We've arrived in Royan, my parents have left (after a great visit!) and we're here settling in. We made a trip to Ikea today to purchase some lightbulbs, rugs and cooking utensils and miraculously we fit it all in our car. It's really cold in our house...no, really, like unbelievably cold, like "you're kidding right?" cold. Our house is a summer house and summer's being 70-90 around here, there's no centralized heating. We have two paraffin heaters, which are run with fuel we get from containers we keep in the garage. We refill the containers at the gas station when we run out. We also have two electric heaters, but electricity here is crazy expensive so we don't really use those, but right about now I'm thinking about firing one up. We've got good heavy comforters and we look forward to the spring when we're not inhaling fuel heater smell and praying we don't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Royan has two parks - one within walking distance and one about 5 minutes away - and the next town over has a movie theatre that plays VO movies. Bryan has yet to adventure out into the Côte Sauvage, as it's called, but I'm sure that will be happening soon. If you look at a map of Royan, we live right between two churches: Notre Dame and the Protestant Center. Every morning we are woken up at 8:00 by the sound of church bells. First the Catholic church and then, five minutes later in protest I guess, the Protestant church. We live a block from the farmer's central market which has the best produce, cheese, bread, you name it. It's open every day except Monday, the big day being Sunday, when vendors are inside the round, covered market and all around the outside. We can walk to several beaches, to the post office, the boulangerie and to everything else except maybe the grocery store.
Royan is mostly new - about 90% of it was destroyed by allied bombing in World War II. The whole city is planned and it is constructed in the style of the 1950s. Every now and then we'll drive by a pre-war house or building, but mostly it's modern. It's at the mouth of the River Gironde so some of the beaches are actually on the river, which is so wide you can barely see the land on the other side and we are on a sort of peninsula as most of the land to the east is tidal flats.
Today in the car, Isaac discovered that sound changes when he puts his fingers in his ears and when he takes them out again. You should have seen the look on his face - he was amazed. He did it over and over for about a half hour straight.