Our journey from Castagnole Monferrato to our final Airbnb in the French Alps should have been a leisurely drive. However, I conveniently needed to go to the toilet every time I saw a highway service station so I could check whether they sold the two things I have become completely obsessed with. One is the Choc Ovo bars (basically health food disguised as chocolate – sold in SPORTS stores) and the other is Ferrero Espresso to go. It’s like a tiny capsule with a teeny, tiny straw that contains a shot of espresso mixed in with liquid dark chocolate. I totally get the caffeine hit from it and the dark chocolate disguises the bitterness of the coffee enough for me to stomach it. I am definitely on my to being a grown-up (grown-ups = loves wine and coffee in my mind). You will be pleased to know that even though Ben declined my suggestion of ducking back to Switzerland for more chocolate, I was able to find more Choc Ovo’s in France so am stocked up to the max. I also have about a months supply of my “pocket coffee” from Ferrero but have spent considerable time emailing he Italian head office of Ferrero plus the Australian office of Ferrero requesting that they either be sold online or imported to Australia. I literally spent an hour of my time composing an email in Italian to Ferrero. I take these things very seriously and as Ben likes to say “I don’t do things by halves, especially when my comfort is involved”.
As we drove through the French Alps I became very excited about what beautiful accomodation we would find at our Airbnb. We have been so fortunate this trip and with the exception of the one night in Castagnole Monferrato (where my fan broke and the bloody church bells rang all night long) we have been spoilt with sensational places to stay.
The French Alps are gorgeous and the little towns are picture book pretty. There seems to be a lot of sporty things to do there and a lot of national parks and caves to explore. We only had one night so our exploration was limited to Ben walking the kids along a creek while I explored the towns little shops. We needed to do this as when we arrived at our Airbnb at 4:30 (check in was supposed to be 3:00) the lady told us she wasn’t ready and to come back in an hour.
This suited me perfectly as I was desperate to check out the little shops. Most of them sold overpriced tourist stuff but one shop was a second hand clothes store where I found the worlds most comfy pants!! They are like harem pants but yellow with peacock feathers on them.
Our Airbnb was a little flat located on top of a cafe and a bar, the ‘bar’ part was conveniently left out in the description on Airbnb. To me it looked a bit like a hippy commune, a real Byron Bay meets Nimbin vibe. Whist I generally would have loved to join in on all the free love shenanigans, I got off on the wrong foot with one of the hippie’s who behaved in a very un-hippy like fashion to my Jazzy.
As we pulled in to the carpark, the kids excitedly jumped out of the car to explore their surrounds. Jazzy saw a dog sitting in a van and began to walk over to it to see if it was okay. In Australia you are not allowed to leave dogs in cars and it was a hot day for France. She was about a metre from the van when an irate French woman came from nowhere and started screaming at her in French. Jazzy looked shocked and Kylah said “we don’t speak French”. Then the woman started yelling that Jazzy was “Stoopid” for putting her hand in the car to pat the dog (which she didn’t). The woman kept saying “stoopid, stoopid, stoopid” to Jazzy and telling her how dangerous it was to pat a dog that you don’t know in a car.
Jazzy tried to explain that she hadn’t touched the dog (Kylah and Rohan – who are both utterly incapable of lying backed this up) and she was just looking but the woman kept going on and on. Poor Jaz. She had tears in her eyes. Rather than spending the afternoon running around the beautiful property and jumping on the trampoline she stayed inside the unit, too scared to go out incase she saw that woman again.
I’m not fabulous at confrontations and know better than to argue with a French person. So I just told my kids to stay away from her and her car. The dog remained in the car all night while the woman was at the pub which made my children feel very sad.
After this experience I had no desire to go down and make friends with anyone. The unit was nice and clean but very small. I spent most of the night googling ways I could import pocket coffee and Choc Ovo bars to Australia and ways to make myself a popular travel blogger.
I don’t want to be a popular travel blogger so I can get free stuff. I merely want to be able to say with absolute conviction that I am “a popular travel blogger” whenever I get really bad service, like in the case of our experience at Cafe de l’Opera (https://nobeladventures.com/2018/07/11/paris-day-2). I am still seething at the manager of that cafe’s treatment of Isabelle and I have never been more determined to become internet popular than I am now. There seems to be no correlation between real life popularity (which I have never really experienced) to internet popularity. The amount of duck faced, pimply teenagers who don’t understand the difference between “then” and “than” and post endless selfies of themselves in a bathroom mirror (without even having the foresight to remove the mess from the background) who have 1000’s of followers is testament to that. If they can get followers for their bad grammar and revealing clothing then surely I can get followers for my ability to reveal the inner workings of my brain and imparting important travel information and reviews of chocolates and toilets.
I was in a shitty mood at myself that night in the French Alps. I kept thinking of things I could have said to the woman or at the very least stuck up for Jazzy. I’m not one of those parents that think my angels are perfect and never do anything wrong. I know they can be turds at times and do the wrong thing and when that happens I like to handle it myself. But I certainly object to other people screaming at my children (unless their life is in danger – like when Rohan was almost run over by taxi’s about 6 times this trip) and calling them “stoopid” over and over.
I channelled my anger instead into spending the night composing emails to the Australian office of Ferrero asking them about importing the Espresso to Go, and also composing an email (IN ITALIAN – WHICH WAS A MAJOR FEAT FOR ME) asking them to either send me some or tell me how I could purchase online, as I could not find anywhere online that stocked them.
My sleep was terrible. It was worse than the previous night where the church bells rang on the hour every hour and I was stuck in a little room with no airflow. I was so deliriously tired that I kept getting up and walking around. Ben said that I was acting like I was drunk and making no sense at all. The party in the downstairs “bar” went on till well past 2:00am and the noise was terrible. It really is such a shame that our experience of the French Alps was a bad one because they truly are a sight to be marvelled at. The next morning we were all very keen to get out of their straight away.
Before I left I spoke to the owner of the cafe/bar/airbnb and told her about the lady with the dog in the car. Ben didn’t see the point in me telling her but I thought she should know as it affected our stay and the woman was a local and a friend of hers. I also mentioned that we couldn’t sleep due to the music and that perhaps she should let people know (especially families) that there may be some noise at night.
I’m fully convinced that the place we stayed is some kind of alternative cult as the password for the wifi was ‘infabriquewetrust’. Who the Hell is Fabrique?? I’m thinking the cult leader. I’m positive that in a few years there will be some big expose on this cult and their treatment of animals and children (dogs should not be left in cars when it’s hot and adults should not yell at other people’s children).