"" Writer's Wanderings: France - Bordeaux

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

France - Bordeaux

Our view of the city of Bordeaux was just as beautiful in the morning as it had been the evening before. We left the ship after breakfast to join an excursion that was basically an introduction to the city. The bus drove along the shore line a bit and then to an industrial area where there was an old World War II structure, a u-boat pen, still standing where German submarines were repaired. Basically it looked like a huge multi-compartmented garage on the water for large boats. The explanation for its continued existence was that they didn’t know what to do with it.

The bus rolled by the submarine pen and back toward the city stopping at the art museum which sits next to the large cathedral. We exited the bus and walked down a narrow street to a plaza to see the cathedral. The air was cool and fresh and the sun was warming just a bit. We explored the cathedral and listened to the guide but to be honest, about this time in the trip you generally don’t remember much of what they say. Unless something unusual really stands out, their talks begin to sound much the same.

As we stood outside and duly admired the sculpted last supper over one of the entrances, my thoughts turned to what a refreshing day it was and how I had to get back on a bus. I nudged Bob and suggested we set out on foot and find our own way around town. We had two maps and knew which direction to go to get back to the ship when we were ready. He concurred and we “jumped bus.”

I snapped a shot of the giant crocodile sculpture in the courtyard of the art museum as Bob explained to our guide that we were striking out on our own and then we walked back to the cathedral. Bob wanted to walk back to where the altar was. When we entered, someone was practicing on the organ and the music wafted through the arches and filled the immense building. I let Bob go on his exploration and I just sat for a while and soaked up the music.

Outside, we saw a sign by a building that said “Hotel de Ville.” It took us a few minutes to realize that it wasn’t a hotel. It was the city hall.

We found the pedestrian area where all the stores were and enjoyed picking our way among them. The McCafes in Europe and actually everywhere else in the world but America serve beautiful coffees. They don’t serve it out of a ready-made machine. It’s made fresh like in a real coffee shop and decorated beautifully on top. When we saw the McCafe, we stopped for a mid-morning coffee break.

Fortified with caffeine, we walked the rest of the Rue Sainte-Catherine to get a glimpse of the Grand Theater. Turning the corner, we headed to the river with one thing on our minds—the mussels we had seen the previous day.

Back along the river, we located the restaurant where we had seen the pots of mussels being served and found ourselves a seat. Bob ordered a creamy garlic based broth with his and mine was plain. His was better but the mussels were all good. French fries were served as a side and we agreed they were probably fried in real fat.

Our mussel craving satisfied, we started back for the ship along the river walk past all the abundant gardens and the mirror fountain. The fountain was a large flat area that alternately filled with about an inch of water and then smoked just before draining and filling again. In between, if no one was wading in the water, the still surface mirrored the stately buildings around it. Unfortunately the waters were rarely still with dogs, kids, and visitors splashing through them. Nice concept though.

When we returned to the ship, we found that the tide was out—way out. The gangway that led to Deck 6 was needed to board. On the other side of the ship, we could see old wrecks of a few vessels that were not visible when the tide was in. Just after dinner, the tide was up again and we were on our way out of the river and into the sea. Destination: Dover, England.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...