We are still at Chateau de Sanse (http://www.chateaudesanse.com/en/index.html) and will be here for the next 4 days still. We have the whole Chateau to ourselves except that the restaurant is open for lunch during the day. Given we plan to generally be out for the day that is not really a big issue for us. Breakfast was again a traditional continental breakfast. The coffee was so strong, I even thought it was strong – I think you could have stood a spoon upright in it.
We decided to go to Saint-Emilion today. It was about 20 miles from the Chateau (to the west). It is an amazing town and known for it’s wines (there are vineyards right in the town) and it’s architecture. It is actually now a World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/932) mainly because of the ruins which are interspersed throughout the town, some of which date back over 1000 years. The first vineyard was planted here in the 2nd century (no that was not a typo). It is clearly a very popular town to visit as there were a lot of people and very few open parking spaces.
You basically park on the outside of the town and then walk through the cobbled streets. I ended up with 8 ladies who were planning on shopping. The rest of the men went off by themselves to explore. Not sure why I chose to stay with the ladies (maybe it was guarding the credit card) but I did. The funny thing was that there are lots of shops in Saint-Emilion but very few the ladies were interested in. That is because I counted 32 wine shops – no not kidding – 32. And it is a really small town you can walk through in about 10 minutes if you walked non-stop. And those 32 wine shops pretty much don’t overlap in what they sell. They all sell wines from local vineyards and will ship to almost anywhere in the world (but they weren’t keen to ship to SA for some reason). Besides the 32 wine shops there was one chocolate shop, one clothing shop, one soap shop and that was about it. While the ladies were all in one of those 3 shops, I was browsing a wine shop. The owner came out and saw me with 8 ladies and said “Lucky man … one man with 8 ladies, a Frenchman’s dream”!
We never thought our whole group would agree on a lunch venue so when we split up we said do your own thing for lunch. The 9 of us decided though to go to the Creperie that we saw on the way in and fortunately they had free tables. As we entered we found my brother and the rest of his clan already there too. The French know how to make pancakes. Most of our table had sweet ones (apple with salted caramel sauce) but I had a savory one (ham, mozzarella & tomato). They were really excellent and not even that expensive. After lunch we headed back to the Chateau to chill for the balance of the afternoon (and fortunately found that they had fixed the WiFi and I could post yesterday’s blog – even though it is VERY slow especially when 30 people are uploading photos onto Facebook).
Dinner tonight was at the Chateau restaurant and again the food was fantastic and the service was superb. After dinner we convened in the conference room for some reminiscing which tonight was done by Dawn (the chief bridesmaid at the wedding 50 years ago) and Megan (my cousin on my Mom’s side and their flower girl). That was followed by a game of family bingo – the bingo board being phrases my parent’s use, meaningful family names (like Petandalyn – which is a combination of my and my siblings names), places and other things that mark out the family. Everyone played and it was great fun to just relax and not have to do anything cerebral at all besides shout out Bingo when your board was filled.
Now (11:30pm) the majority of the cousins are down at the git playing games. Last night some of them (read boys) were up at 2am and 3am playing games and had it not been for me waking them up at 9:45am they would have missed breakfast this morning. Hopefully they will remember that tonight ….
P, H, S, M & C