Thursday, May 29, 2014

Flashback Friday: WWOOFING in France

To kick off my first solo travel adventure and summer in Europe I went to WWOOF in the south of France. I was living with a family about 40 minutes outside of Toulouse. I picked my family because I wanted a quiet secluded and authentic farm experience in France. I had a friend join me there which was really nice!

Our family picked us up at the Toulouse airport and then drove us down to their farm.

We spent the next 3.5 weeks living in a barn behind the families Yurt. It was very quaint and old fashioned but it was a good way for life to be. Showers were few and far between. There wasn't much internet, and the toilet was a bucket.

The family was fabulous with 2 little girls (and 3 year old and 1 year old). Salome and Noemi were so funny and entertaining. Although they took quite a while to warm up to us we really enjoyed having them to play with.

Our days started at 8 with breakfast down at the house. Then we would go work in the fields from 9-1 (about 4 hours of work per day). The work varied. Sometimes we were planting seeds. We did a lot of weeding of the carrot beds, harvesting peas and radishes, planting potatoes, and other various jobs. The work was not really hard but actually pretty fun and satisfying as a simple daily activity to keep us active and learn about permeculture and organic farming.

After work we would sit down for lunch, then take a siesta. Since this area is so close to spain, they are very big on afternoon naps so we all participated in those. They were a nice part of the day when it was so hot outside. After naps. cara and I would usually meet Salome at the bus station and then go for long meandering walks through the countryside for made 1-2 hours in the early evening. The views seriously never got old...

After that it was time to head down to the house. Usually dinner was served around 7-8 but we would always spend time helping out and playing with the kids. We often babysat for them in the evenings or late afternoon if the parents had other things to be doing.

Dinner was usually a long a fabulous affair, with cheese, bread, yogurt, salad, tea, etc. Cheese (Camembert) was Salome's favorite. She LOVED the stuff.

Dinner went on for quite awhile.  After dinner was chatting and then we were off to bed to prepare for the next day.

On the weekends we didn't work. Two of the weekends they drove us into Toulouse so we could walk around and explore, and even GO shopping which was a luxury. We even spent the night there one night which was really fun. We stayed with some of their close friends.

Cara and I cooked dinner for them one night a week. One night we even cooked hamburgers because they wanted something American. Salome had the funniest reaction to eating her first hamburger (it barely fit in her mouth!)

We went to visit some kind of donkey farm one day as well and rode donkeys and explore. Salome picked me an amazing bouquet of flowers which was precious. She was a doll. 

Mostly the days were just filled with simplicity. We played, worked, and practiced our french. It was definitely a simple country life and exactly what I wanted.

If anyone is curious about WWOOF or any of the process let me know. I had a very positive first WOOFing experience and would definitely do it again if I get the chance or have the time.

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