Last week I shared the first half of our Eurocamp Diary, telling the story of our stay at the Domaines Des Ormes parc in Brittany, Northern France. In this post I pick up the story from midway through our stay and share a video of our week…
We wake up to torrential rain and head to the pool for the kids swimming lessons, splashing through the puddles in our flip flops. It’s 9am and we seem to be the only ones who are up. Alice loves the water and the wetsuit we’ve been loaned by Rachel means we don’t worry about her getting chilly, although there’s still a mad dash from the covered pool through an outside temperature corridor to the changing rooms, but the showers are hot, thank heavens!
Before we leave camp we stop in at reception to get directions for the local goods shop and discover to our dismay that it’s closed after a fire! Undeterred we decide to head to St Malo anyway discovering on the way that our Morris Minor leaks in places we never knew possible. We have lunch at a steak restaurant next to the closed shop and both kids are so tired from all the activities this week that we decide to abandon plans to go to the Aquarium across the road and head back to Domaine Des Ormes via the local supermarket.
We go to reception to report the broken loo again and as it’s unstaffed we leave a message for them. As there’s no bath in the Esprit, Alice has been getting washed in the kitchen sink, a right of passage for every baby and she seems to enjoy it.
Once she’s in bed, Jim and I enjoy a €2.50 bottle of local red wine and show Theo the basics of how to play Scrabble. He really enjoys this focussed time with us and I’m so grateful we have decided not to pay for a week’s wi-fi pass, though having used 3G again today to get to St Malo, Jim gets to use his remaining time online to watch a video of a dog standing up in a swimming pool.
Grey skies, but it’s dry! After breakfast we head to the pool for our 9am Learn To Swim lesson with Rachel. The classes are a little optimistically titled and I think would be better off being called something like “Water Babies : Fun sessions in the pool for non-swimmers” to help modify expectations. Jim seriously expected to see some kind of identifiable progress in 3 days which of course hasn’t happened.
After swimming Theo is booked in for a free kids club session called “Show Time” it’s really popular and some children are turned away when they reach maximum capacity, but Theo gets a place which means nearly 4 hours of free childcare for us. He spends the time making a glittery mask which seems to keep him happy even if the promised “show” for the parents at 1:30pm is a little all over the place. Four minutes watching a performance of Taylor Swift by four primary age kids can seem like a lifetime.
After lunch, we decide to see if Theo can do the high wire adventure course and discover there is a slot free in 10 minutes. It costs €9.50 and lasts an hour. It’s brilliant value for money and I’m really impressed by the young French instructor who manages to be patient and humorous with all the children whilst instilling enough confidence for them to tackle the course on their own.
Back at the cabin we do another barbecue and Theo finds his little friend next door to play with. They sit on the grass opposite playing games and colouring. We start chatting with his parents and before we know it we’re sitting on their deck drinking red wine.
It’s a good chance to see first hand what the more luxurious Avant style home has to offer. We are rather envious of their large covered deck which comes into its own when it starts to rain, they also have their bathroom in one room!
Everyone has a lie in and we miss our last early swimming session. We have a round of golf booked on the pitch and putt at 10:30am and we embrace the challenge of playing the game with two children in tow! Fortunately there is no one following us and we have the five holes to ourselves. We’ve brought clubs with us and Alice is happy enough crawling around the greens.
Whilst we play we notice an astonishing thing, the weather is warming up! Not just slightly, but to proper balmy Mediterranean temperatures. So after lunch we decided to spend our final afternoon swimming. There’s an outside pool in the centre of the parc that is only open from 2pm so we head there. It’s buzzing with holidaymakers and kids enjoying the variety of bridges and slides.
Alice has a last splash around in her borrowed wet suit before we hand it back and Jim and I reflect on our week at Eurocamp. It’s been a surprisingly good family holiday despite the disappointing weather and I really feel I’ve switched off, which can sometimes be hard to achieve on a short trip.
We loved the variety and affordability of the activities on offer and have already discussed returning next year. In a world that seems to be always on, Eurocamp gave us something like the old fashioned holidays I had as a kid in the eighties. No tv, lots of family time and the bare minimum of internet connectivity. It wasn’t perfect, no one ever came back to us about the broken loo and the Eurocamp staff who are all quite young, often lack the direction and authority needed to get things done, but if you can relax and accept that as part of the package, there is something special to be found here that is more than the sum of its parts.
The return journey
Our return crossing is a daytime one, the service is running a little late, so we board at about 11am and decide to take advantage of discounted room rates during the day and book a Commodore Class cabin which is more spacious than the one in which we made our outward crossing. Theo loves it and it means Alice has somewhere to sleep and crawl around for the next few hours.
Once again we take it in turns to stay in the cabin or explore the boat and at about 5pm uk time, we hear our arrival has been delayed by an hour and a half. We put Alice down to bed again and she gets a good couple of hours sleep before we dock, making the £70 we paid for the cabin well worth while.
We stayed at Domaine Les Ormes in Brittany for 6 nights between 17th-23rd June in a 3 bed 1 bathroom Esprit mobile home. Our package included towel and linen hire, welcome pack and essentials pack would have cost £476.60. Brittany Ferries crossing from Portsmouth to St Malo costs approximately £500 return with 4 berth outside cabin for the overnight leg.
Expenses during the trip excluding shopping : Pizzas x2 from takeaway on parc : €17, Pony trek €10, kids high wire adventure €9.50, zip wire €6, pitch and putt €6 per adult
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