Thursday, March 29, 2018

Winter in Bordeaux - A look back and waiting for the sunshine of Spring

I can't believe it's already almost April.  It seems like I've been hibernating for the Winter.  Since the holidays, it's passed rather quickly and not without some fun!!  I have been quietly enjoying Bordeaux and it's surroundings and also a brief trip to Lisbon (but that's for another post!).
 I decided to increase my knowledge of wines and spirits by taking the WSET - level 2.  This course was a wonderful way to learn more about wines from all over the world and how they are similar and different.  It was an intensive 3 days but a lot of fun....Imagine tasting about 15-18 wines a day!  
 I honestly didn't know too much about wines from South Africa, Australia, Spain or Argentina but now I so appreciate their uniqueness, similarities and differences to the wines that I was already familar with.
 My mother came for a visit in February and early March....between the rain showers...(yes, it's been a wet and cloudy Winter here in Bordeaux) we enjoyed visiting parts of Bordeaux, Arcachon, Cap Ferret and Cognac.
Mom, me & my youngest at La Place du Palais
Enjoying the beach in Arcachon in the Winter!
Market square in Arcachon

 Additionally, we checked out the new indoor market - the Halles of Bacalan across from the Cite du Vin - Bordeaux's International Wine Museum.  
Bordeaux's Cite du Vin
 There is always time for crepes and a cafe!!
 Had a nice wander around the neighborhood near the remains of Bordeaux's roman coliseum - the Palais Gallen.
Palais Gallen
 When anyone vists, it's a must to enjoy Oysters and even though it was a cloudy day - a trip out to La Teste & Cap Ferret helped us think Spring...

The Oyster shacks in LaTeste

The Dune du Pyla from Cap Ferret
Finally, we are starting to see more sunny days and it's back to work for me!  I did enjoy a drive up in the Medoc area last week, felt great to see the sunshine.  So here's to Spring and looking forward to some warmer weather!
Chateau Beychevelle
Chateau Pichon Longueville

Chateau Palmer

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Welcome 2018 -" Au Revior" 2017 - A year full of fun, love, family & travel

Photo Review
We started off  ringing in the New Year with a quiet celebration.  Later on in the month we celebrated 2 birthdays - Turning 16 years old and adding an official teenager to the house.  These girls keep me on my toes between their activities and social life!  Our two kittens turned 6 & 7 months old - the boys have become inseparable and often sleep next to each other.
During our mild winter, we enjoyed outings in Bordeaux  (coffee is always a wonderful treat!) and it's surroundings on the weekends - Darwin - Casserne Niel is one of our favorite places to visit as a family.  Having teenagers means less time all together but it's great to find a place where they enjoy going.
In early April, my mother and I went on a river cruise up the Seine toward Normandy.  We enjoyed many of the small towns along the way, most noteable was Monet's gardens in Giverny and the city of Rouen.
Our ship sailed all the way up to Honfleur on the Northern coast and we spent a day visiting the Normandy beaches and the American Military cemetery.  Busy week, including some great weather.  After our week, my mother ventured South to spend the next 3 weeks in Bordeaux with us.
The tourist season kicked back into gear and I returned to work touring groups throughout the region.  A weekend escape in Ile de Re was beautiful and relaxing - as usual.  It's one of my favorite places to visit and only a mere two hours from Bordeaux.
April vacation brought a visit with a very dear friend from the US and her daughter.  We enjoyed showing them Bordeaux, Arcachon, the Dune du Pyla and Saint Emilion.  Loved having the opportunity to take photos of the girls!  Especially having a 16 year old who more often than not, enjoys being off with friends.
Work continued to take me around various wine vineyards - I very much enjoyed Chateau de Reignac.  Will be doing a post of this chateaux very shortly.  The end of April vacation took us on a day trip to Talmont sur Gironde - a beautiful quaint village set up on white cliffs on the East side of the Garonne River.  So quaint and adorable - this little village is pedestrian only and is a beautiful mix of shops, restaurants and art galleries.

Weekend fun also meant enjoying a soccer game between Bordeaux & Marseilles.  
The months of May & June included tour visits throughout the city plus Chateau Giruard La Rose in the Medoc.  Had the marvelous opportunity to meet Veronique of the blog "French Girl in Seattle" here in Bordeaux.  It was one of those connections that clicked from the moment we sat down to chat.  So fun to meet my French counterpart who lives in the States!  The final long weekend in May was a delightful getaway to the countryside in the Dordogne - barbecue, poolside and just plain rest and relaxing for before the girls headed into their final month of school.
 June continued to be busy for me - including more visits to the Medoc, Sauternes & Cadillac.  Even traveled North 2 hours to Cognac touring a group through the village and taking them to the Cognac House of Remy Martin.  Always more to learn about this region and it's pure delight to share it.
 July kicked off with Soiree Blanche in Arcachon to welcome in the summer.  This fabulous public party is a "bring your own picnic" and bottle and the town provides tables, DJ and fireworks.  This is our second time we have participated in this evening and it's a blast!!  I love the Bassin & love touring my clients around the town of Arcachon and Cap Ferret. 
Additionally, we said goodbye to our little house that we rented for the past 3 years...for the summer we enjoyed an apartment in Pessac Center with a beautiful evening view from the balcony.
July included a lot of work on my part all over the region - Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Sauternes & Chateau Margaux in the Medoc.  This month also brought a visit from good friends from Albany, NY.  We toured Saint Emilion, Bordeaux & the Dune du Pyla....enjoying lots of delicious wine and Oysters!  The girls enjoyed the month of July with their father.
I enjoyed a trip to Futuroscope with my oldest and youngest (while my middle daughter was away in the South of France with a friend) and then we headed out to the French Alps for a week of vacation where we caught up with my middle daughter.  We enjoyed an evening in Lyon on the way East.  This city is quaint and colorful and a beautiful place to spend a warm summer's evening.
Our week in the Alps was highlighted by visits to Lac Annecy & Geneva, Switzerland.  The water was so blue in the Savoie region and the mountain just called to me.  
 We drove into the Haute Savoie region for a day visit to Chamonix at the base of Mount Blanc.  Stunning views and a storybook village highlighted this area.  A ride in a gondola took us up for some peaceful sitting an beautiful views.  It was amazing to see the glacier on the side of Mount Blanc.
 Our vacation ended with my oldest going paragliding before we left the area and headed South to Nice to see family.  As we headed back to Bordeaux, we stopped in Marseilles for a night including a stunning sunset on the beach and a tour of the Velodrome the next day.  School started in early September and we finally found a new home ready for us in early October.
 September was back to school for the girls and high intensive season of work for me.  The harvest season was upon us - making for some great tours and photos.  My work also included touring groups from several Ocean liners who came to port in Bordeaux for a couple of days.
 October was a very busy month - celebrating not one but 2 birthdays - my baby turned 10 and I hit the half century mark....we also moved into our new home - which meant a lot of re-organizing and settling in.  My youngest got to enjoy coming to work with me for a couple of days in October and of course, as Americans, we celebrated Halloween with a party!  Trick or treating is slowly growing here - and the girls enjoyed ringing doorbells on the new street.
 The end of October also meant the two week Toussaint school break for the girls.  We enjoyed having friends visit from Paris -and headed out to Cap Ferret for a day. 

My visits to Cognac also included touring a small producer and the House of  Martell this month.  As we headed into November, we closed the tourist season with a final couple weeks of work.  Looking forward to beginning again in late March.
This blog has continued to be a great place to share both from our family point of view and to allow readers to see more of the region.  Bordeaux is a highly ranked tourist destination at this time and we are seeing more and more people coming to visit.  I hope from the photos that you can see why.  It's truly a spectacular region and after 6 years of living here - it still continues to amaze me with its rich history and stunning diversity.

As a blogger, I've been invited to enjoy many festivals and events. Notably this year, the food festival - Bordeaux SoGood in November and the Great Wine Capitals Awards evening which recognizes wine properties that excel in tourism.  (A blog post will be coming shortly - highlighting many of these properties).

Due to my work schedule, I wasn't able to write as many posts as I would have liked.  But new year - new resolutions - I know 2018 will be a wonderful year and continued growth for all of us.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year - May 2018 be filled with joy, good health and prosperity.

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