We have been looking forward to Ashique’s cousin Jesse and Jo’s destination wedding in Bordeaux, France for a year now! We were also supposed to set off on our road trip to Bangladesh after the event. Due to circumstances, that didn’t happen and we are very glad it worked out this way -now we are embarking on our epic journey in October with a bonus 3 week Europe trip in 10 days time!
UPDATE May 2015 – We didn’t get to leave for our road trip to Bangladesh in October. Instead we have come to New Zealand and travelling here for a year 🙂
As before our first Europe road trip we took the ferry from Dover to Calais(£70 return for 5 of us and our car). Word of advice, bring your own food for the ferry! We got into Calais at 11pm(lost an hour due to time difference). It’s a 9 hour drive to Bordeaux and to break the long journey we stayed the night in Rouen which turned out to be a lovely unexpected surprise for us!
One of our favourite meals in France is breakfast – fresh croissants and coffee- and we got to do that with wonderful views of the cathedral. We left after a tour of the cathedral, lovely drive through the town and finally on our way to Manor Longeveau. Journey was uneventful, roads are great but tolls are very expensive. We paid nearly 45 Euros in tolls. Once we left the motorway, the scenery became beautiful, sunflower fields everywhere, rivers, valleys and lovely villages. The wedding venue was stunning, pretty cottages with gorgeous views all around.
The excitement started building as we got nearer to the place and continued throughout the day as more and more people arrived from all over America, England, Dubai and India! The next three days went by in a blur of wedding festivities, getting dressed up, lounging between events, dancing and imbibing all sorts of liquids 🙂
Best part of being in a large family gathering in new places – hardly have to look out for the kids! Between that many cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmas and new friends they made – not to mention the pool, the tennis courts and open space to play in – they were well happy and sorted. They each found new cousins to make best friends with and when I say cousin I mean their great grandmothers (ashique’s grandmother) brothers, rakhi sisters, daughters son. Only in the Indian subcontinent, would we consider them to be related 🙂
But that is what I like so much about our culture and tradition (amongst other things that drive me nuts) – the fact that families bonds are sacred, our cousins are our brothers and sisters, we look out for one another (even when some of us don’t want to be looked after) Yes, we get into each other’s space, fight with one another and have high expectations which sometimes results in disappointment and disapproval, but end of the day, despite all the drama and quibbles – there is enough love and support to still bind us as family. The fact that after 7 days we were still laughing together and making future plans to meet up was a good sign, and we all experienced an incredible fusion wedding celebration and we thank Jesse and Joanna for coming together and allowing us to be part of their special day!
After the wedding festivities were over, we managed to explore the region little bit more and had a lovely time visiting some pretty villages – Aubettere, wine tasting in several chateaux famous in the Bordeaux region and sightseeing in St Emilion which has the largest underground church in Europe. We visited these ancient wine cellars where monks used to store their wines. We also went kayaking near Longeveau – there was so much outdoor activities for families and children, lakes and ‘beaches’ water sports and play areas, a truly lovely region! We had wanted to go back to Archacon again as we did during our 10 day camping around South of France, but time did not permit this time.
The drive back to Calais was very long and due to poor planning on our part, we ended up driving way more than we had wanted to. 14 hours straight to Sheffield with a break of 2 hours on the ferry. On the bright side, we know the kids can handle really long car journeys, they were brilliant on the long 14 hours, slept, played, read, did activities, watched a film on the laptop and hats off to Ashique for driving the whole way! We feel more confident now for our 3 week road trip ahead, we learnt a bit on the To Dos and Not To Dos, going to be another post for that. 10 days and counting till we are on the road again!