Welcome to La Rochelle
What a strange change! In September, Saint-Martin de Ré was a very busy, little village with lots of tourists, events everywhere, shops, groceries and of course the food markets always open-even on Sundays. And then, suddenly one day later, it happened to be October first – everything was closed? We don’t know why but it seems to be low season now, from one day to the next. We probably wouldn’t have realised it so early if we hadn’t expect visitors for breakfast. We couldn’t buy anything but baguette in the morning. OMG! disaster! Ok- we managed with our “old” stock and prepared a reasonable breakfast.- I hope. Was it ok bro? 🙂
Yeah! My brother and his wife were spending their holidays in France and decided to stop by and spent a couple of days with us as they planned to do a tour through France anyhow. We were supposed to meet in La Rochelle but as there was a huge international boat show we couldn’t get a berth so they came over to Ile de Ré. It is only a half hour drive by car. We had a cheap day in Saint Martin as – you know- a lot of shops were closed and even worse also a lot of restaurants… 😉
Well, we still had a great day , it is always nice to see and catch up with family. AND my sweet big bro brought us Liquorice and candy yaeeehhhhh – sometimes bros can be absolutely the best. 🙂
Liquorice and more 🙂
Tuesday morning we took off and finally arrived in La Rochelle. We had to consider the tide, leaving earliest 2 hours before hight tide in Saint Martin and arriving latest 1,5 hours after high tide in La Rochelle. Outside of this window we couldn’t leave or enter the harbours. The boat show was over and the harbour master was able to provide us a berth, where we could stay already for the winter. Yes! It was a short 11 nm leg and we could enter the “Basin des Chalutiers” (it is right in the middle of the town but still with a little bit of privacy) with the high tide and bridge open at 11 am.
Altimate in her new berth in the “Basin des Chalutiers”
Early enough to spend another nice day with our relatives. We finally ate a lot of oysters which my brother was very keen on as we could’t get them the day before…. 🙂
But that was actually only the starter – yammi- after a little stroll around we found a sweet little very French restaurant with delicious food and beautiful vine – of course. Somehow it sounds as we were only eating, what should I say? It is true, we were very focused on food but we also had a nice walk through the town and even experienced the little beach of La Rochelle.
A rare pic of the four of us
The next day, sad as it is, we had to say goodbye again. But not before we had a nice cafe creme with awesome croissants (sorry food again) in a gorgeous tiny cafe next to the busy farmers market… Bro and sister in law have a great further trip through France! Enjoy!
Since they have left the everyday life is back. Yes it sounds weird, but even on a boat you have your daily life. And it started with a horrible discovery. The blackwater tank was still leaking, OMG. So we spent the whole day repairing that stinky tank, I’m not going into details but as you can imagine it was NOT the nicest work to do. This time, it should keep tight for the next 10 years or even longer, pleaaaaaaase.
The black water horror.
We have a lot to do at the boat to get it ready for our long distance legs. First it takes a lot of research time to find the right solutions, then get the items shipped and then of course educate ourselves on how to install it. Not talking about the regular maintenance Altimate is demanding anyhow. Apart from that we’ve also been busy with finding out where to find what in La Rochelle, like using bicycles and the bus, finding the laundrette or DIY retailer and and and. Since the weather has been still very nice it is really fun to figure out our way around in town still being surprised by some obvious cultural differences between France and Texas.
1.The food (sorry again food) is much nicer in France (sorry Americans, but nothing really new :-)) 2.The American people are much more open and friendly. It is quite hard to get talking to French people and that is NOT because of the language. That doesn’t mean that they’re not nice or helpful, its just sooooooo different in regards to the first contact.
Yesterday was a very exciting day. We received our airfreight with, what we thought, not that much stuff, but as we had everything onboard …oooops, where can we store it??? Well, it took us almost the whole day to push back and forward all the items. Imagine, you have to take out everything in your bedroom to reach your storage or push your sofa aside to reach your beer and vine ;-)…
Mattress out to store goods under the bed.
In the end we were satisfied and proud that we had managed to store everything in a way we can reach and use quite easily. Now we’re prepared, Norbert with tools, me with sewing machine to start our upcoming projects. Stay tuned ….
PS: Sorry, you’ll see more work the next coming months and no beautiful islands. But big promise, that will come back spring 2019