June 22 Sunday
Today was a scheduled day off; planned to give the group a rest and to enable them to visit the stunning town of St. Emilion. Fortunately Rex's prognosis was positive (a strain/sprain of some degree) and although rather painful did not prevent him (along with Kath of course) from joining the group for a free day in St. Emilion. This is a beautiful town with a population of just over 2,000 residing within the city walls and although typically commercialised in these modern times it still has plenty to see and retains genuine historical charm. Today everyone went in their own directions however St. Emilion is fairly small in area so we typically ran into each other with regularity. Especially when Rex Howe decided he required a seat in the lower part of the town and found a small post to sit on and park his weary foot. I enjoyed 30-minutes or so in idle chat with Rex while our girls popped in and out of the local shops and we (he more so) became the focal point of people passing, so much so we termed his seat the Mayor's office as we engaged with many interesting locals and the odd KIWI. At 1pm Virginia and I reverted to the fabulous restaurant ‘La Tertre', where we had enjoyed an outstanding lunch together during our 2012 FWD Co. French Wine Tour. The same owners remained and after a brief chat he clearly remembered our visit and sat us at the same table for two on the small balcony that overlooks a very steep street at its front door, the passage from the upper part of St. Emilion to the lower part of the town below (see pictures of our special lunch). Virginia and I savoured Champagne Louis Roederer initially followed by a bottle of Château de Pez 2008 (same red wine we had enjoyed at our luncheon at Louis Roederer… a Bordeaux property owned by them). 2-hours flew by (we so wanted to savour this moment again and it was glorious) before we headed back to the coach through the bustling streets of St. Emilion,but not before stopping off at a local wine Negociant where we discovered some interesting wine accessories that would be very useful back at 42 Lunn Ave. Back on the coach we headed directly into Bordeaux to the Hotel Burdigala; home for the last three nights of our tour. It is a fine Hotel and perfectly located just 10-minutes stroll from the absolute centre of the city. Once settled in everyone headed into town including Virginia and I. After an hour re-familiarising ourselves we returned to the hotel and ordered a platter of Charcuterie (cold meats) plus smoked salmon and a selection of cheeses to compliment a ½ bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon Rosé and a 2004 Clos Fortet red wine from St. Emilion. We opted for a quiet night in where I was able to catch up on tour blogging whilst Virginia indulged in her passion for reading. Tomorrow we were headed for Sauterne… and Château d'Yquem was definitely top of mind.