Tuesday 1 June 2010

Of countryside, old cottages and B&Bs

We have been recently planning our holidays, my wife and I. We both need one. As I said here, it seems that these holidays will be inland-based (no beach in sight this year). It also appears that they will be on the countryside rather than urban. That is an important distinction.

I am a naturally urban person, as I mentioned often on this blog. I have never been all that fond of weekend getaways in cottages (in Québec we call them chalets) and similar things. I can appreciate it, but at small doses. Maybe it is age, but I find myself inclined to appreciate rural environment, at least on an irregular basis. I wouldn't live in a cottage, but I am all very happy to spend a weekend or even a week there.

I remember going to L'Anse-Saint-Jean for autumn and summer breaks with my family. In autumn, the colours were beautiful and of course there was great atmosphere. I was a little more bored during summertime as I would often have rather been in our swimming pool. We usually spent time in rented cottages (there were loads in the area), made traditional food and that was quite fun. Now in England they also have old buildings and a much longer history, which add to the charm.

When one visits little places, especially when they are remote, one has to consider lodging in a bed and breakfast. We might do it, it would be a way to reconciliate ourselves with B&Bs. We did not always have good experiences with them. When we went to the wedding of my wife's childhood friend, my future wife, my future sister in law and I spent the night before and after in a "rustic" B&B that had been recommended to us. It was dreadful. The place was in a remote waste land, or at least it felt like it, the landlord was cold, inquisitive (he asked to see my passport after knowing I was a foreigner, I curtly refused) and barely polite. We got greeted with the usual tea and coffee, but straight away the old man asked us what we would have for breakfast. When I told him I would have the traditional English breakfast without bacon (I don't like English bacon as I find too close to ham) he said "What, you don't like bacon?" So they were not exactly hospitable. When I first came in this town, we spent nearly a month in B&Bs, trying to find a place. The experience was difficult for us. Living in ordinary houses, not on holidays, having to deal with the stress of finding a place, it put us off B&Bs.

So this summer might be the occasion to try B&Bs again, in much different circumstances. Surrounded by English countryside and in old houses, it will be a different and hopefully enjoyable, experience.

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