04/04/2017 Betsy

April 3rd – On our way down the River it was total fog,,,,but as we neared our destination the skies cleared up.- Blue skies at last! Collective sigh of relief when we walked out and the warmth hit our faces and sunlight blurred our eyes. Opportunities for all kinds of tours including bicycle touring! We were heading to Libourne for sightseeing and wine drinking! This is the right bank of the Gironde with limestone cliffs, clay and quarries versus the left bank with marshes and gravel! Makes it a perfect setting for growing Merlot so this is a huge Merlot…

04/03/2017 Betsy

APRIL 2 – BLAYE FORTRESS Aquitaine Region is a large region reaching from the Pyrenees Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean bordering Spain. Human settlement dates back to prehistoric times. Blaye north of Bordeaux sits on the right bank of the Gironde estuary and served as an important stronghold during the wars with the English and French in the 17th Century. In mild to driving rain sprinkled with sunshine, we walked to the Citadel of Blaye . Blaye was the stronghold for the Aquitaine region so this fortification became very important during King Louis XIV reign. Work on the citadel began in…

04/03/2017 Betsy

April 1st!  It’s raining! Then it’s not! Then it is! If you don’t like the weather wait a minute. Today we are in Medoc region where the Chateaus of the great Bordeaux wines are located. There are 11,400 acres of declared vineyards in this region. The Gironde Estuary is the lifeblood to this region. In the 17th century the Dutch merchants began a drainage project to convert the marshland into usable vineyards which enable large estates to form along the Gironde. Bordeaux wine regions of Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estephe took shape and became one of the most prosperous regions…

04/02/2017 Betsy

March 31, 2017:  Back on the bus we arrived at Chateau Guiraud where they produce organic Sauternes.  We learned all about the organic production of these grapes and the uniqueness of the region where Sauternes are produced.  Nowhere else in the world do these wines come from. I considered Sauternes as a dessert wine but learned it goes very well with foe gras and other dishes that have a citrus element.  It would not go well with chocolate. The vineyards are surrounded by bushes and trees to draw the insects that will kill the bad insects on the vines.  This…

04/01/2017 Betsy

Back to the boat for lunch and then we were off again for a trip to Chateau Fort de Roquetaillade an extremely interesting place because descendants have lived in this Chateau for 700 years! A quick trip to the Ladies Room we found some interesting stuff parked in the garage!  And old car and carriage!! Currently three generations reside here and are working hard to make money to maintain the Chateau that has been in their family for so long. We were not allowed to take pictures inside.  This fortress was built by King Edward I, home of the same…

04/01/2017 Betsy 1Comment

March 31, 2017 – CADDIYAK Our next stop, 45 miles down the Garonne River, was Cadillac pronounced “cadiyak”.  Under light/medium rain we hiked from the boat to the walled town of Cadillac and the Chateau.  There are many Chateaus in this region and they are not necessarily castles. New French Word:  Bastide.  Cadillac is a bastide city particular to southwestern France.   The city was settled for purposes of commerce being close to the Garonne River to enable shipping goods (wine) to Bordeaux and then out to all parts of the world. These cities were mainly built in the Middle Ages…

03/30/2017 Betsy

MARCH 30 , 2017 – HEADING TO AMA DOLCE Today is our embarcation day on the AMA Dolce. Woke up at 4:30 and ended up getting up playing with pictures while Dave z’ed away. He is coming down with a cold so was exceptionally noisy and I could not get back to sleep. Started downloading some pics from my phone and went back to bed to try to get some sleep; dozed until I finally gave up and went downstairs to get my coffee and croissant. Asked what time it was and it was 9AM. Oh well, time flies when…

03/30/2017 Betsy 2Comment

  Europeans tend to eat later than we do, so to “kill time”, we decided to have drinks in the courtyard. To accomplish this, we needed to have something to drink! Jane, having been here for the past two days, took me over to a grocery store just one block away and I was blown away at the selection and prices of wine. They practically give it away! Compared to Canada where your average (very average) bottle of wine goes for $24CA, in Bordeaux a very good bottle of wine is 6E. I didn’t know what to do – there…

03/29/2017 Betsy 1Comment

Woke up several times while still dark thinking it was time to get up.  No idea what time it was – just pushing back to sleep until dawn.  Dave was z’ing away – first time he slept since we left Fla.  Roof-top view from our room across Bordeaux was intriguing. Around 9:30 we were together enough to have breakfast.  I was looking forward to croissant and wasn’t disappointed.  The French butter I heard everyone  raving about is Presidente which I buy at Publix.  At least that’s what they served in the restaurant along with maple syrup from Canada. Checked out and…

03/29/2017 Betsy

VIVA LA FRANCE 3/29/17     So how do we get to Burdigala in Bordeaux????? Dave suggested the city bus… said taxi’s were expensive.   When I showed the bus driver the hotel name and address she confirmed, in French, that the bus went there. $6E later, we were aboard a city bus to Bordeaux.   If you want a feel for a place, take the city bus. It meanders everywhere! An hour later we were still looping through the streets of Bordeaux without a clue where we were going.   About 45 minutes into the trip I looked up and…