We have been biking 80-90 kilometers a day lately; quite a bit more than our usual 50-70. When the phone rang last night, we picked it up and were greeted with the cheerful voices of my parents wanting to chat. Relieved to be home, but tired and frustrated from our journey, we told them about our difficulties trying to find a nice place to take a few rest days. Instantly they wanted to know how they could help. I was so grateful, as always, to have such wonderful, supportive parents. Suddenly it felt like we had our very own support crew!
My dad (an avid travel-planner, francophile, and generally awesome guy) was thrilled to research campsites for us, and was immediately "on the job!" Tyler and I felt a huge weight lift from our shoulders, knowing we were in good hands. It wasn't even an hour later when he called saying he had found the perfect place for us. From how it sounded, it was everything we had hoped for: clean, peaceful, and beautiful, with morning bread delivery AND free internet. Oh, and it was only 20 kilometers away! We went to bed, as hopeful and giddy as kids on Christmas eve.
Our dream campsite was just down the road so we didn't set the alarm. It was really nice to sleep in until the "late" hour of 8:30. Packing up camp was a quick and easy affair as we had put nearly everything away in our panniers the night before. While we biked what turned out to be 25 hilly kilometers to our site I tried not to pay attention to my new-found fear of finding a huge sign that read "Camping FERMÉ" upon arrival. I wasn't sure how many more days on the road I could handle without resting.
When we arrived in Roussignac we followed the signs to Beausoleil campground. The route was very well-marked, which is always reassuring! As we coasted in and saw our campsite we immediately began pumping our arms saying "YESSSSSS!!!" and started in on the "We did it!" song that we always sing when we make it home for the night (or day in this case). It was a very short ride but boy were we relieved to be there. Beausoleil is stunning: panoramic views of the Perigord hills, flowers in bloom, a pristine pool, on-site bar and a very cozy shower block. HOORAY!! Thank you, Dad!
Tyler and I took our time setting up, basking in the beauty of what will be our home for the next few days. We puttered around completing little tasks we've been meaning to do for awhile. We chucked our air mattress in the pool and after drawing it out found a tiny bubbly leak. We have replacement mats on the way but Tyler patched it anyhow and then got to work. While he was busy I did some pannier organizing and tupperware-washing. When we were through, we cycled into town for groceries.
A few days ago Tyler mentioned he wanted to make tacos at some point. Today was the day! Armed with French "Mexican Salsa" and "Mexican flavored Chips" we headed home to prepare the feast. We were unable to find tortillas, but I was fairly sure they would be easy to make. Tyler looked it up, and sure enough, it was a simple dough of flour, salt and water, rolled out and cooked in an ungreased skillet. He made a test tortilla which he deemed delicious:
We made more dough and he rolled out tortillas while I cooked them. It felt so good to play around in the squishy mixture like a kid with play-doh, not having to think about hills, miles, or finding a campsite. We were on vacation!
Tyler cooked the ground beef we purchased with an onion and a packet of "chili seasoning," while I prepared the other fillings. He spiced it up a bit with some chili flakes while I added some heat and flavor to the bland "hot" salsa. The chips turned out to be a winner, though—who knew "Mexican Flavor" was barbecue? I cut Gouda (cheddar and pepper jack are pretty scarce in France!) into thin "shreds," minced some onion, and chopped lettuce. The final products, our homemade tortillas stuffed full of goodies, were perhaps the best tacos we have ever eaten. We both decided we need to do "theme" meals much more often.
Now, listening to the cicadas and the birds chirping (we have yet to hear a dreaded wood-pigeon!), we are settling in for the evening. Maybe we'll talk to the kids on Skype, and hot showers are definitely in order. I am lying on my stomach in bed. When I look out of the tent to my left, I see the sun setting over the hills. On my right, the love of my life is reading peacefully by my side. The three-day vacation we have ahead of us feels very much to me like the three months of summer we had as kids, a "vast" empty stretch of time alive with possibilities but devoid of plans and duties. If I choose, I can do absolutely nothing tomorrow. Finally we have rest.
Lastly, here is a new addition I will be making to my journal entries that Tyler calls, "Tara's Flower Hour":