Wine country

Bordeaux Travel Blog

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Detail of monument in Bordeaux's Esplanade des Quinconces.

Darryn and I had discussed where to next more vigorously than we had previously or did again.  He wanted to head to Bordeaux and drink some wine whereas I wanted to take shorter steps through the country thinking our next stop could be Le Mans.  I've said before, it's all new to me so I didn't press for too long and we found a train to take us to the famous wine region. 
  Upon our arrival into the city Darryn made the comment he thought it was going to be a little village in the midst of rolling hills covered in vines.  It certainly wasn't that and although Bordeaux didn't have the frenetic pace of Paris it was a good sized city compared to what we'd imagined.

Part of the impressive monument in the Esplanade des Quinconces.

Once we'd settled into the YHA we headed out to see what the place was all about.  Some of the interesting things we found over the next couple of days are what I consider in my mind to be typically French.  I guess I say that because we really only explored two French cities during this month away, Paris was Paris for all it's famous places to see and Bordeaux was the other side of France where we just experienced the way of life for a few days.

One of the first things we found was a market in full swing.  The place was buzzing with townfolks buying and selling everything from livestock to books.  I love these kinds of events and the collector in me had me wishing I could buy up a wagonload of curiosities and ship them all back home.  The trouble with that of course, home is NZ and I already had all my worldly possessions boxed-up in my folks attic so I had to resist the temptation of finding more junk.
What a way to travel! Bordeaux market
  One thing I did buy though was a small umbrella for the frequent showers we encountered -how boringly practical!

Whilst I was fascinated by the artifacts in the market; ancient grandfather clock carcases, delicate porceline figurines and marble book-ends; Darryn was more interested in the farmers market where the food seemed to be only a short disance along it's path to the table.  One of the stalls was selling live chickens from bamboo cages.  As people peered into the cluster of cluckers they'd select the one for their table and the moustachioed trader would thrust his hand into the mix and draw out some loudly squawking bird.  What a facinating thing for a couple of Kiwi boys whose poultry typically comes wrapped in cling film!

Once again we spent our three nights in the YHA so we took three days to wander the city and see what life was all about in this neck of the woods.
One man's junk is another man's treasure.
  Our orange travel guide warned us that we should avoid the easy trap of eating bread and cheese three times a day but we realised here that it was a very easy trap to fall into indeed. 
  The breakfast at the YHa was bread and cheese but we had to live with that.  Out and about at lunchtime we tried to mix it up by buying a tomato or some ham to go with our baguette and fromage.  I'd only been away from NZ for a couple of months but I was already missing a good filled roll and "Big Ben" pie. 
  Dinners cooked at the YHA were typically pasta or fry-ups.  We had a long way to go and the money had to last.  It was for this reason that we stuck to our rule of no alcohol except for Saturday night, even though there was a vending machine in the kitchen that dispensed bottles of great tasting Spanish beer.
Anyone for chicken?!

Bordeaux city centre was easy to wander around so this is where we spent our time.  The YHA and the train station well placed with just a short hike with backpacks between the two.

As we explored the place we found the streets were a minefield of dog-droppings.  As much as we wanted to keep our eyes up and enjoy the magnificence of the gothic catherdrals etc we found we were constantly on the look-out for safe places to step.  Both of us suffered a badly placed boot and I challenge anyone to return from a day in the city with a clean sole.
We also enjoyed the frequent green spaces of the parks.  Sitting on a bench in the shade of a tree, we watched well-dressed children playing in the grass and a group of old men tossing steel balls away into the dust.
The big game.
  We'd never seen this game before so we asked them all about it and know now that it's called Obut, bowl without the bowling.  Since then NZ has embraced the game although here it's played more on gravel that the hard clay which would see the ball sit  more quickly for sure.

Our next stop was to be Spain.  We had found France way more expensive than we had expected and the week had made more of an impact on our cash than we were satisfied with.  We knew Spain was cheaper so we intended to spend more time there than we had in France.
  In the station awaiting our train, Darryn was off doing something when I noticed a girl sitting opposite was staring at me.  I gave her a smile and a cheery greeting and she introduced herself as Kate from Canada.
Gare Saint-Jean Waiting for our train to Spain.
  She had noticed my orange book and knew I spoke english.  We chatted about where we were heading and when we discovered we were all heading to Madrid she asked if we'd mind her traveling with us.  I didn't mind at all, nor did Darryn so the three of us borded our train and we were off to our next country.

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Detail of monument in Bordeauxs E…
Detail of monument in Bordeaux's …
Part of the impressive monument in…
Part of the impressive monument i…
What a way to travel!
Bordeaux ma…
What a way to travel! Bordeaux m…
One mans junk is another mans tr…
One man's junk is another man's t…
Anyone for chicken?!
Anyone for chicken?!
The big game.
The big game.
Gare Saint-Jean
Waiting for our t…
Gare Saint-Jean Waiting for our …
photo by: anywien