While waiting on the boat jobs to get complete, we took a day trip to St Emilion, one of the finer wine districts in the Bordeaux wine region of France, only 30 km away.
St Emilion dates back to prehistoric times and the entire town is a UNESCO Hertige site. It encompasses two fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets. The Romans planted vineyards as early as the 2nd century, but it was Monks who started the commercial wine production in this area.
Please excuse me as we bombard you with images from this stunning quaint ancient walled city.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch in in a café on one of the cobbled streets and spent the day visiting the many wine merchants, enjoying the different cellars in each and sampled some fabulous wine.
I finally found a bottle of wine that was too big!!!
As France is rich in Religious history, you can’t not admire the many Churches and Cathedrals in any town you are in. Here we toured the ancient churches and ruins that are the center of this fine city.
We could have stayed there for days admiring the beautiful structures filled with ancient energy.
Another day trip, Bob and Darren and I went to see the dunes at Arachon, a popular seaside resort 55 km south of Bordeaux. Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe’s largest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, nearly 3 kilometres long, 500 metres wide, reaching 110 metres in height, and of course we had to climb it.
Back in Bordeaux, The boat was being prepared and we later picked her up for the final time, and moved aboard.
Our first journey with her was to christen her name and take her up the Gironde river to Royan, at the mouth of the Gironde, 50 miles and 6 hours north to await an opportunity to exit the river which can be quite tricky with weather, wind and swell, going into the notorious Bay of Biscay.
Royan proved to be a bit of a challenge in terms of weather, between the 50-60 knots blows, we had 4-5 meter seas outside the river entrance, so staying put was the only choice, while we cared for the boat in storm force winds.
We spent 2 weeks waiting for an opportunity to move the boat the 60 miles north to La Rochelle. While we did, the new Coronavirus was starting to take hold of the world. Bob and Teresa had some unfortunate news at home and they had to fly back to the US, leaving us to manage the boat without them.
A weather window opened up, and we were able to get the boat up to La Rochelle with only 2 meter seas and 10 knots of wind. Unfortunatly it was a motorboat trip, as the seas would not allow the boat to sail in the lighter wind with the swell. Oh well, better luck next time!!
Of course, being on the West coast of France, the seafood was abundant. Oysters and Escargot was in stores everywhere, and of course we had to indulge.
While we waited on a weather opportunity to exit the Gironde River, COVID 19 was slowly taking its grip on society across the world. Little did we know how much it would change the world as we knew it. China had closed its borders to the world, and other countries were following suit. Italy and Spain were fighting a large outbreaks.
Was France next?