Monday, 27 June 2016


So there was technically one more day of the festival, but the kids were really wanting to go to the beach and explore (and let's be honest the thought of bulls running in the street kind of petrified me) so we headed to the beach with our shovels and yogurt buckets. After some good playing and chocolate ice cream we hopped in the car and took a drive to the salt flats, it was so beautiful.  Elijah went straight into Archeology mode, fashioned some tools and went to work "mom this is hard work out here in the sun, but someone has to do it" he could have stayed there all week,  he actually teared up when it was time to leave. On our way home we stopped to see some beautiful horses on the side of the road, when I pulled out my camera out they all galloped toward me--movie style--Gavin was so excited. Then we drove pass some bulls (at a distance I prefer) and then a bunch of flamingos...this is when I lost my much excitement!!! Elijah then piped up from the back seat "this is so cool, I never knew we were going on a safari!!" Right?! Then just when I thought things could not possibly get more exciting... the friends Elijah met were driving home in their horse drawn caravan and we passed them!! The kids thought it was so cool to see them on the road! What a day!

Pélerinage Gitan des Saintes Maries -- day two

On the second day of the pilgrimage the statues of Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé were also carried down to the shore. Legend has it that they were sent in a boat from Palestine equipped without sails and destined to perish. Miraculously they made it across the Mediterranean Sea, washing ashore at Sainte-Maries-de-la-Mer (which is where the town gets it name). It was another beautiful procession and the crowd was much smaller so it made for a nice relaxed day. The kids loved the wooden organ that had a bunch of little dogs sitting on it, Elijah put money in the box and the man turned the crank and it played music. They stood in awe for quite some time, and took quite a bit of cajoling to move on. While we were watching the procession there was a group of old style wooden caravans next to us, and the kids fell in love with the pony 'Abel' who pulls one of the caravans. Elijah ended up meeting the daughter who grew up in that caravan and talked her ear off, he was so excited to meet a new friend and has decided that we need to go visit her one day. We spent the rest of the day listening to some more amazing music, playing on the beach and visiting the market one last time (Gavi loved those sparkly shoes)! We went back to the campsite and the kids were in awe as a full pig was roasted on a spit over a huge fire "mom we should eat with them!"  I know right?!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Pélerinage Gitan des Saintes Maries

We all hopped in our little white car, her name is Angelina, and started our journey to the south of France, it was 5:00am. We stopped in a beautiful village and had a breakfast picnic by a beautiful little waterfall and after a quaint little slug filled forrest stroll we continued on our way. We had plans to stop for lunch but the kids both fell asleep so we booked it all the way. We almost ran out of gas, but eventually we made it to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. We checked into our campsite, ate our picnic lunch (for dinner), discovered the beach a bit and called it a night. We came for the big pilgrimage where Roma, Roms, Manouches, Tziganes, Ges du Voyages and other 'gypsies' come from all over to worship Saint Sara. We fell asleep that night to the sound of guitar and rhythmic clapping, we were all completely exhausted. The next day we went to visit Saint Sara, the patron saint of the Roma people, in the crypt below the church and we also perused the festival market that was filled with frilly dresses, sparkly shoes and cookware. The following day was the first day of the pilgrimage, Dan went out early in the morning to catch the mass, hang out with some of the big boss organizers and some bikers-you know the usual. I stayed back at the campsite and the kids played with the neighbours and then we all headed down to the church for the procession. Luckily we ran into some people Dan knew so it was a tad less daunting amongst the mass of people. It was a beautiful procession led by the Guardians (cowboys of the Camargue) on white horses followed by the statue of Saint Sara adorned in beautiful fabric carried by a group of pilgrims all the way down to the sea. There were so many people all around us that we did not even notice we had reached the water until a lady in front of us shrieked that the water was cold! We followed the procession back to the church, with the bells ringing, people singing, music playing it was all pretty incredible. The kids were great, hung out on our shoulders the entire time... Elijah loved seeing Saint Sara and Gavin adored all the guitar music (he actually does a little air guitar performance that is pretty awesome). We returned to our campsite with the intention of staying up to celebrate a bit, but again we just fell asleep to the sound of the amazing music. Well can you blame us, we had to do it all again the next day...which will be my next post.