Friday, April 06, 2007

Crossing The Gironde

After our picnic lunch on the Dordogne, we basically drove for the rest of the afternoon. We crossed the Garonne river near Langon then headed for Bordeaux. I don't remember if we stopped in Bordeaux or just drove through the center. I have no photos of that.

The Hotel des Pins in Soulac-sur-Mer, our home for the night.

Once through Bordeaux, we headed up into the Médoc wine region, through famous wine towns like Margaux and Pauillac. Our friend Harriet once worked for a wine importer in San Francisco. His name was M. H. Van-der-Voort and his home was his castle, literally. He owned the Château Bellegrave in Pauillac (the estate was bought in 1997 by Julien Meffre). Harriet has a signed watercolor of the château in her house just like the one on the website, so Ken and I decided we wanted to go see it. And we did, but just from the outside.

The ferries at the Pointe de la Grave waiting to transport us to the other side.

We continued on to the very tip of the Médoc peninsula where the Gironde empties into the Atlantic. Evening was upon us and we needed a hotel. The small coastal towns in the region are naturally summer resort areas, and most places were closed in early November. We found one open hotel in Soulac-sur-Mer. So did a lot of other people. We got a room and made our reservations for dinner in the hotel's restaurant. I remember dinner being very good.

I've posted this photo before on this blog, but it's one of my favorites and now you can see it in context. It's the view from the ferry as we left the Pointe de la Grave early that morning. That's the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

We awoke early the next morning to catch one of the first ferries across the Gironde to Royan on the other side. The Gironde is the name of the estuary formed at the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers just upstream from Bordeaux. There were a good many cars lined up for the boat, but we had no trouble getting aboard. The trip took about a half hour and was quite bracing at that hour of the day. A great way to wake up in the morning !

Our little white car (in the middle) on the ferry as we head across the mouth of the Gironde to Royan.

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