July 19: Recovery Day and the Strange Little Gutters of Maubourguet

Morning came too soon. We were all in a daze. Fortunately we had not planned anything for this day, because we were unprepared physically and mentally to do anything but wander around bumping into things. The kids were finally able to explore the grounds of La Camellia, meet the dogs, splash in the pool.

I began reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I also took a walk by myself, taking pictures of the town, finally able to see it in the daylight. There are palm trees! Here are some photos from around Maubourguet:

After lunch, Dan went on a bike ride, and the kids and I went on a walk in search of a playground that our host had described to us. We were unable to find it but we did find a lot more of the town, including some massive, interesting pine cones that the children just had to pick up (maybe they were cedar cones?).

We also noted that some water from L’Adour was diverted into canal gutters throughout the village. Each driveway or sidewalk crossing was a little bridge over these tiny canals, and we found they were full of the most interesting life forms – little snake/worms, snails, fish, and all kinds of stuff.

When we got back to the house, the kids went into the pool again, and I got in with them, until it was time to go to dinner. We showered, got dressed, felt a little peppier, and headed into town to the brasserie on the main street, where we ate under a canopy of trees. The food was perfectly respectable, if mildly unexciting, but the children were completely enchanted with the fact that they had something resembling a cheeseburger and something resembling chicken nuggets. At this point, two and a half weeks into our trip, I am unwilling to even silently begrudge my kids any level of comfort food they can find. And I’m just happy when they can eat something. I like to adventure a bit with my food, and they don’t. Both of them have been unexpectedly brave with regard to food on this trip, at different times. And I’m not going to push it. Simple.

When we got done eating, we went home and the children practiced their violins for the dogs, outside their kennel. I don’t know whether the dogs appreciated it or not, but I certainly enjoy hearing the children play their instruments in all these different settings. And that was it – a day of recovery for all of us.

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