So, we have only really got the one day in Bordeaux.
Bec was saying for weeks that she wanted to go to Bordeaux, more for the wine than anything else. But being that we only have one full day in the city, we need to make the most of our time, so we decide to go for a wander and see what we can find in the city.
So far, France has surprised me, with the way it looks, and it’s culture.
I think I was expecting a place that is more in turmoil and unstable, and where everyone is out for themselves, when it actual fact, it isn’t that way. Or at least, it doesn’t feel like that is the case.
France is beautiful, both in the sense of it’s people, and it’s appearance as a country.
We kick our day off with the light streaming through the windows in the living room. I’m butt naked, cos I can’t stand sleeping with clothes on, but this isn’t known to Jerome, who casually pops his head in the door of the lounge room to say good morning. I mean, I’m not going to let on that there is only a few cm of cotton separating my bleached ass cheeks and his scarred memories, so I just give him a casual smile and a nod, in my half awake state.
We are their first surfers since they moved to Bordeaux, two weeks ago, so I don’t wanna do too much damage. We wake up and have breakfast with the guys before making our way into the city. They’ll come meet up with us later in the city.
We walk through the city walls, and within a few hundred meters, we come cross this store which makes these traditional French treats, called Canelés. They are rum and vanilla, with a crunchy-soft-ish shell, and a delicious custard inside. Two of these things cost a good 7 euro. Not cheap in the slightest, but they were the kind of treats that you eat, and there isn’t anything that is overly stand-out about them, but once you have finished one, you want another.
We wander through the streets, munching on our little treats, checking out the things that catch our eye. You might think that Bordeaux is a nice little French city, built around farmers and agriculture, or you might not think that at all. I thought the former.
Take a stroll through the centre of Bordeaux in the middle of a sunny summer’s day, and you will see the entire population of Bordeaux, out in full force. It’s a city of around 700,000 people (from memory), and the sea of heads bobbing up and down along the main street doesn’t hide it in any way.
Not to say that there isn’t quiet and quaint little places throughout the city either, though. We found this out by chance when we were on our way to find something to eat for lunch. We ended up strolling past this little street, where the local markets were being held. Its was brilliant. There were all kinds of stores, from blokes making frames for glasses out of scratch, to a shoe repairer, to a bloke with a ton of balloons, to another stall, selling Canelés, but this time it was about half the price of the other ones.
What is crazier, is that everywhere we go, all the places we want to eat are closed. We end up walking around for a good hour or so, trying to find somewhere that is actually open, and doesn’t sell bulk carbs. So such place seems to exist, so we resort to finding a shop, to buy salad dressing and a big bag of salad for lunch.
We went 10/10 bogan, and just poured the dressing into the bag, and shook it like our lives depended on winning the world maraca championships.
But check this out…
We are at the register, and I am about to walk out the shops, and there are these two weirdos just staring at me. I kinda just fob them off like the skitzos they are, then I realise that it is Jerome and Nehemy, and they just clicked that it was me too.
You know when you do a double take?
I did a double take, twice.
“What the hell?”, still looking confused, I asked.
“We were looking for some water, and we wanted to go into the shops, but it as too busy, then we saw you both at the registers”, at this point, Bec walks out the front, and proceeds to repeat my exact facial expressions and questioning process. I mean, there are that many stores in Bordeaux, and this isn’t the only place that you can get water, so being that they were waiting out the front for us, is a little coincidental.
We head off with them, and in addition to buying the stuff that is healthy, we also bought some magic growth supplements, targeted at increasing your body mass, specifically around your ass and waistline. Luckily, this is also known as chocolate & more Canelés. We’ve got another couple weeks left in this trip, so we are going to make sure we enjoy our remaining time, and make sure that our tastebuds enjoy our remaining time, just as much.
Just as yesterday, the sun is out, which means that the people are out.
There is literally nowhere to sit that isn’t within farting distance of another group. Being that my body seems to not be able to handle the purity of the European produce, this is not a good thing, but you make do with what you have. We sit and chat, drink, and chat in the Bordeaux sun. Jerome and Nehemy suggest that we should go check out this park. I am dead keen. I love a good park. It is food to the soul.
We get up to leave, and along our way is the big water-square from yesterday, except instead of spraying a fine mist, there is a good couple cm of water that has covered the surface of the water. Kids of all ages are running, splashing and flailing in the water. I kid you not, there would have been a few hundred people running around in the water.
The best part of this is watching the parents slowly accept the fate of their kid’s dry clothes becoming a set of bathers, regardless of whether they are wearing jeans, a shirt and shoes, or running around in their undies.
I love that the kinds genuinely could not give a rat’s ass. They are there to have fun, and they don’t care what they are wearing when they want to have fun. It is a brilliant initiative by the city, and it truly is an attraction which gives back to the people.
10 points to the city of Bordeaux.
We pack up, and keep heading along our route.
We walk past this one bin we saw earlier in the day, and it was pretty much empty. Maybe, it had a few empty wine bottles around the base. A couple hours later, and there were more bottles than I can even joke about. You’ve got Jager, Wine, Beers, literally everything. So, the next time someone asks me ho much the French can drink, I’m just gonna show them this photo.
Its is damn impressive.
We make our way to the park, and Jerome is dead keen to get some beers, and is adamant that he will find a bottle-o on the way to the park. Naturally, I am keen for a frosty too, so I’m not exactly holding him back. The only thing holding us back from the frostys is the fact that we weren’t able to find a liquor store on the way to the park.
This means, that we find a seat, and then Jerome spends the next 20 mins running around the place, looking for anything that resembles beers. Finally, he returns with a 6 pack, but it’s not super cold, but they are beers, and that is what matters at the moment. We sit in the park, with the afternoon sun peering through the gaps in the tree’s branches. The temperature in the shade is utterly brilliant, and we just sprawl across the grassy fields, watching the passers by, and enjoying the company.
Jerome and Nehemy tell us about how they met and where they are from.
They used to live in Strasbourg, near the German border of France. Jerome is in design. Usually people specialise in one area, but he’s taught himself dream weaver, photoshop, illustrator, app design, and final cut. So, he is pretty much the full package.
The idea with Brand L’or, is that it doesn’t matter what someone needs, they can come to one business to get everything catered to. We don’t want to have to dick around with getting the information from the client, then creating a brief, and then have to liaise with 3 other contractors. The idea is that they can come to one place for photography, graphic/web design, and marketing/PR.
Jerome is pretty much Brand L’or, but on his own, and without the PR side of things.
Needless to say, that he can do anything he wants and go wherever he wants. Its absolutely crazy. Nehemy is from Mexico, so when they went on a holiday to see her family, he just took his work with him, and would do a few hours each day, and everything was all good.
Its a pretty good way to go about working and living.
We decide to call it a day, and make our way back to they house for dinner. They head back to the bikes, and we walk to their place from the park. It’s not that far, plus, we are used to walking a fair bit nowadays anyway.
We get home only a little after they arrive, and get into dinner.
We are on the bus from Bordeaux to Lyon overnight, but the bus doesn’t leave till nearly 11pm, so we heave got a few hours to chill out before we have to get walking again. Jerome cranks out the top shelf, and gets down this specialty spirit. It’s got some funky potatoes just fermenting away in side the bottle, along with the actual liquor.
Bit of a different mix, but ok.
It reminded me of Maxim, who we surfed with in Dublin. He would make his own spirits extra pungent, by letting chilli and other fruit or vegetables ferment in the spirits for a few months. It would go from being a 40% drink, up to a 80% or more drink.
Pretty damn crazy.
We eat and chill out on the balcony and watch the residents play botchie below us. This isn’t just any game of botchie, either. The french take is seriously. I mean, we even say another group of younger blokes playing botchie last night, then again this morning, and now we have got the same thing again.
Its been a great and very short time in Bordeaux, but nevertheless, we have to say goodbye to Nehemy and Jerome, so at around 9/10pm, we sling our packs on our backs, and get our hiking boots back on, to make our way to the bus station again.
We climb onto the bus, and nestle into the far back row. This way, I can blog and Bec can sleep. I get another one finished, and then settle in for my own sleep.
Come back for the next story