I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trains, Wine and Family

on the train to Bordeaux

the train station in Bordeaux

Bordeaux train station

The winery

new foliage

tiny grape clusters beginning

the owner of the vineyard is to the right giving the tour

barrels of wine

pulling a taste of the 2010 vintage said to be a great year

Ton Ton Jean, the owner of the vineyard, Vincent, Laurie, Danny and Me

and the group with Andy

the house at Lacaneau

Ta Ta Francois and her grandaughter (our cousin) Axelle

Walking to dinner...Ta Ta Francois, Danny and Sophie

Ta Ta Francois and Danny

Sunset on the Atlantic

Vincent, Sophie, Ta Ta Francois, Danny and Ton Ton Michelle

The whole crew with Axelle, Augustin, Appolline, Albane

The Atlantic


Duck Confit

Magret de Canard (duck breast)...a favorite of mine in France

Tart Tartine

Moellux de Chocolat (chocolate cake)

and as if I needed any more...Ton Ton Michelle ordered this for me...pastry with cream and caramel...yum!

Danny, Albane, Axelle, Augustin, Apolline, and me...love these kids!
Today started out VERY early with an early departure from the lobby at 5:50 a.m. to go to St. Pancras station to catch the Eurostar train to Paris. We decided to forgo a taxi and attempt going there via the Tube. This worked out great and we got there in enough time to grab a quick breakfast from Starbucks before we had to go through security. For future note, the security line closes 30 minutes before train departure so it is important to get there a bit early for your train. This is different than other trains because there is no security line for those. The train ride was very pleasant and we arrived on time in Paris. We needed to transfer to a different train station to catch the train to Bordeaux to meet Danny's cousin, Vincent. We bought metro (subway) tickets to Montparnasse station after a very helpful young man who spoke french showed us where to go to get the tickets in the train station. We arrived at Montparnasse station and couldn't figure out how to get to the TGV station. Danny asked for directions which led us out of the metro station and down the block to the train station. We later discovered that there was an underground tunnel, but we must have missed that along the way. We ate our first meal in Paris sitting in the train station, Croque Monsieur (hot ham and cheese), Quiche Lorraine (ham quiche), and Baguette sandwich with Jambon (ham),  Compte (a type of cheese) and Buerre (butter). Unfortunately for Andy, his Croque Monsieur was not completely heated and wasn't very good but the rest of us enjoyed our train station meal. Our train was delayed by 15 minutes and there was a swarm of people to get on the train. Our car was completely full and we had to get creative with where to put the luggage as the ends were full and the racks above the seats were full. Danny ended up squeezing them in between the backs of the seats. This is important to note that the bags actually fit in case we need that info for a future trip. Once we were settled in 2nd class, the three hour train ride was really great. Everyone but me snoozed along the way. We were met at the train station by Danny's cousin, Vincent, and Danny's uncle, Ton Ton Michelle. They had arranged a vineyard tour for us at Chateau Picque Caillou. The owner of the vineyard took us on a personal tour and explained to us about the grapes and the soil and growing conditions of the area. He then showed us his winery and explained about the process of making the wine from the grapes and how they are aged in the wooden barrels. It was really fascinating and he spoke excellent English so we were able to follow the conversation and ask questions. He gave us a taste of his 2010 wine which he says will be known as a very good year for wine because of the growing conditions that year and the condition of the grape. After our tour, Vincent drove us about an hour to Lacaneax, where his family is on vacation at their summer beach house on the Atlantic Ocean. We checked into our hotel, Hotel du Golf, for our one night stay. Andy was disappointed that he wouldn't have time to swing a golf club even just once! Vincent then drove us to the Lacanau house. It was so wonderful to be greeted by Danny's Ta Ta Francoise, Vincent's wife Sophie and their four kids, Axelle, Augustin, Apolline, and Albane. Ta Ta Francoise is Danny's mom's baby sister and she greeted us with the biggest grin, a big hug and kisses. We had Champagne and Fois Gras appetizers and caught up on family news. We walked down to the Atlantic where Andy reminisced that he had watched the sun rise on the Atlantic on his honeymoon 20 years ago and now he was watching it set on the other side of the world. So cool. We had a fabulous meal with family at a restaurant on the water. Sophie was quite entertained by the fact that I knew more french dessert words on the menu than regular food words. She was so entertained that she must have whispered to Ton Ton Michelle to purchase a second dessert for me. As soon as I finished my first one, a different one appeared and Ton Ton Michelle said it was just for me! Andy and Danny shared with me thankfully, or I would have been too full to enjoy a wonderful walk back to the house with Ta Ta Francoise sandwiched between Danny and me. As we were saying our goodbyes, Ta Ta Francoise said we made her very happy to come and see her. This has been a delightful excursion and one we won't soon forget. Tomorrow back to Paris...until then....

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