Bye, Bordeaux

So we’re leaving Bordeaux today. A few things left to see before we do – got to climb to the top of that bastard tower, going to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art to see their Secret Societies exhibit… I think that’s it.

There appear to be no squirrels in Bordeaux.

Next stop is Toulouse. Twice the size of Bordeaux, I’m sure it’ll be a bit different. From there we’ll do some day trips to various places and marvel at Roman engineering, etc.

Last night we had dinner at a place called Bistro Regent, I think. They serve nothing but a hot plate of some kind of meat or fish, which is served on your table over a little tea light that keeps it hot. And over all of them is the same family-recipe shallot sauce stuff. There are three options of what meat/fish to have with the sauce, and that changes every so often, and they don’t sell any other food (except for unlimited fries on the side).

So tasty.

We’ve been in Bordeaux for… What? Three days, I suppose. Maybe two and a half, all up. I’m sorry to leave. But I expect I’m going to feel sorry to leave every place we visit, and sorrier again to leave the whole continent.

Climbing the tower today. Next post will be photos of Bordeaux from above.

Beautiful Bordeaux

Bordeaux is beautiful, though I always wonder with beautiful places. You know those episodes of Star Trek where they find a paradise-like planet named “Eden” and everyone’s super happy, until it’s revealed that unhappy people are being taken out back and shot? Maybe that’s what’s going on here.

I’m actually witnessing some kind of police action right now. The first time I’ve seen police here in Bordeaux (compared that to the cops with machine-guns in London and Paris). A police car cruised past me slowly through this pedestrianised street and stopped outside McDonalds. Three cops got out and talked to a guy who was standing outside. Tense stuff. Anyway, they wrote him a ticket, presumably for not being quite magical enough this morning, and drove off.

Bicycles, dogs and pedestrians everywhere. So many dogs.

The place we’re staying in is called the Hotel Touring, a family-owned business in a building straight out of the ’40s. There are a few photos in the previous post, and I’ll post a few more today.

In fact, I’ll post again later today. Or tonight, by your standards. Sweet dreams, State Highway One.

Bedding in Bordeaux

That’s “bedding”, the noun, not the verb.

For most of yesterday morning (Saturday), Diana and I had pretty much planned on flying to Madrid. Then, over lunch, we weirdly decided to jump on a train through the Tannel (thank you) and down from Paris to Bordeaux.

My first time in a non-English-speaking country. It’s a bit claustrophobic, a bit stressful, especially when you’ve got only the vaguest instructions of which line to take on the Paris Metro to get to the other train station where the line to Bordeaux kicks off. Still, somehow we muddled through.

There was a full-on genuine street crazy on the Metro link. There are a few street crazies in Auckland, but they tend to just mutter a bit here and there. This guy gets on at one stop with a fucking fire extinguisher, sets it down and starts lecturing loudly in French, punctuating his rant with complicated gestures. At the next stop, he picks up his fire extinguisher and disembarks. Okay, we think. No more crazy. But no, he was just putting the fire extinguisher down on the floor of the subway outside the train, and hopped right back on to continue his lecture.

There’s street crazy, and then there’s French street crazy. Rue crazy.

Navigating the public transport in Bordeaux at 10.30pm to get to the hotel I’d booked was a whole other mission. Took a tram to a place to catch a bus that gives no indication of where it is, etc. Managed with the help of a Korean couple.

Well, I say tram. When I hear “tram”, I think of antiques crunching their way around Christchurch. Christchurch, by the way, has more people living in it than Bordeaux. Bordeaux’s not big, but apparently the mayor here woke up one morning and said, “Fuck it. We’re going to make Bordeaux fucking b’dass.” Here’s Lonely Planet on it:

The mayor, ex-Prime Minister Alain Juppé, roused Bordeaux, pedestrianising its boulevards, restoring its neoclassical architecture, and implementing a high-tech public-transport system. His efforts paid off: in mid-2007 half of the entire city was Unesco-listed, making it the largest urban World Heritage Site.

“Hey, where’s the World Heritage Site around here?” Mogo doesn’t socialise.

So, smaller in population than Christchurch, and when I hear “tram” I think “antique”, basically. So getting on a goddam space elevator was a bit of a surprise. I was told before coming to Europe that I’d want to spit on Auckland’s public transport-system when I returned, but that’s not quite accurate. I’m no longer entirely convinced that Auckland even has a public-transport system.

The space elevators trams cover most of the city, and they’re 1.40 Euro no matter how far you go. And they go fast. And they’re clean and they’re frequent.

Anyway, that’s where we are now. Gonna grab some breakfast, find a backpackers to stay at, and look into this “Bordeaux wine tour” thingee.

Keep it foolish.