Thursday, September 20

Day four Bordeaux - Arcachon

Then it is time for saying "au revoir" to the chateau gnom and return to Norway via Arcachon at the Atlantic coast
Before the departure from Bordeaux airport we had a great day at the Arcachon Bay where the oyster farming is the main activity.
On the Boat "Spirit of Bassin" we had a fine tour around the bay seeing the oyster farms and houses towards Cap Ferret (not Cap Ferrat at Cote de Azur)
The typical local boat at Arcachon Bay looks like a Norwegian "Snekke"
but the most important boat is the oyster pillow pram. The colorful houses along the northern shore of the bay was very interresting.
Then it is again time for testing. This time it is fresh oysters. 12 oysters for a couple and at that time i did nor regret my wife´s allegy of shellfish. However 8 of these was enough for me accompanied by a dry local white wine.
The impressive technique of getting the oyster into the mouth down the trouth and to the stomach
Arcachon city seen from the bay when returning from Cap Ferret
The city was very charming with special house style and fantastic vegetation. I can understand why so many Bordeaulies have their summer houses here and why so many tourists gather around.
Take a closer look at this wall around a typical Arcachon house. This is beautiful Street art.
This was the closest distance we could get with a boat to Dune du Pilat
The dune has a volume of about 60,000,000 m³, measuring around 500 m wide from east to west and 2.7 km in length from north to south. Its height is currently 110 meters above sea level.

From the landside you could walk up the stairs and have a great view over the Biscaya Bay and the Atlantic Ocean

The view from the top of the dyne towards west and the Bank d´Arguin and the Atlantic Ocean

My wife´s photo of the descent of the sand dyne is a great example of the quality on iPhone. You will find this photo on Instagram too.

 Then it is only left to thank "DNV Pensjonistforening" for the making this tour to Bordeaux possible, and many many thanks to our local guide Laila Thortveit for her excellent presentation of the history, life, development and present activities in Nouvelle-Aquitaine


Wednesday, September 19

Day three Bordeaux - Bordeaux city

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. Sunrise Wednesday morning. Temp rose to above +32  C during the afternoon
Before leaving for Bordeaux city and street walking, we took a walk down to the castle´s wineyard and examined the Merlot grapes

Rows of the Merlot grape as long as you can see, and the harvest should be perfect this year
The Merlot grape was sweet and we could "steal" as much as we wanted. The skin was hard and perfect for wine production.
Our castle, chateau or hotel (free choise) seen in the background and surounded by 180 hectares wineyard. A lovely morning as farmers, and referring to one of the persons we met: "We are farmers. Making the best of the wineyard ar essential. After that come the "easy" making and storing of wine in barrels and on bottles."
In the center of Bordeaux close to the Operahouse, our lunch restaurant and the great Monument "Des Girondines" to the north. Looking south we find the large shopping street "Rue St Catherine" which is 1.2 km long
Shops close to the Place de Comedie was more expensive brands than further south.

Some years ago Bordeaux was a dirty smoggy city. Then they decided to wash the houses and make restrictions in trafic. Here you can see a cleaned house alongside a "dirty"one.
Bordeaux has a lot of monuments and sculptures. This water mirror sculpture close to the river Garronne and in front of the "Place de la Bource" was filled and emptied with water every 10th minute. The steam coming up was a signal for people to move away before getting wet.

The citisens who lived in the houses along the west coast of river Garonne was called cork aristocrats. May be the style is similar to Bygdø Alle in Oslo.
The wine bource in Bordeaux is a beautiful building with both round and square windows.

At Esplanade des Quincones the high obelisk "Monument aux Girondins" have many interesting details. I.e. the symbolic fountain of the French revolution. I have chosen the Gallic Roster (Franc national symbol) and the vikingships as part of the lighting in this blogpost.
 Go to the links for more information

In addition to the longest shopping street in Europe there are many places or squares to be visited just a few meters along the crossing streets.
At this square the price of a glass of Merlot was half the prices at restaurants at Place de Comedie.
When leaving the city we once more saw the old gate in the city wall dated back to roman times.
and this motive is one of my favorites.: Two men talking over an Espresso on a corner cafe.

Tuesday, September 18

Day two Bourdeaux - Cognac

The second day in distrikt Bordeau opened with the same beautiful weather and a long bus journey to Jarnac and Cognac.

Mile after mile with wineyards can be a little bit boring, but knowing what the grapes are used for, makes the two hours trip from Bordeaux to Jarnac acceptable.

First stop on our tour to Charente district was the town Jarnac and the estate of the "norwegian" owned Braastad Cognac.
Braastad is a brand of cognac. It's a range of product from the cognac House Tiffon. The name Braastad was introduced when Sverre Braastad (1879 – 1979) from Gjøvik, Norway, married the daughter of cognac producer Tiffon, Edith Rousseau, in 1913, and took over Tiffon, founded by Médéric Rousseau in 1875.
The family Braastad was a gret experience to meet.

 Here our guide Richard Braastad are showing us a more than hundred years old Grande Fine Napoleon Tiffon bottle and below one of the barrels in the store room that has cognac (Grande Champagne) older than 100 years.

We were guided through the complete process (here from the destillery), got the smell of first time "head", second time spirit and even tasted the final result of an XO Fine Champagne.
Be aware of the shape of the glass. This is how Cognac shall be served.

Then it was time for lunch at Braastad´s family castle

Chateau Triac was a special experience and our host Jan Braastad gave us an excellent lunch included what ever you may think of regarding food and drinks.

I must admit that the visit to the city Cognac became a more downturn after the Braastad experience, but at least we have been there

The Lieutenant´s House from 1703

Francis I of France in the city center and below the city church and a warm vife in ab +30C

Monday, September 17

Day one Bordeaux - Saint-Emilion

Although we landed at Bordeaux-Merignac airport in Nouvelle-Aquitaine on Sunday evening and had late dinner in front of the Cathedral in Bordeaux city, I want to use day one for this blogpost.


Early Monday morning we had breakfast watching the beautiful sunrise over the mist in the castle´s wineyard 
The hotel Les Secret Chateau Pey la Tour was not the best hotel we have visited, but an ok place for sleeping and having food. The wineyard will be covered later.

The bus this morning took us to the old city Saint-Emilion with a history back to prehistoric times. The city walls are seen behind me from ab. 8th century.
The first wineyards in the area can be dated back to 2nd century, but I believe the wineyard behind my wife may not be older than a hundred years.
 The center of the town are located below the tower of the cathedral which is on top of the old church caves where no photos were alowed due to private ownership.
Down to the city square and market place (including the entrence to the caves) the narrow streets are steep and must be very dangerous to enter during rain days.
Futher down (the cathedral spire in the background) many nice narrow streets are filled with restaurants, wine- and art craft shops.

The most typical shop in Saint-Emilion is a wineshop. The most expencive bottle we found had a price of 1350 Euros, but we got a great Grand Cru wine priced to 30 Euro.

After a lunch back at our hotel we once more entered the bus to be transportet to Chateau Haute Sarpe for dinner.

Our host and the chef for the Entrecote BBQ dinner gave us a great presentation of the estate (established in 1750), the wine development process and the background for the family responsible after the entrepeneur Joseph Janoueix bought the estate in 1934.
Merlot is the most used grape in the chateau, but Cabernet Sauvignon and other types are also included in the production.

Visiting Chateau Haut-Sarpe was truly a pleasure from beginning to end.