September 13, 2010
Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while! We’ve been in the middle of the French countryside since Saturday afternoon(no wifi for miles!). We arrived at our “Chateau” after an hour and a half drive out of Bordeaux to a region called Medoc. We were greeted by an older French couple who showed us the lay of the land (ie. how to use the stove/washing machine) in as best English as they could manage. This six bedroom/three bathroom house was absolutely beautiful. Although I’m not sure when it was built, you can definitely tell from the wooden shutters and stone walls it was a classic French cottage and is still covered in green and eye-catching purple from the flowers. We cooked amazingly fresh meals, shared countless bottles of wine and even had a few ping-pong tournaments (with my mom as the reigning champion).
Far away from city limits, this huge piece of land has a garden full of pines, walnut and hazelnut trees. We even found some rosemary, tomatoes, mint, and dill as we scoured the grounds. Our neighbors have huge yards with guard dogs, happy horses who trim lawns, and blackberries galore. After settling into the château, we decided to head into nearest town of Pauillac. A beautiful town with a catholic church at its center and a bunch of older buildings and cobblestone alleyways. Delicious seafood restaurants and specialty shops line its waterfront on the Dordogne River.
While the good Catholic ladies of the group were soaking in their French Latin on a lovely Sunday morning in Pauillac, the other half of us went to explore the town and find a decent market. Wandering through the alleyways, we ran into two cats on a windowsill with ropes tied around their necks(to keep them from wandering too far). Just inside, a charming round French woman came to the window to greet us. She was clearly not a city dweller but a friendly townie who loved her humble community. After a lot of smiling and nodding she not only pointed us in the right direction but told us to wait while she put on some shoes to lead us there. Walking the 4 or 5 blocks to the market we attempted friendly conversation but found our language barrier too large. Nonetheless, we exchanged 'mercis' and 'bon voyages' and continued on with our food quest.
To be continued...