Day 5 – Pilat, Arcachon and Saint Emilion

The day started and l was not ready to be on the bus with everyone! To top it off, when I got on the bus, someone was sitting in my seat! Yes yours truly was really not coping. Fortunately, Shirleen picked up on my anxiety and kindly swapped seats. However, my day turned into a fabulous day where I had so much fun!

First stop was Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune.To this point I had been skeptical – I mean surely if you have seen one sand dune, you’ve seen them all? But no, this sand dune was extremely impressive and had my leg been feeling better I would have climbed those stairs. As is, I nearly did but thought the better of it. Just as well, because we didn’t stop.

By this stage, Shirleen. I had caught up and we decided that we would go back for a wander amongst the shops. For me, that meant coffee and ice-cream – and I had already spotted a place that did sundaes. Both of us ordered and were totally gobsmacked by what we were served! And yes, it was totally delicious. Mine was called Cococabana and lined up to its name!

After that it was off to Arcachon and the city of oysters and muscles and fabulous beaches. 

Shirleen has become a great wandering partner because we can enjoy each other’s company and do our own thing without “needing” do hold each other’s hand. So off we wandered, found some street markets and then food markets. Here we bought a pmmet of strawberries and raspberries and proceeded to eat most of them by the time they were ready to save us. Then we tried finding some fish a chips but to no avail so I settled for quiche legume and an eclair. Of course being a beachside resort I couldn’t resist all the ice-cream shops so we stopped at Sorbet Armour for some ice cream in a cone! Then we were back on the bus and off to saint Emilion.

After a nap on the bus we arrived at Saint Emilion and it was beautiful!

David walked as all down to the town square and as we walked he told us snippets of information using an audio set that has about a 100m range so we can actually wander and still know what the group is up to! Once at the square we got to spend about 40mins wandering around and the place was just beautiful. I managed to find a little artists’ courtyard and found myself a beautiful Scarf! 

Then it was off to Saint Emilion’s hermitage which was a cave dug into the limestone rock and where he lived for 17 years – never coming out! 

We then wandered down through the catacombs where he had been buried and into the church; all of which had been carved into the one piece of rock. It was actually quite phenomenal. Camille our guide was fabulous a extremely knowledgeable. Of course at a later stage the built a clock tower on top of the church and now some of the pillars have to be supported to stop the weight of the tower from crushing the church entirely. Finally we finish and start to head off to the winery tour and tasting. The walk back up through the township was a struggle. No only was I exhausted but my leg a feet were killing me! Now while a Panadol may have helped out somewhat, I wanted to enjoy some wine so l soldiered on!

Once again, in viewing how the wine was made, we got to taste their merlot grapes. They were so sweet any ymmy but for our winery guide, Stacey, they were not sweet enough yet to make wine. The winery we visited was a Grand Cru winery and it grew only merlot and cabernet frane grapes. Again we had a wonderful and informative guide who had us through the underground cellars and explained the process. One of the interesting aspects of all this digging underground here in thewinery and in the church was the fact that the people used the dug out limestone for their buildings and to onsell to others.

I must confess though as interesting as all this was, I was exhausted! All the walking on uneven surfaces & the hills was taking its toll.To be honest I felt rather embarrassed struggling to keep up and was beginning to wonder if I had taken on too much! Yes it was a gruelling day of walking in thick sand in the morning and uneven, hilly cobblestones in the afternoon.

Anyway, still feeling sorry for myself, I managed to stay upright for the tasting! And it was worth it. We were also given a lesson on how to taste wine and with that tasted both their early grape variety and an older grape variety that had been aged as well. The first wine was lovely but the second one was magnificent! After that it was back on the bus and return to Bordeaux. To this point I had loved Arcachon and Saint Emilion. They were beautiful towns and in particular I felt I would love a holiday in Arcachon – aside from being a great beachside resort, these were bike paths everywhere so exploring the area would be quite amazing. At this point I hadn’t really warmed to Bordeaux itself.

Upon our return to Bordeaux I realised that I had better have dinner before I returned to the hotel and David pointed me in the direction of a restaurant or two! Sitting myself down at al lovely street cafe/brassiere, I was just about to order, when Shirleen arrived and she was like, ‘Oh gosh, mark you for saving me! I couldn’t find any take-away and was about to grab something at McDonalds!” Well, we proceeded to have a lovely evening chatting and swapping stories. The beauty about this place was that the meal was simple, and yummy. I had a steak and chips followed by crepe grand marnier and chocolate ice-cream. 

Then as we wandered back to our hotel through the square, we spotted some guys dancing! They reminded me of the style of dancing they did in the “step-up” movies. Sometimes I wondered how they didn’t hurt themselves!

Finally it was sleep time!


  1. Janet – travelling can be a tough and tiring journey at times…but it can lead you to some amazing and wonderful experiences. I’m so happy to read of your wonderful little adventure. You paint such a great picture I feel like I’m there with you all the way – except I’m not getting to enjoy those great sorbets, wines and coffees!! Have fun😀🍷

    Liked by 1 person

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