Today we headed off to Bordeaux via the TVG: the fast train and yes we travelled over 300km/hr. Once again over the trip I enjoyed some wonderful experiences communicating with some French people. One guy even persisted in making me learn a French phrase and then promptly thanked me in English! Rather than being affronted, it felt like he really valued my attempts to learn even a little bit of French andmy openness to be corrected and to practice until I got it right. My next companion, after he alighted was a beautiful, young French woman, Estelle. We enjoyed a wonderful conversation learning about each other! Her favourite wine is a Chenin Blanc which is mainly grown around her home region. Clearly that is one variety I have not learnt to appreciate in the Australian variety. Apparently it is a very versatile variety that can be used to produce a sweet or dry wine. I do hope I get to taste one before I leave France. Estelle was heading off to Ferira Dax – a bull-fighting festival in Dax where everybody wears red and white. Sitting around us we heaps of scouts – teenage girls and boys who were clearly off to a jamboree or camp. At the beginning of the trip they were rowdy and cheerful, excited and very polite. About half way into the trip after they’d eaten their food, they all fell asleep and suddenly it seemed that Estelle and I were the only ones chatting!
Reaching Bordeaux it was great to get off the train and finally it felt like summer in France! While waiting for our rooms to be ready the bus took us on a tour around the city of Bordeaux.
The city is actually beautiful and along the river bank they have developed a great spot for people to wander. We saw a very large square with a massive column and statues. To be honest driving around Bordeaux it felt like I was in Spain – not that I’d know what it’s like to be in Spain! Also as we were driving around, we drove past the street, Rue Catherine which our English guide, David described it as similar to High street shopping strips in England. Now you must realise that all my time in Paris, I have barely seen a crowd of people. After all it is August and the French are on holidays! So you will have to imagine my very open reaction to the idea of going shopping down Catherine street when from one side to the next and from one end to the other it was filled with ‘bumper-to-bumper’, people! David burst out laughing and came back with an ‘or not’ kind of response. Arriving at the hotel I promptly went up to my room and fell asleep. Je suis tres fatigue!
Of course after waking, I did venture at on the streets and discovered that Bordeaux has its own Notre Dame where as I was walking through the entrance I fell into the arms of a beautiful young man! And yes, quite literally I had not calculated the small step ahat was sitting there and fell forward almost losing my balance- and voila! There was someone there ao stop the fall. Of course, I was so embarrassed I very quickly apologised , thanked him and kept walking-and of course, laughing to myself about what had happened – I think he was just as shocked as me! Anyway the church was beautiful and I also found a beautiful painting of St Therese of Liseaux (sp?).
After that I joined with the others and we went off to dinner. We enjoyed a sumptuous dinner where I sat beside Ed and his daughter Catherine (Canadian), opposite Shirleen (NZ) and John and Anne (Sydney, Australia). Great food – pork froi gras, tomato salad and duck followed by creme bruillee – fabulous conversations, delectable wines topped off with dessert and coffee.
As we walked home to the hotel, we Walked though the square between the Grand Theatre and the Grand Hotel. I must admit I could sit there for hours it was such a hive of activity without being overly busy.