We made lots of plans and succeeded in doing it all! First, we drove west to La Dune de Pilat. It’s a massive sand dune that’s about 354 feet high. The drive contained impressive amounts of pine trees and amazing weather.
There are a couple of options to climb the dune: stairs or up the side on sand. We chose the stairs. This method is definitely not for the weak. Once at the top, the view was breathtaking; we were high above the trees with an edge to the dune that looked like sudden death was imminent with one false step. On the other side was the Atlantic Ocean. Finally… I’ve seen the Atlantic from New York and now from France. We sunbathed, helped other tourists take pictures, and enjoyed the sight. A truly amazing experience!
Alas, it was time to depart to our next destination: the citadel of Blaye. Once exiting the highway, there were endless vineyards. The citadel was built in the 17th century to protect Bordeaux. Inside were little shops selling art and little restaurants; we had a gourmet meal of kebab which was tasty and different than what we eat in Paris (which makes you wonder what you’re eating in Paris…). We walked a bit, enjoyed the view of the river Garonne, and exited to take a break on the grass outside.
Next stop: find a vineyard to visit. We stopped at Chateau Monconseil-Gazin and were fearful that they could not receive us because it’s Sunday and who wants to work on a Sunday? However, Jean-Michel saw us, came outside, and gave us a quick tour of his business. The best part, of course, was the dégustation (wine tasting!) which occured right next to the long room with the oak barrels.
The road home was very nice as we took a back-roads route next to the water. There were vineyards the entire way farther than the eye can see.
For dinner, we researched and chose Le Brasserie Bordelaise. It was a failure in eating southwestern French food, but a culinary delight nonetheless. Guillaume had steak tartare and I beef bourguignon. It was amaaaazing!
Sleep came quickly this night!
Lots of driving! We departed Bordeaux for Arles. The land became much hillier and was super windy. We stopped in Toulouse for lunch. It’s really pretty there and was unlike any other town I’ve seen here in France thus far.
Now we’re staying at some guy’s house in the country, though I have little desire or energy to spend time with our host. I’m quite rude, but life is short and I’ve had plenty enough apéritif and beer for three lifetimes. That, and if I wanted to spend time with a stranger, we can do that for free through Couchsurfing, not by paying through Airbnb.
The home is beautiful! It’s large, has a big yard, and best of all, it’s quiet. This will be a nice place to rest in the evening in opposition to the sounds of people yelling or the recycle truck collecting the glass in the wee hours of the Bordeaux morning.