Phew. What an amazing fortnight.

Last time out here on the blog I wrote about the benefits of having a holiday, and I have written about my love of camping before, as well as the benefits of and my love for family time, so I’m not going to repeat all of those things here – but all were at play this past fortnight; camping, travelling and adventure time with my family. I had thought that I might post a few pics along the way, but in the end opted to have a complete social media and internet blackout while I was away, so I could connect with my family, not be distracted and enjoy everything fully, and also felt that I needed a bit of a digital detox. Go read about having a digital detox here. Instead, I thought I’d share some pictures in a single blog entry to those that are interested.

Soooo….. I’m in the office catching up today, yes indeed, on a beautifully sunny Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK, I catching up with emails and getting prepared to open the doors for the new academic year tomorrow here, so today I thought I’d give a small, brief account of what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks and share a few photos before the blog gets back up and running as of tomorrow…

Our beloved VW van got packed to the brim! And I was going to be doing a lot of driving (a total of 1500 miles in all)…..

We drove to Dover and stopped the night in a hotel there as our crossing on the boat was early morning and my children being so young would not have coped with a 3am drive to the port. We woke early and with everything packed up in the van, we readied to leave the white cliffs of Dover and head out to Dunkirk, my van is the 6th member of our family, we love him.

We then drove to the beautiful city of Metz. We explored the city, enjoyed it’s pavement cafés, saw the cathedral and enjoyed the sunshine.

Next up, we drove to the campsite where we would be spending most of our time, down in the Alsace, just outside the stunning town of Colmar.

It has beautiful streets, rivers, creameries (oh, I ate plenty of those) and cheese shops, ahem, fromageries.

On that theme, we ate and drank very well throughout our holiday. The French really know how to eat and drink, I must say. Whether it is BBQ steak and Chateaux neuf du Pape al fresco at our tent….

Or Chantilly cream and caramel custard filled eclairs (I had to take a bite before taking a picture)…..

I just loved the cheese, the bread, the saussignon sec, the local wines, the pastries, and everything in between.

We enjoyed a horse ride through Colmar and found out that the man who designed the Statue of Liberty came from there as there was a small version of the statue on the outskirts of town.

Our campsite had a great swimming pool and splash park, so we got to spend plenty of time lazing in the sun and swimming for hours on end, my kids have such an appetite for the swimming pool, they barely got out of it when we were there.

We also travelled into the mountains to Gerardmer where we had an incredibly hairy drive up and through the mountains – you know the kinds of roads where you worry that if you sneezed, you’d all fall down the side of the narrow road with the sheer drop down the side! It was stunning scenery, here is the lake we were travelling to from a viewpoint on the mountain, the lake is slightly obscured by trees and my massive grinning head:

We arrived at the lake and went paddle boarding with mountains for a backdrop, the photos just don’t do it justice, it was spectacular and I took my kids out on the board and around parts of the outside of the lake and saw some of Gerardmer from the viewpoint of the lake.

A few days later, we drove towards Paris and stayed on a different campsite on the outskirts of the city. We got to visit a rare lake with it’s own beaches, and yes, we cracked out a pair of inflatable unicorns to add to the ambience, because that’s the kind of people we are….

Then it was time for a change of scene as we headed to Disneyland. We watched the stunt show, the Princess dancing show, the Stormtroopers march… We went on the Peter Pan Ride, the Buzz Lightyear laser blast, It’s a Small World and so much more….

We stayed right to the end and watched the full illuminations show marking the 25th anniversary of the park, it was a real highlight for me, just spectacular and awe-inspiring. Not just the fireworks and fountains firing off in the background….

But also the playing of the Star Wars clip with really loud music upon the Castle… Put one BIG smile on my face, I can tell you…

Before we knew it, we were back on a boat and heading back to England. Of course, there was so much that went on in between and besides, but this is a brief report…. I now feel invigorated, refreshed and ready for action.

The doors will be swinging wide open for the new academic year here as of tomorrow and boy do we have some great things to share and do, watch this space.