24th Sept 2011
|Chateau Meyre and vineyard|
Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and a little rainy. We hung around the room until check out at midday, playing on the internet. Today is Jim Henson's 75th birthday so we ended up watching muppet clips on Youtube instead of getting ready. Doesn't matter that you're in France, Youtube is still a time waster.
Finally got moving and made our way into Bordeaux, Monseiur GPS took us through the centre without too much difficulty. Got a free park at the Ibis and settled in to the room early which meant we were raring to go by 2.30.
The best decision of the day was to rent a bike via the City's free velo scheme. Took a bit to get going because we had to give it the credit card twice for a deposit. Also, the 2nd bike we chose was chained to another one, vandalism, so Luke had to start again. Still, the system is relatively easy for first timers and, of course, you don't need a stupid helmet so anyone can use it, including clueless Australian tourists. We saw lots of people hop off the tram, type in a number and cycle off, happy as a clam. It's free for half and hour or 2 euro after that.
|Middle Eastern middle-of-the-street celebration|
We rode over the bridge and found ourselves riding along the beautiful, busy waterfront of Bordeaux on a Saturday afternoon. The Garonne river is huge and muddy, the tide causing multitudes of eddies as it goes in and out. There were sailing boats racing along its length and thousands of people were out enjoying the day, despite the clouds. We rode about 2 km down towards the revamped dock area, stopping at the "thin fountain" where a very thin layer of water covers a vast area of paving stones, creating a reflective surface. Kids love it. Every now and again it sprays a thin mist as well. The buildings along the riverfront are all majestic 18th century ones, very imposing and regular.
|Free velo scheme bikes on the Bordeaux riverfront|
The art gallery, presided over by a very snooty French lady who deigned to print out our free tickets, offered a short but sweet stroll through French art history. Saw some Titians, a Bruegel, some Renoir... the usual. A nice diversion, not too much art but enough to say I at least had SOME culture on this French trip.
|Now THAT is art. Wedding photo in the background.|
|In front of the Grand Theatre|
|I want to go on the merry go round!|
After that we went riding in search of dinner, rode all the way down to the marina and back (again). When stopping to look at the menu of one restaurant, I was browbeaten by a haughty athletic man who was striding along in his skimpy shorts and Nikes, obviously training. I had pulled up and was about the park the bike against the railing but he walked straight at me and, panicking, I actually moved my bike out of his way so he didn't have to go around me. After it happened I felt silly for doing it. As we rode back towards the bridge we encountered him again. So I rode around him and slowed down, carefully getting in his way. We also did it again a bit later, heading straight for him and slowing down. Pathetic revenge really but it felt good.
Actually, Luke wants to go back to St Emilion so we can make a witty comeback to a shopkeeper who decided to make some comment about Australian losing the rugby. Not that we really care but it would have been soooo good to say... "Ah yes, but we did win the Tour de France this year." Hah! Take that, shopkeeper!
Finally decided on dinner at a smallish place, very nice. Luke had a Lillet which was like a martini. I had a kir mure which isn't as good as a peche one, even if it is proper and correct.
Eventually we made it back to the room quite late and retired to bed. I was about to go to sleep when large booming sounds occurred outside. It was midnight and Bordeaux were having fireworks. I have no idea why and I haven't been able to find out. Alas, the Ibis hotel at Bastide doesn't face the waterfront so we only had flashes in the sky and screaming teenagers nearby to go on.
All up I had a surprisingly great last day in Bordeaux, better than expected.