car on the short drive to St Jean du Gard, which is INCREDIBLY unlike him. But, I think by the end of this trip, he may become good at sleeping in cars! Hooray!
The train was great. A genuine coal-powered steam train, just like in Thomas the Tank Engine! On the trip out we sat in the caboose which had great views of the train snaking out ahead of us, and the scenery behind us… especially the pitch-black tunnels! Liam thought it was great, although at one point he decided to sit on the floor of our car instead of on the bench, covering his shorts in soot. But, that was ONLY THE BEGINNING of soot-boy.
The train trip is about 40 minutes total between St Jean du Gard and Anduze. But about 10 minutes from Anduze it stops at the Bambouseraie, and that’s where we got off. We weren’t sure we were doing the right thing as Liam was already getting tired, difficult and emotional… but when we suggested staying on the train and then continuing home, he got upset and said he wanted to go the Bambouseraie!!! (at which we raised our eyebrows at each other, because he has NO IDEA what a Bambouseraie is — although it is a super-fun word!!)
So, we decided to brave it, and visited the Bambouseraie. It was great for the first 5 minutes while Liam decided it was fun and interesting and had energy. But then he turned into tired mummas-boy, and we had to carry him for the next hour as we wandered through this absolutely gorgeous Asian park. Liam enjoyed the bamboo houses, the pot-bellied pigs, the chickens and was especially enthusiastic about the lily pads… but mostly he simply wanted what he couldn’t get, and was reduced to tears of fatigue and frustration. Understandable little dude… you need a nap.
So let me reiterate: Yesterday we visited the Fairy Caves, and had to carry Liam almost the entire way. Today we visited the Bambouseraie, and had to carry Liam almost the entire way. It’s safe to say that this vacation isn’t ‘restful’ for mummy and daddy.
The trip home was fairly uneventful. We bought Liam a new little car, and he was happy scuttling around on the train floor playing with it. By the time we arrived back to the car he was sooty from head to foot. When we arrived back at our Gites, the owner (Jeaves, who Liam adores) was shocked at the sight of us, and immediately asked what on earth we’d gotten up to! Wow. And I thought we did okay cleaning Liam up at the train station…. I guess not!!
I think we need a bit of a more relaxed day tomorrow, otherwise mummy and daddy are going to hurt something. Liam is fast asleep, and I don’t think I’ll be far behind!!
Lovely sunny morning. View from our terrace up towards the tower apartment.
Feeding the donkeys below our window.
Liam finds a red dune buggy in St Jean du Gard,and is impressed!! "It has so many wheels!!!"
Liam still has energy early in the afternoon..... soon to change!
Walking alongside the river in St Jean du Gard.
Looking for rocks to toss.
Liam borrows shopkeepers' broom to tidy up the square.
The steam engine.
First we rode in the caboose, or as Liam calls it, "the blue car".
View of the train rounding a bend, from our views from the caboose.
Liam decides to sit on the floor. The beginning of the dirtiest boy ever.
A pretty village we passed en route.
Rounding the corner over the stone bridge.
Views of the river as we crossed it.
Liam has energy for the first 2 minutes in the bambouseraie.
Admiring the bamboo tree.
A wander through the bamboo forest (at this point carrying a tired and cranky boy).
Beauty shot in 'Dragon Valley' in the Bambouseraie.