Flight to Bordeaux and Hotel
My trip to Bordeaux, France began on Friday, August 8th as I left the Guoman Tower Hotel in London, England and headed out to the London Bridge train station. The taxi ride was quick and uneventful, and soon I was on the station platform waiting for a train. My friend Peter May and his wife Joan were my companions for the trip. After a short wait the train arrived with them on it. I joined them, and we were off! Peter is the wine editor at BellaOnline.com and very knowledgeable about wine.
We got to Gatwick Airport two hours ahead of the flight, and check-in was quick and easy. We had a half bottle of Champagne while we waited for the gate assignment to show up on the overhead board. Eventually our gate number was displayed and we headed out. Boarding was quick, the flight was smooth and they offer free wine. Quite a nice treat, compared with the US where wine on a flight can easily be $7/glass.
We landed at the other end, immigration was quick, we got our bags, and soon we were out of the customs area. Hamish, our guide from Bella Wine Tours, was waiting for us on the other end! We walked through vineyards right at the airport - there are vines everyhere in Bordeaux - and found his car. He got us all tucked into his car and we headed out to the main city of Bordeaux.
The weather was sunny and bright, and it was interesting driving past building after building of a grey-tan stone. Everything was made out of this one color. Our hotel was right near the Opera House surrounded by tons of restaurants and cafes. A perfect location.
Gas prices are extremely high in Europe - about double the price in the US. A sign we passed indicated the price of gas is 1.63 euros a liter. So let's see how that converts. 1.63 euros is $2.35. So the gas is $2.35 a liter. One gallon of gas is 3.79 liters. That means the gas is $8.91 a gallon. And people in the US complain about their prices!
We got settled in, and I took photos of the hotel room. For travelers used to US sized rooms it's important to point out that many hotel rooms in Europe are SMALL. Space is at a premium here. So I had two bathroom areas. One was incredibly tiny and had only the toilet in it. The other was also tiny and had the sink and shower. Also it's important to note that European power is different than US power - you need a converter to plug a US style plug into the wall.
It was time to find some food! Peter, Joan, and I headed out exploring the streets. We passed a variety of interesting shops before deciding to eat at the Cajou Caffe. This had both an outer patio area in a square courtyard as well as an inside area. We ate inside as many people were smoking outside.
The fresh bread came with a tapenade which was quite delicious. I was hoping this would be a tradition at all restaurants we visited during our time in France, but this was the only time we saw a tapenade during our stay. We had a botle of Chateau Le Breuil Renaissance 2008. I had a salmon dish and was intrigued when I found many bones in it. In the US the salmon steak would be a boneless dish. Still, it was tasty!
We headed back to the hotel, I caught up on email and work, and then it was time to get some sleep in to prepare for our first day of winery tours.
Photos from the Flight, Hotel, and Cajou Caffe
Bordeaux Winery Trip - main page
Winery Reviews Main Listing