Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beautiful Bordeaux!

Sunday morning, our glorious breakfast buffet got massacred by the ravenous hungry students in the group (including myself). In Paris, our hotel was what they call an apart'hotel where we had kitchenettes and were able to make some of our own meals. At the hotel in Bordeaux however, no kitchenettes so that means big ("free") breakfast! And let me tell you, the array of foods is incredible. Fresh fruit, cereal, croissants (of course), chocolate croissants, cheese (they're serious about their cheese in this country), juices, cold cuts (ham and salami and such), yogurt, nutella, preserves, toast and rolls...oh my!

Around noon, I met Debbie (my dissertation committee member and former professor who recruited me to actually come on the trip) and "the crew" for a trip to a local winery through the local tourist office. We headed to a winery called Chateau Laniote just outside of St. Emilion, deep in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region. The proprietor spoke to the group in French and then English and was quite an amusing fellow - he did magic tricks in addition to describing how the wine is made there. They actually had a pretty neat video that showed the whole process from start to finish, which he narrated in, again, English and French. It wasn't a huge operation, but it sure was neat to see. Photos from the tour can be found here. As we were inside, the sun started to come out! The afternoon turned gorgeous...

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday meant classes in the morning and various activities in the afternoon. With Tuesday came a visit to another winery...bummer huh? Chateau Pedesclaux was a bit bigger than the first winery in St. Emilion and it was neat to go with our group and have just us on the tour. We managed to behavor ourselves rather well throughout the tour of the facility and the tasting - whew! The day was warm and sunny again and lots and lots of photos were taken. Several of our group member bought wine - I declined because I'm still not thrilled about the idea of trekking it to Lyon and Paris...I have been told though that I'd better bring some wine back, so I guess I'll have to invest at some point...

Today after class, my pal Ingrid and I went into town to find a place where she could cash her traveler's cheques (increasingly it's difficult to find places who will cash them - ATMs are everywhere and so the need for cheques is decreasing, as are places to cash them!) and took Bordeaux's excellent tram system to the main post office across town. Upon returning to the hotel, we ate a bit of lunch and then packed up and headed over to do some laundry - I was desperate, being on my last set of clean clothing!

After laundry and a rest, we set out for our second group dinner - we have one in each of the towns we stop in (one in Paris at the beginning and another one at the end of the trip). Tomorrow means another long coach ride to Lyon...lots of naps and music is in my future for the day!

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