July 9th, 2009

Riding & Chateaus

  • Jul. 9th, 2009 at 12:08 PM
honeyelle: shows coloured pencils with "i live to create master pieces" (Default)
8.08pm (Brisbane); 12.08pm (Beaune)

I haven't written anything since the train ride. I was going to on Sunday, however, I've been distracted. Distracted how? I've been reading Sookie Stackhouse novels. I know, right? More vampires. More female heroines. More bad writing. But I have stopped. After four books, one a day, I have stopped reading because I read about Eric and Sookie and Beth tells me there isn't anymore Eric/Sookie for a while. I love Eric. He's the only reason I read the books. (Beth even drew a comic about it.)

When we got into Beaune on Saturday – Beaune, by the way, is in the Burgundy region of France (where they make all the wine) – we headed into the markets. Beaune does markets how markets all over the world should be run. Firstly, walking down the main street, there are the bits'n'pieces part: clothes, music, shoes, underwear. At the corner, going from the main street into the town square (not a Stars Hollow town square with grass and a gazebo; although there are a few of them around too), but a bare, sectioned off area purely designed for markets, the corner holds all the roasted chicken sellers – we bought one and it tastes almost like turkey. We were asking ourselves why Australia wants to ruin chicken so. Then turning into the market square you are hit with fresh produce. All sorts of fruits and vegetables – much fresher than the fresher type we could obtain at Australian markets – and even some more unusual stalls (there was a purely olive stand, a stand with dates – Dad's favourite – and a stand of dried fruit). Inside the hall, next to the market square, the hall is air-conditioned to keep the cheese cool. A hall the size of a high school basketball court hall housed all the cheese you could ever want. Most of the market sellers were really good with the fact that we knew nearly no French, but we did ask in French “Do you speak English?” Some say yes, some say no, some say a little (and a little compared to my knowledge of French is a lot). The cheese lady knew none, so we pointed, but, then a French couple who spoke English helped us out, and even suggested a cheese we should try. We bought some Haribo lollies from a good-looking guy who's grandmother didn't speak English, but he did. Haribo, Beth and I first tasted in Disneyland, is the best type of lolly available. I especially like the crocodiles with the jelly on the top and the cream, softer lolly on the bottom; like the race-cars we have at home. We came home to Mum, who didn't get the see the prettiness of the market because she had an awful headache, and showed her what we bought for so little money.

I can't remember what we did that afternoon, but I think we relaxed. Travelling days take it out of us, me especially.

Beaune as a whole has been a relaxing time. There isn't anything you're supposed to see in the region, just the vineyards. The day we arrived was cloudy and a little chilly, as was the next day. Not like Paris at all. Paris was hot. Europe was hot. It has suffered a heatwave. Oh, Europe. You should visit Australia in the summer-time. That was not a heatwave.

On Monday, we woke up early (although the sun was already up) and it was a bright day. It was not cool. It was not breezy. It was the perfect day to bike ride. Which is exactly what we planned on doing. We were collecting our bikes from Floran (the bike renting man) and riding through the vineyards. By eleven in the morning, we had sunscreened up and were ready to ride. We rode through Pommard, Versay and into Mersault at which time we missed the chateau I wanted to visit in Pommard. It was also then we realised that the bike track, a very easy riding track to follow, there were signs for twenty kilometres, didn't take you to the chateaus directly, you had to find them once in town. We looked for Chateau de Mersault and found it at the base of the town on the east side. It looks similar to the house from the Longborn house in Pride and Prejudice, but then, quite a few of the chateaus I looked at on the internet looked like the Longborn house. We walked around the grounds, nibbling on lunch (as we weren't actually allowed to eat lunch on the grounds) and I took a few pictures. On the way back to Beaune (Mersault is 8.5km away on the bike track), we found Chateau de Pommard and decided to come back on Tuesday to see it. It was a perfect day for riding, no breeze or anything.

On Tuesday, I rode to Pommard three times (Pommard is three kilometres away from Beaune). Tuesday morning with Beth to make sure that we could get on a tour. (Chateau de Pommard was the one chateau that I really wanted to see.) It turned out that we didn't need to book, but just show up. We rode home. A couple of hours later, the entire family rode to Pommard. Our tour guide spoke English rather well, but it was heavily accented and sometimes hard to understand. The wine cellars underneath the buildings were cold and held an enormous amount of wine. The wine tasting itself, was not my cup of tea (I'm not a big wine drinker), but I found it was worth the 17€ it cost to get in. The Dali exhibition was rather spectacular, in my opinion, although I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see the inside of the chateau.

After visiting both Chateau de Pommard and Chateau de Mersault, I think I liked Mersault's grounds better.

On Wednesday morning, the rest of the family took their bikes back, but I kept mine. I've become addicted to this cycling thing. (Tuesday night, Dad and I rode to Pommard and back again because we felt like a sunset ride. Gosh, that was breezy.) When I go home I'd like a bike, or at least clean up the one we have. I rode to Pommard in the early afternoon and then again in the late afternoon. Both times it was breezy. It got breezier as the day went on and the ride to Pommard because almost impossible the wind is pushing against you so hard. Pommard is also on higher ground than Beaune. So the ride back to Beaune is very easy, a cruise downhill and all you have to worry about is hitting the stone fences at the corners. (I can't turn very well.) I've kept my bike again for today because I want to go for another, hopefully easier, ride today. But I've been looking out the window today, it seems like the wind starts up in the afternoon.

Over the past couple of days – I can't remember which days exactly – but we've had some French pastries. Citrus flavoured treats are my favourites. But we also ate at a pizzeria – we didn't want to spend the money it would cost for French cuisine when we didn't know what French cuisine is, save for the snails and the frogs legs. We had two pizzas and we decided they were better than the Santorini ones, though I can't remember what the Santorini ones tasted like since I was very dead to the world.

It's now 1.38pm. I have new sunglasses, I have chocolate (not exactly wanted by me, but I seem to eat it all the same), and I have my grades (which turned out better than I expected). All in all, I'm feeling pretty good.

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