Monday, August 12, 2019

Europe 2019: Trip Notes # 4

Europe: 2019 Trip Notes # 4

We are now experts at "Re-calculating" (GPS and "Driver" issues), round abouts and trying to find a parking space.  On these types of trips, "going with the flow" is paramount.

Trying to figure out the parking machines is a lengthy process. It is even difficult for the French to figure out how to use the machines.

It took about 20 minutes for about five French drivers to figure out how to buy a parking ticket.

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Today's emphasis was visiting the historical town of St. Emilion and checking out nearby wine tasting areas.

St. Emilion is built on a series of hills. Walking up and down the many irregular steps and trying to navigate uneven stone steps in the alleyways was a chore. 

Lots Of Steps - No OSHA Around Here!
The Temperature Was Probably In The 90's. Walking Down And Climbing Back Up To The Top Deserved A Needed Rest

Taking a walking tour literally opened up areas that were not available to the public. 

Timbered House

Stepping Back Into Time

Small churches as well as a colossal (Monolithic) church were built underground  - below the town.  Below pictures --> Church At Street Level 

                                                         One of the churches encouraged visitors to try an alternative to lighting candles: We hammered small nails or tacks into a log

Catacombs were carved out of the rock below the street level to be used as burial sites for the wealthy and church hierarchy. This Area Is Probably 75-100 Feet Underground 

 Heavy Duty Metalwork/Brackets Had To be Designed To Hold Up Pillars And Ceilings Which Happen To be The Floors Of Homes And Businesses 

 Church Altar 

Picnic Time
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Wine tasting in this area can be touristy or special. 

Unique Carafes

Art Made From Wine Barrels

 We skipped "chateaus" that had long lines of people and parking lots full of cars. Regardless, all of the grounds are beautiful.

Then, there was the opposite. We stumbled onto a chateau that was unique. The wine maker told us that the newer part of the chateau was built in the 1700's The original building was built in the 1400's!

We ended the day at a chateau that was - special. We were fortunate to meet "Bridgette" - fifth generation family member. She has a fascinating family history. One of her ancestors migrated to Mexico during the "Maximilian  and Carlota era." There were eight children. Some of them returned (as adults?) to France. Bridgette still has French (and of course Spanish) speaking cousins living in Mexico. 

It was late afternoon. Following the wine tasting and talking to another couple, it was clear that there was "chemistry" going on. Bridgette asked us to wait a minute. After a few minutes, she brought out another bottle. This wine was purported to be "very special." The wine was slowly poured into a carafe. We were told that the wine needed to breathe. 

Following a tour of her facility, she told us that the wine needed another few hours. 

We had to head back to Bordeaux. However, we did taste this "special" wine. It was good but (for our taste and since the wine was not quite ready to drink), we bought a different type of wine.
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On our way back to Bordeaux, we stopped at a Carrefour - a chain market. It was time again to stock up on food. Based on neighborhoods and size of town, this market chain has different store sizes. The market that we stopped at was GIGANTIC. A picture cannot capture the immense size. 

 Ten COSTCO's Would Easily Fit Inside This Store 

Jerry Continues His Study Of Manholes

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