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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Back to Bordeaux!!!

So many of my readers have asked me to put all the links to my recent Bordeaux based blog posts into one blog that I have. In chronological order we have the first five: Bordeaux bound, a trip to a superb Sunday food market on the quayside (with video), an exciting visit to the indoor market of Marché de Capucines where I visited the butcher's counter, the day I ate two steaks in one day and the Saturday evening I had moules frites with a lot of broken shells.

The following five are: who has stolen my Bordeaux Brasserie?, roast sea bass and sex on the street,  Yes Mum the Bordeaux fish and chip shop, lamb chops and limp chips for dinner, Spanish hams worth about 600€ each! and finally, Goodbye to Bordeaux. Just click on the lighter coloured links to enjoy the other Bordeaux blog posts listed here.

Well, except it is not quite au revoir just yet. I still have a lot of fond memories of this trip even though, four out of the five days, my feet were suffering badly from blisters. So as I sit dreaming of soft fresh brioche with steaming cups of coffee and people watching on the rue Ste Catherine back home here in Ruddington England I reflect with amusement on some of my observations and experiences.

Cow Street!

I wanted to have the experience of travelling on the Bordeaux buses as well as the trams and on the Tuesday my dream came true in quite an unexpected way. To save my feet I took the tram on line C from the city centre in the direction of the railway station (a former tram terminus) and stayed on for the ride as it appeared that the line had been considerably extended since March 2015. The route took me and a thousand school kids out into the suburbs and it was very interesting to see the various forms of houses and estates that the French live in. After about a half hour journey the tram stopped at the new small terminus called Vaklav Havel and everyone left got off.

At this stop a young woman asked me something in French and I replied that I didn't understand. It turned out that she was actually American and was going to meet a friend who lived near the city. We got chatting and boarded the tram. I told her of my holiday experiences including the blisters. The tram started off with more school kids on board and after five minutes it broke down. We were now miles and miles from the city centre and the thought of walking all the way back was nightmarish. It was a hot day and about four o'clock in the afternoon.

Luckily, Maya (eventually she told me her name) spoke very good French and she asked a couple of people in the street about where the best place to catch a bus into town would be. It turned out that if we turned left and away from the tram lines we would reach a main road where buses ran and one of them, the number 24, would take us to a periphery road where we should change and get the number 2 in the direction of the main square (place Quinconces) in Bordeaux. So, I got my bus rides and used the tram ticket as payment as they work on both modes of transport. I was in no mad rush to get into the centre of the city and this was fortunate as the bus seemed to go a very long (but interesting) circuitous route back. If I go back to Bordeaux I will plan to use the bus system more as it can show you many sides and sights of Bordeaux life away from the centre. Maya got off near the main police station and I enjoyed her company on the journeys and am grateful for her ability to speak proper French! Whilst I was in Bordeaux I made this short video to reminder myself of many a less dramatic journey on the trams.

Previously I have enjoyed going into the media store FNAC and almost on autopilot I went in for a browse a few times during this visit. Keen to get some more French music I listened to and purchased Blanc by the ethereally beautiful Julie Zenatti, ZAZ Paris by the artiste ZAZ and Amélie-les Crayons' new album jusqu'a la mer. The myriad titles of the graphic novels didn't grab me and my wallet this time but in the Monoprix supermarket I did purchase some hand made soaps for my bathroom.

Early one evening I went into a bar on the trendy place lafargue for a sit down and a beer and waited five minutes to be served. There were no other people waiting at the bar just me. The big beardy guy behind the bar saw me but just continued to talk to his mate. As I don't know the French slang for “Oy mate! Am I fucking invisible here?” nor wished to get into a sweaty tussle with giant haystacks I left him to his very important conversation and found a better place where I enjoyed a 50cl Affligem beer or two.

As always I took plenty of photos whilst I was there. I tried not to replicate pictures I had taken on my previous visits to Bordeaux and still found plenty to amuse my eyes and document my visit. Sometimes, like in this picture of a café chalk board, it was an easy way to remind myself as I continue to learn French of the names of the various hot drinks on offer. Pretty young ladies on bikes were keenly photographed by me but I missed a great chance to take a picture of a cyclist whose bike suddenly went from underneath her. There was a loud crack as she hit the shiny pavement and another clatter and shout as a male cyclist tried to avoid the three bike pile up but didn't.

I wanted to take a few selfies particularly one that had me with a café or restaurant in the background but not cluttered with other diners. Eventually I found my picture at an expensive looking gaff close to the place Quinconces. I also took another in front of an old alley in the historic district around the rue de la rouselle a stone's throw from the river Garonne.

Just around the corner from my hotel in the Golden Triangle area I found a small butcher's shop close to the small shopping centre Marché des Grands Hommes. The young man serving was happy for me to take a picture of his cabinet display and I was amazed to see salads and cheese and meat with shredded cheese on top mixed in with all the other meats and ready to cook kebabs. Did look very nice though.

On the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of my break I learnt to have a nap in the afternoon on my very comfortable bed. On went the 'do not disturb' sign on the bedroom door, I had a nice refreshing shower and lay on the bed with my poorly feet blessing every second of respite!

Wednesday, it was time to return to the UK and I used the number one bus service to get to the airport at Merignac. Considering I was well ripped off on the airport bus on arrival (18€ for a single trip to the railway station!) I got the number 1 bus from next to the tourist office and the return journey cost me a mere €1.70. It took another fifteen minutes extra to get to the airport but I had allowed for plenty of time and actually the journey back took me through some very attractive suburbs. Au revoir Bordeaux and perhaps I shall see you again for the wine festival next year!

Get this bus and save a fortune

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

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