Saturday, September 27, 2008

Snails and Wine

Marie-Jeanne's cousin, Marguerite (who lives in Burgundy) met us at the end of our tour of Hotel Dieu and took us to lunch at one of her favorite local restaurants, which is located in an old wine cellar.

We had a delicious, traditional Burgundy meal, featuring--of course--snails (see top photo) and wonderful local wine. (Incidentally, despite their appearance, I thought the snails were actually quite good!)

After lunch, we walked around town for an hour or two, exploring mainly the old city walls. I have several good photos from this, but there's just too much to post here. To see all the photos, click here.

We then met Marguerite again, and she drove us out to an old childhood friend of hers who happens to own his own chateau and vineyard. The second photo is of one of the many vineyards we passed on the way there. The third photo is of his chateau.

This man kindly took us down to his private cellar and gave us a wine tasting. (See bottom photo, which was taken by Marguerite.) This was a real highlight of the trip! He showed us a map of vineyards and explained a bit about the wine-making process (in French, of course, which Marie-Jeanne and Marguerite then kindly translated.)

We were there about a week before they would start harvesting the grapes. During the harvesting period, this man would host up to several dozen workers for a couple weeks to help him harvest the grapes. It sounded like a great opportunity for someone on a limited budget looking to travel--free food and lodging in Burgundy along with a paycheck.

We bought three bottles of wine from the man to bring back here to Greece as presents. After our visit, Marguerite drove us out to her house which was about another half-hour way out in the country. It's truly beautiful land! Although half the French population lives in the cities (including about 10 million in Paris and environs), that means the other half lives out in rural, agricultural areas like this.

We explored Marguerite's garden and had tea before she drove us back to the train station for our 7:30 PM departure. From Beaune, we headed back to Dijon, the old capital of Burgundy, where we would have an hour and half layover to quickly explore the city.

More tomorrow...

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