Paris – The Catacombs and Beyond



The Catacombs are cool – in a creepy sort of way – but the best thing about the was having a prepaid ticket that took you to the front of AT LEAST a 2 hour wait.  That was amazing.


Oh yeah, and the bones are pretty cool too.


You exit the catacombs about a mile away from where you entered, so we were quite near the Galleries Lafayette, the Parisien version on a shopping mall.  ‘Cuz Momma needs some shoes.  Found some – they are pretty cool and look like they can hold up to the Vancouver-style of winter.

Then, home for a quick nap, a drink on our new favourite square, Place de Contrescarpe:


(yes, those two on the far right are dancing) and then out for our much anticipated fondue dinner on Rue de Mouffetard (one of the oldest roads in Paris, also used by the Romans back in the day).

Saw this in a store entrance along the way:


The fondue was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  Lots of “mmmm, mmm, mmmm’s” coming from both of us. And, to top it off, a wonderfully talented tenor was standing on the opposite corner of the lane, serenading us all.  This is Paris.


So that was yesterday.  Obviously, we just rolled back to our hotel and fell into a cheese-induced stupor after dinner.

Today we had scheduled patisserie making class to learn how to make croissants and pain au chocolat.  Fortuitously, the class was only a few doors down from our hotel, however we were still the last to arrive (funny how that happens).  We learned everything there is to know about making these delicious pastries from the lovely and talented Amanda.  Don was a very good student.



Look Ma – we made croissants!!


This is where Amanda instructed that we were to “be one with the butter”!IMG_0175

We gave quite a few away to the young lady who was travelling with friends, because we are off home tomorrow.  But we kept two croissants each – bought some ham and cheese and a half bottle of red wine and enjoyed the most wonderful picnic in our little courtyard later in the day.IMG_0177

After our class, we needed a walk (we have only eaten croissants for three meals today!), so we headed to the Luxembourg Gardens that aren’t that far from our hotel.  What a gorgeous city park!  It even has a large shallow pond where children can put their little sail boats on and watch them stream across the water.


Seriously – don’t you think Don could rock pink pants?

Back to our little square Contrescarpe (new fav) for a few fries and beers before heading home for our croissant dinner.



It’s been fun Paris – a lesson on how to plan too many things, then to cut at least half of those plans, and – perhaps most importantly – to remember how fun it is to wander and discover “en place” and as you go.

But now it’s time to head home and enjoy, with a renewed appreciation, what that really means to us.  Besides, we have walked 218.7 km . . . my feet hurt!

Until next time . . .


Paris, Part Deux

Well, I guess it can happen to even the most seasoned travellers – we got scammed!  Came out of the train station in Paris and saw a couple of queues of taxis right outside.  A nice fellow approached us and said do you want a taxi?  I said yes, and he said, right this way – spoke to the driver at the head of the queue of black cars and in we got.  Now I don’t want to make excuses, but here’s mine – we don’t have Uber, so I don’t know how it usually goes, therefore I didn’t know this was not the way it goes.  It has since been explained to me by a very disappointed David, that you agree on the fare in advance with Uber and also, you never pay the driver directly.  Well, if we had Uber in Vancouver, I would know this.  And, in my defence, I didn’t request an Uber and was not expecting to be in one.  So, and you probably already know where this is going, we get to our hotel – a 15 minute drive – and the driver announces the fare:  100 euro.  Don and I both screeched – “what – no way!!”.  To which I added – “that’s not happening” with menopausal finality.

The driver called “customer service”, who spoke English – who asked where our start and stop points were.  He appeared to be agreeing with me, but then said, “the most he can charge you is 85 euros”.  I told him we had been to Paris recently and been charged 10 euros for a 10 minute trip, and 50 euros for an hour’s drive from the airport!  So he asked to speak to the driver again.  Mind you, the driver was making no move to open the trunk and let us have our suitcases.  So I get the phone back and the customer service guy says, “give him 70 and he’ll give you a receipt”.  Meanwhile the driver was getting agitated so I kind of decided I was willing to pay 50 euro to get out of the situation.  He said 65 so I finally agreed (I have since learned that I had several other options including:  telling him our money was in the suitcase so he would open the trunk; threatening to call the police; pushing the button to our Hotel, upon which they would have come out and reamed the guy up one side and down the other (I learned later).  Our reception lady said the trip should have been about 15 euros.

So that little lesson cost us a bit.  Hopefully this cautionary tale will help someone else.  If there is no taxi meter, discuss the price in advance.  At the very least.

Whew.  Now that I have that off my chest, we can talk about Paris.

Our place here is in a good spot and kind of cute in a tumble down sort of way – our room is not the best (and not what I requested), but the people here are really nice and, just up the street is a very quaint, Latin Quarter square with music and people and students and so much going on.  I think we will through away my restaurant research and just enjoy where we are at.  After we got settled in, we walked to the Musee l’Orangerie to see Monet’s curved water lilies and some of Renoir’s paintings.  We hadn’t attempted the Metro yet in all our visits to Paris, so we walked – 12.9 km all told.

(click on a photo to see it full sized)

Saw a few other things along the way:


You can see that the weather is much better now and we are back into the warm sunshine.

Stumbled upon this little place – it was on my list of places I wanted to photograph, but I didn’t know where it was until we happened on it while trekking home to our hotel.


So today, we decided (actually my aching feet decided) that we were going to lose our Metro Virginity.  Got our marching orders from the lovely receptionist and off we went.  Not worrying about terrorists or anything.  Made it to Sacre Coeur – it is – of course – amazing!!


Inside is gorgeous and entry is free.  There was a service in progress and a nun with the most beautiful voice was singing.  If you follow me on Instagram, you can hear a short snippet.

After Sacre Coeur, we just wandered around the Monmartre area – it is extremely quaint, very touristy and there are at least 20 caricature and portrait artists plying their trade – more or less aggressively.  We stopped for a beer and these Italian guys ended up sitting beside us – check out their gear:


They had at least two cameras per guy.  One of them tried to take a photo of a portrait artist as he was walking by, trying to convince people to let him sketch them, and he held up his hand and said, “No, No – I don’t like the paparazzi!!”.  So he doesn’t like to be bugged.  Which is pretty rich, considering what he does for a living.  Anyway – I figured this might be a good time to get a decent photo of Don and me, so I asked the bald guy if he would mind taking a photo of us on my camera.  Absolutely!  He took three – and this was the best of Don (!):


So, fortified by yet another sandweesh jambon and two big beers (20 minutes later:  what were we thinking!!??), we did a bit more wandering and got a few more great shots.


Off to find the Moulin Rouge and the Metro (cuz now we’re pros)


Made it home, have had half a bottle of the wine we need to drink before we leave Monday (1.5 bottles to go – I think we can do it!) while sitting outside in the little garden here and now we are going to put our feet up until dinner.  Ahh, it’s a beautiful life.

Well Hello Strasbourg – It’s Been A While!

Actually, it’s been forty-five years, give or take, since my last visit.  I was here a couple of times with my parents when we lived in Germany way back in the ’70s (I was 14 or 15 at the time), so I don’t remember much of anything besides the glorious front of  Strasbourg Cathedral.  And it didn’t disappoint.  Absolutely amazing.  But we were too tired to go in today, so it is on the agenda for tomorrow.  As is making our way back to the train station to see if our tickets from here to Paris can be changed from the wrong day to the right day.  Oops.


Note the steed extending out of the frame below – just amazing artistry:017_9889017_9857017_9858

Our hotel room is really cool.  Typical Alsatian style with loads of dark beams and little windows that look out at church spires in every direction.





Our lady at the desk insisted on making us a lunch reservation and asked us why type of food we wanted, French or Alsatian.  I was a bit confused – weren’t we in France?  But no,  this area is quite distinct.  So of course, we went with the local, Alsatian option.  So she made us a rezzo and it turned out to be one of the places I had noted from my research.


Now, that’s a lunch!  Split a sandwich for dinner.  The rest of the time we just wandered around the old quarters of Strasbourg.


The following day (today) we headed to the train station early and managed to change our train tickets for a small surcharge – whew!  Then we saw a McDonalds and decided to go in so Don could get a “real” coffee (transl:  percolated).  Turns out, McDonalds is not the same everywhere and we stood in a long line up with one poor barista making espresso coffees and bagging pastries for everyone while the food had to be ordered on a screen and picked up at a different counter.  But . . . whatever.  This was our first (and probably our last) McDonalds experience abroad.

We headed towards the cathedral and went inside – it is magnificent.  And these ladies rock!!  Confidently poking demons in the eye – you go girls!



Then one of us had the (stupid) idea to walk to the top of the tower.  That’s 380 steps straight up y’all.


But okay – the view from the top was pretty spectacular.017_9924

Time for lunch.  We have been looking all over for a bratwurst – this is supposed to be a melange of German and French cultures after all.  Finally found it on a street corner.  Zah-Zah and I really hit it off.  017_9933017_9934


We wandered around the streets a little while longer and then headed back to our hotel.  Here is the “gents” – medieval style:


We thought this was interesting – look how many chimneys there are for this house:017_9936

So – funny story about dinner tonight.  We wanted to eat at this other place that we had researched from home and also stumbled across on our wanderings.  It is the building on the far left and we wanted to sit at the water level if possible.  So we went in at about lunchtime and asked to make a reservation for dinner.  Sure, no problem.  On the lower floor, sure no problem.  At the window.  Uhm – at the window is only for parties of 6, but we can seat you across from that and you will still have the view.  Fine.  We make our reservation for 7:00 and off we go.  After cocktails in our hotel’s wine bar, we head out and find ourselves at our restaurant at 6:40.  We think – shouldn’t be a problem – let’s go in.  Well . . . we manage to fuddle the guy completely (same guy who made the reservation for us just a few hours before).  He spoke English, so I said, I know we’re early, but . . .  No problem, he grabbed two menus and headed towards the middle of the middle floor of the restaurant.  Uhm . . . no . . . we have a reservation for downstairs, I said.  Oh, but you’re early, he said.  Can you come back in 20 minutes?  I said, in French, is someone sitting at our table?  To which he just said, it’s okay?  you come back later?


Now I’m as patient as the next person (right?) but my bs meter was off the charts – how was it possible that we were waiting for people to leave a table when most French people haven’t even started thinking about dinner time until a full hour later?  So I said “okay” and then as a big group entering the restaurant took his attention away from me, I headed downstairs to see for myself if all the tables were currently taken.  And (other than Don sitting across from me, which happened a minute later) this is what we saw:


An older lady met us at the bottom of the stairs and I said, we have a reservation for a table on the side and she started to take us there and then said, why don’t we just sit near the window?!  Thank you lady with some common sense!  In the whole time we were there, there was only one table of 4 – all the rest were for only 2.  And this was the view we had been hoping for:IMG_0099

So the moral of the story is:  all’s well that ends well.  The guy was an idiot, but he’s not me, so too bad for him.  Is that a moral?  It should be.  Off to Paris tomorrow – a bientot!



Colmar, We Bid You Adieu.

No driving for Don today – just some wandering and a few stops for coffee, beer and whatever else takes our fancy.  Same boulangerie caught our eye and we picked up two glorious sandwiches and desserts (I’m getting a whole one this time!) for lunch – no restaurant could do better. Had this wonderful lunch on our hotel room’s little patio.


Don needed a beer after lunch (but of course!!) so we headed out to find a table in the sunshine. Found a great little spot where the tourists load into the little boats for a 30 minute ride up and down the canal. We ordered a couple of beers and enjoyed the people watching. Don thought maybe we should do the boat ride, since we are here. What do you think we did:  have another beer or take the boat ride?


Actually, that’s not really a fair question, because the sun went behind the clouds and we didn’t end up doing either.

We have looked at a bunch of restaurants, but none seemed to jump out at us for a dinner choice. Many are closed today (Monday) and others seem too fancy (have already had three looonnnggg dinners, thank you very much). Last night was at the Italian place next door and was very good, but we want to try someplace different for our last night. There is a schnitzel place just a couple doors down, so we may try there. The trick here is to either make a reservation, if you want to eat at a normal European time like 7 or 7:30, or, get there early, when they open for dinner, at about 6:30 and then you will be able to snag a table no problemo. So I think that’s what we’ll do tonight – I feel like schnitzel and Don wants a tarte flambee, which is basically a very thin crust pizza with a cream sauce instead of the usual tomato sauce.

Right now I am sitting in the lobby, hoping for a better connection to upload my photos, but have been here for about 20 minutes and the one test one hasn’t uploaded to the blog site yet, so I think this hotel is a bust as far as photos go.

Colmar has been great – definitely worth 3 or 4 days. The medieval old town is extremely charming and very walkable, and Colmar is close to the Route de Vins, the road that goes through all the picturesque little wine villages. But it is choca-bloc full of tourists and tours and two different lines of tourist choo-choo trains – a bit overrun with tourists in every shape and size for our liking. There is a fine line between the tiny village with no restaurants and nothing to do and the larger village with stuff to do and a million other people to dodge around.


Tomorrow we are off to Strasbourg for 2 nights, then Paris for 4 nights, then home – already! Though I think we are both ready to come home. Don is missing his little doggies and I am getting tired of trying to make myself understood in a foreign language, though it has been coming back to me, there comes a point where I get stuck. Last night the waiter asked where we were from and I said, “Canada”. He said, “And you don’t speak French?”, to which I replied, in French, yes, I do, but I think your English is better”. Later I said a sentence in half English, half French and he laughed and said, “now we’re speaking Franglish – okay”.


Festivals and Castles and Grumpy Women

The mornings here have been decent, weather wise, so we decided to get a move on early, but then both slept in until 9:00. Made it to the leftovers at the breakfast buffet, which closes at 10:00. Both Don and another guy took the uncooked eggs, thinking they were hardboiled. I had to tell the other guy in two languages: pas cuit, nicht gekoched before he and his wife figured out what I meant – then they laughed. This is the first time I have ever seen a do-it-yourself soft boiled egg bar, but yes – that is what it is. There are about 10 little baskets that go down in boiling water and you have to time it yourself (and remember which basket you used) then remember to go back and get it. One was soft and one was hard – I will probably do better tomorrow on that one. Also while we were having breakfast, a marathon went by. Usually Don and I would avoid going anywhere there was a marathon in progress, but we had no idea and, in the end, it didn’t cause any problems for us traffic wise.


Apparently the guy who made the Statue of Liberty did a practice sculpture and it is right here in Colmar. Today was the first time I have seen it.

So, off to Saint Hippolyte to catch the New Wine Festival! Don didn’t want to go – blah blah blah, too early, can’t drink and drive, will be a big disappointment, I’m tired, yadda yadda yadda. And whaddayaknow – it was fun! Local oohmpapa band playing the tunes and a few people in costumes hovering about. We tried the “new” wine – tasted a lot like apple juice! But the MC said we had to drink a new bottle every two hours, because it changed that quickly. There was some good looking food there too, but we weren’t hungry yet, so we had our wine, enjoyed the band and then headed for the nearby castle of Haut Koenigsburg which we had seen from afar while driving towards the wine fest.



Look up . . . look way up . . . Haut Koenigsburg is a wonderful castle, complete with original toilets, a windmill, a chapel, and delightful paintings and carvings throughout. AND it was “get in free day” today. Which, again, Don and I would never normally do because the crowds are likely to be astronomical, but – ignorance is bliss – and we got in free. It was during the lunch hours (yes, that is two hours here – at least!), so the crowds were a little lighter than they might have been.

The small outcropping on the left is the “toilet” – direct line (don’t fall in!) to the outside (don’t stand next to the wall!).


The view from the top, down over the countryside, is simply amazing.


By the time we have toured the castle, it is about two o’clock and we are famished. Don suggests that we go to Riquewihr, where we have been once before, and have lunch at a place he remembers. Ms. GPS says it is only ten minutes away, so off we go. Find the village, find parking on the outside of the ramparts, know our way into the interior of the village and are feeling pretty smug and self-satisfied until we sit down at an outdoor table at the restaurant, only to be told we can’t order food. And after delivering that message our lady disappears, never to be seen again. “What do you want to do?”, Don asks. “Well, we could still have a drink”, I say. Eventually a younger, slightly nicer person comes and takes our drink order. “What kind did you get?” Don asked. “White”, I said. In the meantime, I go across the lane and buy us two pretzel-shaped doughnuts to tide us over. When the younger women fails to return, Don says, “let’s go”. But eureka, just then, she comes out with our white wine and we enjoy watching the people go by, munching our doughnuts and sipping our wine.


We head down the street to where we know there is a good wine tasting at the Dopf-Orion winery, looking to see if any restaurant is actually serving at this time (4:00). Voila, we find one that says it has continuous service. Great – we go in and the only person in the place gives us two menus. After which, she grabs her ciggies and matches and heads out the front door! Don has just about had it and I get up to see if there is anyone else in the kitchen, but no, apparently there is no one else. He said, forget it and we gather our stuff and head out the front door. Our lady comes over with her cigarette from chatting with her friends across the street with a questioning look. I say, in halting French, “we can’t wait”. She tries to get us to go back in – if she had seen Don’s face, she wouldn’t have bothered! In the end we found a ham and cheese baguette, which we split and were happy.




By this time, the rain had started again, so we had a tasting and headed back to our car and home to Colmar. Tomorrow is our last day here, so I think we will just stay close to home and explore some of the windy side streets we haven’t seen yet. It’s a great place to visit – unfortunately the other tourists have found it too, so we have found it a bit crowded for our liking, but you cannot deny it’s charm – it’s absolutely gorgeous.


Can You Say, “Eguisheim”!? (Bless You!)


Many villages in France have claimed the designation “one of the most beautiful villages in France”. However, due to time constraints, we have had to narrow the field down to just a couple in this area. Though, having been through quite a few of them on our way here or there, I think we can agree that they are all unique and picturesque in their own way.

Today we headed for Eguisheim – the main square of which provided the inspiration for the village in The Beauty of the Beast. All of the roads inside the old ramparts are circular and your literally go round and round, at some point ending up where you started.




Naturally, everyone wants the same photos – and we want them without any people in them. This is pretty much impossible. There were two annoying photographers in the group we were kind of walking with, so Don and I finally hung back to let them walk ahead, and around the bends so that we could get our shots. This wasn’t a bad strategy and, even though there really were people everywhere, we managed mostly to work around them.

Saw these cute shoes – I liked them more than Don did.  “Not that funny” he said.  This from the guy who thinks saying “pee-pee lemieux” is hilarious.


Also, it looks like this sign is showing two children drinking. No problemo, right?


Although we did see both of the photographers again (it was inevitable) along the way – one I said “Hi again!” to and he looked at me like he had never seen me before in his life and why was I talking to him, and the other passed us in a stairwell and said, smiling, “vous encore!” (you again!), to which we all laughed.

It is a beautiful village and the weather held while we walked and walked, until we found ourself in the main square with the church and a fountain. You can see the stork nests on top of the church.



Left Eguisheim and headed for Turckheim. Whose claim to fame is the nightwatchman’s tower, which I’m not sure we ever found. We did a four square search though and the tiny village is very picturesque, until the rain starts to come down in sheets. Then it is time to pack your camera inside your jacket and run for the car.




Well, we saw two of the four or five villages on our ambitious list from home today!

Back to the hotel for a glass of wine and a nap.

[Now with photos] Rain and Hail and Thunder, Oh My!

Arrived in Colmar yesterday afternoon – the weather has turned from sunny and warm in Sarlat to cold and wintry in Comar.  All the locals are dressed in their winter gear:  puffy jackets with faux fur hoods, jeans, boots, scarves and hats.  I, of course, have short pants, and bare feet in sandals.



Not to mention that the weather in the last few days has taken a distinct turn for the worse.  Yesterday we drove through torrential rain for over an hour and today we have had that, hail, and a thunder storm.  Can you say – Jan needs to go shopping!?!  Monoprix to the rescue!  Left Don sitting under an awning to get out of the hail and had an entire wardrobe from Monoprix in 15 minutes.  Jacket, sweater, jeans, socks and boots – done!  Now I don’t feel like such a dunkelhammer walking along in my yoga pants and sandals.  Though my pedicure has held up very well.

Et – voila!


Now I fit right in.  Most of the tourists we have seen and met have been French, with other European Union countries next and then a few Americans.  Many less than we usually see, though we are currently staying in a Rick Steves recommended hotel, so we have encountered the most Americans here.

Colmar is amazing.  Gorgeous.  Full of tourists from all over the world.  Very full.  But it is understandable because it is so unique.  Here are a few photos from today:




Here’s what happens quite often when you are trying to take a photo – people just stop right in front of you to take their photo – completely oblivious.  Other photographers can be really annoying.  So I took this shot (just to be annoying).  But he didn’t even notice.



Don found a Fromagerie and was pretty much salivating over the cheese.  Apparently the local Munster is quite famous, but this guy warned us that it was “stinky” and better in a fondue.  Well, that works for me – point us in the right direction and we will try it in a fondue!


Then we stumbled upon the covered market.  This is usually the way we find things 🙂  Inside was meat, cheese, veggies, coffee, etc.  I looked up at one point to find Don standing speechless, like a statue, pointing to the patisserie display.  So we have found our breakfast place.  Took our coffees and patisseries outside and sat by the canal watching the other tourists.


Thus fortified, we wandered the windy, circular streets some more.  The photo below shows the little barges that ply the canal – mostly with tourists these days.


This photo is actually the reflection of a building in the water of the canal.


Cheese . . .


This is what Don looks like when I make him wait until I have a photo of his plate before he can take the first bite:








It is so fun having Don’s baby brother and his wife here with us. Stew can always make us laugh, even when things are getting tense in the navigation department or when the drive on a little windy road through the vineyards turns into a roller coaster ride. Last night we took them out for Stew’s 60th birthday. Everyone here the B&B got involved in trying to find us a restaurant that was a) open and b) had room for us. Tres difficile apparently. But, success at last and we were booked into a little restaurant only 11 minutes down the road by car. Here you get your table for the whole night – no quick turnover – and also, the restaurants are small, last night there were only about 10 tables and by the time we left, all were full.

Once we sat down, we noticed there were faux stuffed animal heads all over the walls. Some were decoupage, some sparkly, some tartan etc. The restaurant was very quiet for the first half of our meal, but I managed to sneak this mirror selfie in by whispering to Stew, Laurie and Don to turn and look at themselves in the mirror. Not a great shot, but you get the idea. The rest of the shots are of our food and the birthday boy.


Yesterday, as we sped home on the toll highway we found there was no turn off to a castle village we wanted to see, so we tried again today, this time instructing Ms. GPS to avoid toll roads. That worked perfectly, and soon we were at the foot of a hill, topped with the most perfect chateau and village – Chateau en Auxois.



Click on any of the below images to see them full size:



On our way home, Laurie spotted a tiny boulangerie. Don skidded to a stop and we hopped out to buy the most wonderful sandwiches and patisseries to have for lunch back at our B&B.


Then Don did the dishes and Stew dried. Then end.


Abbaye de Fontenay and Flavigny

Today’s weather has been really hit and miss. The locals are decked out in puffy jackets, scarves, long pants and boots, so we are standing out like rank beginner tourists these last couple of days. This is the second trip I have been caught out without a single pair of long pants and closed shoes, so – note to self – bring the jeans, even if you think it is probably going to be hot.

Based on our fellow guest’s recommendation, we headed out for an Abbey about an hour’s drive from here, called Abbaye de Fontenay. The little blurb we have says that there is chanting there and that sounded marvellous, so we arrived just in time for that. Unfortunately, they don’t do that anymore. However, if we still wanted to hear it, the person at the desk said with a smile, you could buy the cd. Huh.

So we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful abbey.



From there, we headed south to Flavigny – the location for the film “Chocolat”. Even though the village was mostly closed up tight, we really enjoyed wandering around this enchanting little village. Even found a good place to eat (one of two open right now) that had homemade quiches and desserts, great salads and a whole bottle of red wine for 6 euros. Felt a bit like a ski chalet, and it was quite windy outside, so we were especially grateful for the cozy feeling inside.


There is still a seminary here, so we saw quite a few priests walking around.


Of course, once we get home we will have to re-watch Chocolat – can’t actually remember too much about it – so that will be a fun evening of wine and . . . chocolat

Tomorrow is our last day here and after that we and the “other” Curries will part ways until we get home. Not sure what is on the agenda for tomorrow, but we did see a sign that said Chateau Pommard. This is a two street village, and I haven’t seen any sign of it so far, so I am intrigued enough to see where the sign leads.

Here’s a photo of our B&B:


Tonight we head out for a nice dinner to celebrate Stew’s 60th birthday – just a little belatedly.

Look Out Burgandy – Here Come the Curries

Harvest is a busy time at our little B&B. Our hostess has to feed the 25 pickers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is homemade, including the yogourt and jams. Every time we see her, she and/or her assistant are either in the kitchen or at the log table preparing something for the next meal. So needless to say, she is a bit harried – and Don keeps asking her questions or directions, or to make a reservation, or for wineglasses . . . I think she is happy to see us climbing into our car in the mornings!


Yesterday we checked out Beaune. We tried very hard to get a wine tasting – with three strike outs: one was closed up tight, one said she might be able to fit us in for a tour/tasting in two days, and one initially told us to come back in an hour and when we did, explained further that doing a tasting for four people wouldn’t be worthwhile for her business! So much for that. But she did direct us sot the Marche au Vins, where you could pay 10 euros to taste 4 wines and wander through their cellars. Which we did – it’s a self-guided tasting, so you just wander from station to station with your little sommelier’s tasting cup. Somewhere around the 7th wine, we figured out that maybe we weren’t supposed to be sampling the ones upstairs (you could pay more and do that), but no one said not to, so we did.


And let me be the first to let you gents in on the absolute latest fashion here in Burgundy:


Today we took the train for Dijon. Due to renovations in the station, the cans are a ports-potty outside. I headed in that direction and when I got there, there were 4 teenage boys standing outside it. I said, is it free? And they said a bunch of stuff I didn’t catch, but I did hear “pas propre” (not proper) and then they pointed to a bistro across the street and said it would be better if I went there. So I thanked them and walked into the bistro. I asked if it was okay to use the toilet and the lady behind the bar said no, it is just for customers, have a nice day”. So I headed back to the ports-potty but one look inside was enough to make me hold it until we got on the train. Laurie later said that they had eaten in that same bistro and the guy wouldn’t call them a cab. Not nice people.

The weather has turned from stoking hot to cool fall – all the locals are in boots and coats. Of course, we didn’t pack any of that stuff and are walking around in shorts, sandals and white pants which got a scowl today from a very well dressed lady in Dijon. Cut me some slack lady, I’m living out of a suitcase for a month!

The main reason for visiting Dijon is, naturally, for mustard. We found the Maille shop and they have four specialty mustards that they pour into your container from a spigot, like draft beer. We also went into another mustard shop, this one had a coin operated mustard machine! Just in case you are in a hurry, and need a little mustard for your sandweesh.


We saw a couple of wonderful churches.  As we were walking into the last one, one of the guys said, “Wow, that’s really cool.  Have you seen any Whitecaps games lately?”  Laurie and I both laughed.


Dijon is a good stop – a little bigger than some of the small towns we have been in and a little dingier, a little less restored, but still charming for all that.


Saw some great shoes.


And now it’s off back home for . . . wine time!!  Luckily our hostess has a limitless supply of their own wine (which is very good).  The last two bottles have been dusty and without a label, just a notation of the year – yes, this is the good stuff!