Sunday, January 3, 2010

Castlemania (Pontivy)

To the ramparts! Here we are at the castle of the Dukes of Rohan at Pontivy, about half an hour away. The castle itself is closed until February, but no matter - the better to decide on our plan of conquest! Look at the gleam in Eleanor and Iris's eyes - they are ready! And yes, Oliver is crawling furtively, sword in hand. There is something about rounding a street corner and seeing a hugely fortified 15th century castle that just makes you feel alive. The moat has become a verdant space and I'm quite sure was "interdit," but there was absolutely no one there today, so we romped and romped. We'd had lunch in a cozy inn called "The Small Cauldron" (salads, duck with gratin and green beans (they gave the kids fries instead of the vegetables: duck and fries - think of it!) and delicious desserts) and practically the whole time, Oliver had been devising weaponry for us to use (some of it involved chickens dropping eggs, I'll warn you) - so we were in high spirits and each of us armed with a piece of paper with our particular weapon on it. Oh man, did we have fun. I already can't wait to return to Pontivy to see more, although it won't be the same with other people there. And people will come: during the high season this is a buzzing hotspot of the Morbihan - interestingly, although it is only half an hour away, it's on the other side of some divide, where all of the highway and city street signs are in both French and Breton - so, Pontivy is Pondi in Breton and Josselin is Josilin in Breton - have to find out more about that line. The day was great all around: we had our Epiphany cake first thing in the morning - the fun of this holiday (which ends Christmastide, or, the famous Twelve Days of Christmas) is that a) you get to eat an almond pastry, b) if you get the little porcelain figurine you get to wear a crown for the day.

Guess who found the figurine in our cake?

All in all a truly swell day. A swell week! We've been here a week tomorrow - that's just incredible. And tomorrow, an entirely new chapter begins with school starting up. My brave little ones - allons-y!

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