Tomorrow it has been six weeks since we arrived to Bruges. Time certainly flies, since it doesn’t feel that long at all!
Everything comes to an end sometime and tomorrow we will head towards Villereal and the farm house which will be our home for at least for one year. VERY exiting 🙂 During our stay here we have experienced so much more than expected. In good and bad. We have managed to get french subscriptions to our mobile. We have sent registration papers for Charlie to start a company included a visit in to an office that handles them. We have been in local recycling centre (that was interesting, you have to drive on to a platform on very steep slope and then throw the junk we had over the metal fence in a container that was under). And when Charlie got ill, we went to a doctor, he had x-ray, blood test and urine test taken. (He is very well now, thanks to a brilliant health care system). We have ordered oil to be delivered to the house and also sorted out internet and telephone connections there.
We have explored Bordeaux few times and it is such a lovely city! You wouldn’t get disappointed if you paid a visit, I’m sure. There is so much to see that one week wouldn’t be enough to manage it all.
We have got to know all the neighbours in Rue Des Magnolias, had a wonderful “Aperitive” out together one evening and given and received many many cheek kisses left and right 🙂
This will be the last post to this category since we wouldn’t be “On the road” any longer. After we have settled to our new home, I will start a new category to tell about life in French country side.
Love and hugs for all of you from both of us!
I also want to thank Lotta, Régis and the family for the hospitality and all the help they have given, we couldn’t have managed without you!!! Hope to see you soon again 🙂
Vive la France!!!
Couple of weeks ago we went to Bordeaux centre with Lotta to have girls night out. First we went to “Hammam Institute Feminin”, a Turkish bath-house for women. We had booked a treatment called “Gommage au Savon Noir”. When we arrived to the place we first spent an hour or so in the warm steam sauna and then we were sprayed with the “black soap” (which wasn’t actually black at all) and then we waited about half an hour in the steam. It was so hot in there that we had to exit couple of times to the corridor to get some fresh air! Little bit embarrassing, being Finnish and all….
Then a lady came to rinse off the soap and then she scrubbed our bodies all over with a rough cloth to remove all dead skin. After the treatment my skin was so soft and I felt cleaner than I thought it was even possible.
As a result of the hot steam, I looked like I had played squash for two hours without a break! I was red as a crab and sweated like a pig. Not so very attractive I suppose, but clean 🙂
After the visit to the Hammam, we went into a Sisha-bar to have a cup of tea and smoke apple flavored Sisha tobacco. It is a water pipe they traditionally use in many arab countries.
We then finished the evening with a super gorgeous dinner! I had mussels for a starter and duck for main course. Afterwards we walked by the river in Bordeaux joining hundreds of people who were out enjoying the warm and lovely evening…
What would a journey be without some whoopsies?
When we were on our way to Bordeaux and we were looking for a place to stay for night in Balma, we found a nice looking hotel called “Hotel De Ville”. We parked the car and went inside and asked if they had any rooms available for one night. The lady in the reception was very polite and said that they don’t, but she gave us two addresses to other hotels nearby. We thought that she got scared of our somewhat scruffy looks and wanted us to go elsewhere.
We found another place to stay and we learned much later that “Hotel de Ville” is not a hotel. It is actually a town hall/ city hall 🙂
I bet the lady had a good laugh with her colleagues when she told about us, probably told them that “we had couple of “those” again..
Another whoopsie was that every time we went driving somewhere from Bruges with Charlie and we weren’t sure which road to take in order to find our way back, we figured that the sign that says “Rocade” and has a picture that looks like an arena, is the right way to take us back home. It wasn’t always the shortest way and rarely the same way than previously. Perhaps because we were told that “Rocade” is the big ring way that goes around whole Bordeaus city 🙂
There are lot of roundabouts here, which is nice since they work smoother than traffic lights. (most of the time). Here in Bruges they have been decorated with different figures. We have given the roundabouts many new names. “Make up your mindabouts”, “What the hell are you talkingabouts”, “Find your way aroundabouts”, “Second thoughtabouts” and so on. It is easy to get confused with the directions here 🙂
The day after we went to the great dunes in Dune du Pylat. It is a sand due that is around 110 metres high, 500 metres wide and 2700 metres wide. First you climb about hundred steps up and then you reach the dunes. Obviously we wanted to do the whole thing so we climbed up and started walking forward. Very fresh and eager as you can be. The thing is that we really didn’t have a great deal of water with us and it was close to 30 degrees warm. We soldered on almost the whole way before heading down to the seashore. That was really hard job too, believe it or not. It seems easy to go downwards, but actually some distance that seems like 100 metres, takes about 20 minutes to accomplish. When we got down to the beach it felt so relieving, it took me a second or so to take off my clothes and dive in to the water to cool down! We soon realised though that in order to get back to the car, we need to climb up to the dunes again! I swear I thought I can’t make it since all the muscles in my legs were like jelly and without water it felt impossible to get back up. We did it all the same and when we got first up to the dunes and back the stairs, we went to the very first bar and we drank 1.5 litres of water in less than 10 minutes 🙂
We loved every minute of it and we decided to come back the next day 🙂 Only difference that we drove to Pyla s/ Mer and avoided climbing up the dunes and only walked the seashore to get to the beach. We had all the part of the beach for only for us and we spent a whole day just fishing and sunbathing and eating lovely lunch, cooling out in the sea every now ad then. My kind of holiday-day!
We went for a little miniholiday to Arcachon with Charlie. First we drove there with two cars, spent the first day with Lotta and the family relaxing by the beach. We had booked a room from hotel Altica for three nights and during our stay we made many trips to lovely places close by.
After we had checked in the hotel we showered and headed to the town to have dinner. We found a nice restaurant called “Chiperon” and we had such a lovely dinner with deep fried muscles, squid rings, fried fresh anchovies followed by duck for Charlie and bloody steak for me. All flushed down with local red wine of course. At nine o’clock it was still 23 degrees and the bill wasn’t excessive either, success 🙂
We did another day trip today to explore more of the Bordeaux wine region. We drove through the Médoc district and we passed probably one hundred “Chateau’s” and miles and miles of vineyards. This is the time of the year that they are picking the grapes and we saw crowds of people in the fields with baskets tied on their backs. We talked that it would have been so cool to work couple of weeks in a vineyard as a grape picker, but we are little bit too late for this year. Let’s see if we get to try that next year instead.
First castle we saw was “Château D’Agassac” and they produce a Médoc wines that are advertised to be for example “Devilishly Bordeaux”. The vineyards of this Château were so huge that it was like looking to the ocean without being able to see the shore, but only with vines.
From there we drove to the area where they produce some of the most expensive wines there is. Château Mouton Rothschild is the only estate to achieve promotion under the Official 1855 Classification of Médoc and Graves. Two years prior to the classification, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild bought the property. Unfortunately the estate is under large renovation and we weren’t able to get a picture.
After driving quite a long time we got so hungry that we really didn’t want to go around looking for castles anymore before eating something. When we arrived to St Laurent Médoc it was so late that we had missed French lunch time and most places were closed. What does an englishman and a finnjävel do when they are desperate? They are off to McDonalds….almost too shameful to admit but that is what we did. “Lunch” at 16.30 in Macdidlidoodles…USCH!
Here is one more Château we saw:
We made a trip to Saint Emilion village, which is located only 43km from here. It is the oldest wine area of the Bordeaux region. They produce over 36 million bottles of wine each year and the wine is considered the most robust of the Bordeaux. The town is nowadays part of the world heritage and that is easy to understand after visiting the old monolith church, which was carved out of a massive limestone rock in 11th century. The church is not visible from outside since it is underground and only the bell tower can be seen from the village.
There are hundreds of vineyards surrounding the village and in the whole valley. It is the time of the year that they just start picking the grapes and all the vines are so heavy from the fruit.
Saint-Émilion can be discovered quite easily by foot in a short time but there is so much to see. There are one wine shop after another where you can taste local wines and there a many wine cellars which welcome you to go in and have a look how they produce and store the wine.
Finally we had a wonderful lunch in a Galette bar. Galette’s are very thin pancakes made out of buckwheat and filled with various ways. Mine had ham, mushrooms, cheese and soft fried egg in and it was gorgeous. To company the meal we had obviously local red wine.
If you ever go anywhere near Saint-Émilion, go and make a visit, it is so worth seeing!