By Tuesday night, my essays were submitted, a curry was on the stove and my half term had officially begun. I’d made up the spare bed in my flat for Rosie, who was driving over from the UK to stay for the week. Despite vague plans that verged on non-existent, we’d decided that as long as we had her car and my flat as a base, the next few days would be sweet.
Lets just say I was pretty happy I’d made enough curry for three as Rosie turned up with the surprise of Toby, an 8 man tent and the promise of a road trip through Fontainebleau and Paris. I packed over curry and cups of tea and all too soon, after a quick tour of Reims and a grocery shop (the first of many) we were in Rosie’s car the next morning headed for Font. Three hours of driving was made better by the most recent season of My Dad Wrote A Porno (10/10 recommend this podcast for anyone in need of a laugh) and a decent supply of snacks. There was just enough time for a quick explore of the bouldering area l’éléphant before we headed to our campsite for the night.
Not going to lie, the combination of an eight-man tent between three people with just two sleeping bags doesn’t make for the best sleep in the world, and the fact that the gluten-free pasta we’d had for dinner the night before was 90% starch meant that by Thursday morning we were cold and keen for a good feed. Luckily, scrambled eggs, boursin and lardons sorted us right out (I swear I will not eat anything else for a camping brekkie ever again) and we rented bouldering mats and set out for a day of climbing.
I followed (and mostly watched) Rosie and Toby around the routes, stopping for a picnic lunch in the hammock. By midday my ankle had swollen to the size of an apricot and I resigned to the role of water-girl/mat carrier for the rest of the day. For more details on the climbing and some awesome pictures, check out my photo diary! That afternoon, we secured a last minute bed in Diane’s (an ex-Camp Suisse girl and a mate of Rosie’s) spare room in the centre of Paris. Stopping to pick up a healthy dinner (Maccas) and a classy thank-you present (a bottle of gin), we finally arrived at the flat after taking the wrong exit no less than four times.
Friday morning found us overcoming respective hangovers and leaving the flat in search of a good coffee. We spent the day wandering Paris, from Notre Dame to the Louvre and most importantly everywhere in between. The highlight of the day for me was definitely stumbling across the back streets filled with independent galleries, vintage stores and small cafes, a welcome change from the monotonous cream terraces. For my photos and more details on what we got up to in Paris, I’ve done another photo diary.
On Friday night we bundled back into the car along with a bag filled with snacks and set off on the five hour drive to Calais. Arriving with just an hour to sleep in the car before our 4:15am ferry, the three of us managed to find some couches to sleep on for the crossing before we got to Dover. Another car-nap before sunrise later, and we were off again to London where we said goodbye to Toby. Approximately 15 hours of travel later, we pulled up into Oundle on Saturday, where we spent the rest of the day doing little other than loads of washing, groceries and vegging out in front of the TV.
So, the end of the week finds me en route to Cleckheaton (in Yorkshire), one week of half term down and one left to go. Big thank you to Rosie and Toby for pulling together the best last-minute, surprise road trip I could ever ask for. I’m so extremely grateful to have mates like the two of you who make life happier. I’m off now to enjoy the rest of my break and studiously ignore my homework that’s due when I get back to France.