In search for the best cheese.
25.01.2013 - 27.01.2013 2 °C
With the beginning of new year Koldo´s hyperactivity lets know about itself and so he proposes the plan of massive invasions on nearby cities starting with Bordeaux. People´s response is really positive and soon after we are about 20 couchsurfers from Bilbao heading to this beautiful city in four different cars, each leaving at different time, to spend the weekend in France.
It´s only 400 km away from home, about 3,5 hour ride. Everybody, so the Bilbonians as the French, are really positive about the upcoming experience. The organisation is going smoothly and all is set by the time we arrive.
The weekend starts on Friday night (the 25th of January) with the welcoming party which unfortunately I couldn´t attend beacuse of my working hours. With the group of four friends, who for different reasons couldn´t leave earlier, we live Bilbao around 9pm to arrive past midnight. Bordeaux welcomes us with the freezing rain, the temperature is around 2 degrees, and even though the bar where everybody is gathered is close, we are soaked to the skin. Finally we find the place, which is just closing. The lights are on and by the look on people´s faces you can tell that most of them is ready for bed, looking forward to take some rest before Saturday full of activities. And so is Koldo and my host Laurent. I take off mu coat to put it back on few minutes after. We get on the car and drive to Yvrac, where Laurent lives with his brother. Quick tour around the house, short conversation with his brother and we go to sleep.
Next morning we get up around 10 am, with no rush, we have breakfast and shower and leave the house to join the rest of couchsurfers in the meeting point - the local food market. People take their time, as always, so some of us decide to try the local specialty - oysters and the red fish soup. We choose to go for a walk around the food stands. I love markets and visit them whenever I have the opportunity. There´s no better view on the people´s daily lives as through the food products they buy and eat everyday. The most numerous are cheese and seafood stalls with an impressive selection of goods.
Finally we´re all there and ready to jump into cars and go for an excursion to the local vineyard and wine cellar - Chateau Magneau. It´s a small family business, passed from father to son for generations. Our tourguide is the wife of the present owner. In one hour long tour she explains us the process of wine production, from harvest, through fermentation until packing in bottles and selling. Really interesting for wine lovers. Unfortunately I am not one of them so I use the time to get lost between the wine barrels and take some pictures. The deal with the owners is that instead of paying the entrance fee we´ll buy some of their products. When the visit is finished we move into the reception for the wine tasting and some shopping.
The visit finishes around 5pm and we hit the town. We´ve been in Bordeaux for almost 24 hours now and haven´t even seen it yet so it´s the right time. We are supposed to go all together but we lose them on the way so we decide to walk around on our own, with our host and his friend Arriane only. The city is beautiful and in a very good shape. We walk along the river seeing the old town from the outside first and listening to Laurent´s stories about the history of the city and his own experiences in it (wich to be honest I always find more interesting - the city without people is only bricks and walls).
It´s getting dark and the full moon climbs high on the sky giving the city a romantic touch. We move into the Old Town and there she is. The carousel. One of those beautiful, shining with colours and bursting with music that I always wanted to ride. Coming from post-communist country I never really had a chance, so this is going to be my first time. We buy the tickets and get into the conversation with the salesman. It turns out that his dad owned few of them in Spain and France, among them the one in San Sebastian and then he passed them onto his son. When he discovers that it´s the first time for me he gives us the free ride ticket which allows us to invite Arianne. It´s so much fun, even if it´s short.
Finally we say goodbye to Laurent and Arriane who are going for dinner in the Indian restaurant and we head to another meeting point. This time it´s a bar run by people from Dominicana where the locals come to dance salsa on Saturday evenings. Another point in the invasion weekend - cheese and wine tasting. The downstairs room changes into an open bar restaurant. The table is bending under the weight of all the goods and we get to try different textures and tastes of cheese and wine. There´s also some jamón, jams and ciders. What a feast! By 10 pm everybody is full and a little bit drunk. We have a small competition of traditional spanish and french songs, some of them require everybodies patricipation which turns to be a lot of fun.
When the bar´s customers start coming all is cleaned and put back on it´s places and the party starts. The music is good and almost everybody starts to move their hips to the rythm. Locals join us and soon after the dancefloor is fool and everybosy is having fun. Finally Laurent, who joined us after the dinner, tells us that Arriane is tired so we go back home. Once we´re there we look at the clock - only 1 am! Still we are exhausted so we shove to bed, ´cause tomorrow we have a long drive back home.