Into the Ibis

(Our new home…)

We are in our room at the Ibis hotel in Niort. The room is bigger than Ruby and the toilet doesn’t need to be emptied. There is hot water, a shower and the high point: a bath! I am cleaner than I’ve been for 72 days. This is the life. Although we do miss a kitchen.

(Not McDonald’s breakfast…)

We’ve had breakfast and lunch in McDonalds and we went to a restaurant in the French chain, Au Coutelle for a snack. Which turned out to be a bit more complicated than we imagined. We spotted a lovely sounding platter of meats and patês.

(These wildflowers are everywhere)

They take the drinks orders first and Denis ordered a glass of wine while I had a mint juice drink. Then the very young food waiter arrived and we told him we would just have the platter, between us. He was a little taken back and asked hadn’t Denis ordered a drink? We agreed yes he indeed had.

(Can’t get enough of the blue)

Fortunately he spoke the next bit in English because it was getting a little complicated. “Oh you must have a main course meal if you have alcohol” Denis looked at me and I looked back, well that’s interesting, we were saying, in silence. More food? Less alcohol? Denis picked the second. I said, Stop the alcohol order and he (literally) ran to the kitchen.

(Old mile marker)

Very soon he arrived back and said he had talked to his supervisor and it was ok but… (looking at Denis and holding up one finger) you can only have one! Denis promised he would only have one. One small glass of wine was produced. The platter was indeed very good.

(There was a bread machine in Benet too)

It’s funny what you miss when you’re just visiting… there may be a particular alcohol license that requires a full meal? Or this chain is concerned about food intake versus alcohol intake? Orwell, I don’t know what else…

Learning the customs, Mairead.