Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ballade à Bordeaux
Author/friend Karen Williams was here last week with her doctor husband in tow. They lived in Malawi and Haiti for many years and I have illustrated four of Karen's books. In my 20 years in the Lot, I had yet to visit Bordeaux and reckoned it was about time, so after lunch with a friend in Sarlat, we headed west via Bergerac. Big mistake: it's a rotten road, non stop feux rouges and ronds points and ugly to boot. After three hours en route, we decided to forego Bordeaux for St Emilion where we found a delightful chateau vineyard for the night, the Chateau de Roques. Not only was there a pool but bicycles at our disposal, just what we needed to soothe our cranky nerves. De-stressed and refreshed, we decided to splurge on drinks on the terrace and dinner. The next morning we breakfasted early in St Emilion itself before the tourist buses could arrive and disgorge their noisy contents, and fortified, headed to Bordeaux. After lunch in a shady square, we rented bicycles to get to know the town. It was the first hot day of summer and the quai along the river was fabulous. Everyone was out splashing in the mirror fountains that alternated unpredictably between fine misty spray and undulating gentle waves. The plaque under the magnificent copper fountains said that the statues had been dismantled during the war to be smelted down for ammunition, but miraculously all the parts were discovered hidden in Agen and the fountain was returned and reassembled on the waterfront.