Monday, March 10, 2014

A little taste of France: Weekend away in Bordeaux and Toulouse

On Valentine's day this year, me and one of my other single friends here ventured off to Bordeaux. We spent the entire morning traveling. It actually took much longer to get to Bordeaux than it did when I traveled to Brussels or back from Amsterdam. It took us three different trains to get us to Bordeaux. It was a very long morning, but Miki and I slept the majority of the way there.

Once we arrived we dropped off our luggage in the hotel which was directly across from the train station and ventured into the city. We walked into an art school and had fun looking around there. Next we visited the St. Andre Cathedral, which was one of the major three of Bordeaux. We found the main bridge in Bordeaux and took a stroll across to the other side and then came back again. From there we tried to find the tourism center to find out about doing a wine tour the next day. We found it relatively quickly and signed up to go the next day. 

We then walked around the main part of the city and saw the fountain which was beautiful. We then decided at 7 to find something for dinner. Since it was valentines day we found a great restaurant right on the river but we had to be finished within 1 hour because of the reservations they had coming in at 8. It worked out perfectly and when 8 rolled by there were still some empty tables so it was no problem at all. 

After dinner we were exhausted from the travel and walking so we decided to head back to the hotel. Plus it was almost 9 PM by this point anyway. 

The next morning we woke up and made our way to the wine museum. We learned a lot about the history of wine in Bordeaux which was very interesting. We got two wine tastings at the museum at the end from two different wine regions in Bordeaux. Both were very good!

After the museum we went to find a quick lunch and then made our way to the bus for the wine tour. 

We were taken to a family owned winery first. The process is done with such care and the couple who owns it tastes the wine until they have the perfect combination. The wine there was excellent and they had a plate of cheese and crackers as a pallet cleanser between the two wines. The second wine was definitely my favorite. 2009 was supposedly one of the best years for the Bordeaux region. 

The second winery we went to was a much older larger scale one. The process was done primarily by machines uses the latest technologies to perfectly blend the wine. Miki and I felt as though during the wine tasting you could definitely tell this. Neither of us liked the two types of wine we were given to try. 

We got back into the city around 6:30 PM where we met Zoe. The three of us found a nice seafood restaurant by the river again to eat dinner. I had soup and salmon which were both unbelievably delicious! 

After dinner we walked along the river and saw the bridge lit up as well as a couple other buildings, which all looked incredible at night. 

On Sunday we took another walk across the bridge. Since Zoe wasn't with us the first day she didn't get to walk on it yet and we didn't mind doing it again. We visited a church that was across the river and then headed back to the main part of the city. 

We then made our way to the Notre Dame Church in Bordeaux. We found out that we could walk up to the top to get a better view of the city so we decided to do that. The walk wasn't so horrible and the view was absolutely amazing. However, the walk down was so terrible. I was so scared and moved so slowly. I was moving as if I had never walked down a flight of stairs before in my life. 

When I finally got to the bottom there was a small market where I found some really good homemade grape juice which I could also use to make sangria by adding wine. After that we headed to the train station to head to Toulouse. 

On Sunday, February, 16th we made our way to Toulouse from Bordeaux in the afternoon. We only knew of a few attractions there and weren't expecting much. As soon as we arrived we headed off toward the city center. We saw the center square and the Theatre du Capitole. Beneath the center archway there was a man playing music with an interesting instrument that livened up the square.

We made our way toward the river next to see the sunset. We walked over the bridge to cross the river and then came back. Miki and Zoe love taking photos so I told them I wanted to walk down by the river and the come back and meet them. The sky was unbelievable and there were so many people out walking and jogging with their friends and family. It was a pretty amazing atmosphere. By the time I met up with the girls again the sky was very dark and we decided we should start looking for a place to have dinner. We headed back toward the main square and found a very nice restaurant. I had a tilapia and lemon pie for dessert. After dinner we were all very tired and decided to head back to the hotel for the night. 

The next morning we felt as though we had already seen most of the major points of the city. We decided to walk the other direction though and found the Jordan gardens. We spent a long time there because it was such a beautiful day and the girls loved taking pictures. From there we did a little shopping and Zoe and I found a nice place to have lunch. Miki wanted to shop more and eat at Subway so she didn't come with us. After lunch Zoe and I made our way to the church. We had walked past it several times the night before but we wanted to see inside as well. 
We didn't have much time afterward before we had to catch our train. We did a little more shopping and then made our way back home to Grenoble. 

Au revoir!

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