After a very unorganised train ride where we had to stand up for much of it, we arrived at Bordeaux, and as usual, had booked a hotel close to the station which was even better for us as it was incredibly cheap.We soon found out why, we were pretty much on the border of what we imagine is Bordeaux's ghetto.We had to walk through said ghetto to get into the city centre, which made for some uncomfortable situations.The main one of these was, en route to the supermarket, a fight breaking out between two drunk and likely homeless women.The fight then spilled over to involving the men of the group with one king hitting one of the women and, fast forward five minutes, him being cuffed and taken away by the cops.
But once we did find our way out of the 'hood the rest of Bordeaux we saw was very nice.The road along the river Garrone that led into the CBD was quite spectacular, built to make an immediate impression on boats sailing in on the river.The river itself was huge, much like the Loire from what we'd seen so far, and carried a scary fast current.
Two weeks since having a washing machine available to us, we again had to spend a bit of time doing such housekeeping before rewarding ourselves with a nice dinner in the city.Realising we had a few French food specialties left to try, we ticked duck and macaroons off the list.
To finish off our stay we booked to go on one of the wine tours run by the local tourism office.With each day of the week covering a different area within Bordeaux's famous wine region, we headed just south of the city to the Graves region.It was worth doing the tour almost just for the sake of seeing all the chateau's from the road, which were so extravagant and neat compared with what we'd seen of wineries in Australia.The first we visited was Chateau Carbonnieux, classified for both its white and red wine varieties, which is a bit more uncommon given Bordeaux is predominantly famous for the latter.After doing the usual tour and hearing a spiel on their winemaking process we got to the most important part, and despite only getting a taste of their cheapest varieties, both were excellent.
Second stop for another tasting and lunch was Chateau Haut-Bailly, which immediately struck us as a class above the earlier winery.Owned by the one family for four generations it is only classified for its reds, although if price is any indicator of quality they must have some rippers, the outstanding 2005 vintage asking around A$200 a bottle from the cellar door.We didn't know what to expect from the lunch, but it was quite the duck centered feast including a trio of foie gras (duck liver), roast duck, cheese, chocolate dessert and more macaroons.Each course was served with a different wine, and this place didn't skimp on the offerings, giving us a taste of their 2007, 2003 and 1999 varieties.It was amazing the variety of each simply due to the differing weather conditions from year to year.While everyone was a bit hazy and tired we had one final stop at Chateau de La Brede, not a winery but the birthplace of famous French philosopher Montesceiu.The building was great and some of the history was interesting but it definitely wasn't the highlight of the day.All in all though the tour, while a bit expensive, was certainly worthwhile.
A kebab for dinner and a sleep later and it was time to leave France for San Sebastian, Spain.