Yep, today is my birthday. I’m 32. I’m not much of a birthday person. I don’t really like all the attention. Actually, yesterday, Sam asked me, “are you excited about tomorrow” and I said “what’s tomorrow?” It’s easy to lose track of time while on vacation.
We got up this morning and went to the big market in Sarlat. It was way bigger than the one that we went to yesterday. There were tons of vendors with so many different yummy things for sale….meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables, cakes, tarts etc. It was a little crowded and touristy once it got later in the morning, but we were able to navigate through the crowds pretty easily. James was in the stroller, which makes it a little more tricky but we did ok. We split a pecan caramel tart for breakfast (yum) and bought a few treats to pick on.
Today, we set out around 9:30 to go to a market in the nearby town, Cenac. If you have read our blog before, you may remember that I have a love of markets. I feel like going to markets gives a very authentic feel to the place that you are visiting. I love to see the local people buying their produce and meats for the week. Each booth has such quality items that we love to pick up a few treats. At different booths there were vendors selling homemade sausages, cheese, honey, fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood.
We are in a very rural part of South West France in the Dordogne region. The nearest “bigger” city is Sarlat, where a lot of foie Gras is made.
I think James is finally getting into a somewhat regular sleeping pattern now, so he was up a little before 7 am this morning. It was still dark outside, but the sun soon came up. I muddled through making some French press coffee and watched a little Mickey Mouse with James. I don’t think that I mentioned this before, but Justin brought our Amazon fire TV with us. He also loaded some of James’s favorite shows and movies on an SD Card so that we can watch TV even if the WiFi isn’t working. We haven’t been watching a ton, but it is nice especially in the mornings.
I spent a little time before we left getting in a fight with the washing machine. It ended in total frustration, but I thought that I got it working…..I thought. But more about that later. I also broke the French press as I was trying to wash it. It was glass and slipped out of my hands and broke in the sink. I’m basically a bull in a china cabinet :-/
We set out around 10:30 this morning and headed for Chateau de Fenelon.it is a beautiful castle built about 1,000 yrs ago. True to form, James fell asleep in the car on the way there. Luckily, I was able to load him up in the Ergo baby and carry him for a while. We walked around the outside of the castle as Samantha acted as our tour guide as read the descriptions of each highlights. Inside the castle has some incredible artifacts and a huge collection of armour and weaponry. I think we all really enjoyed it.
Today we traveled from St. Emilion to the Dordogne area. We are staying in the true French countryside. Our rental is part of a group of cottages owned by a British family. We are staying in the “farm house,” and it is great! Like our last stop, there is plenty of space inside and tons of room for James to run around. The backyard has a ping pong table, swing set, little wooden houses, and a pool. I think the water is going to be way too cold for me to swim in, so I’m praying that James doesn’t want to go in! There is also a toy cottage that is stocked with toys, books, DVDs etc. The British family lives on the property.
Today was the longest day that Justin and I will leave James for the whole trip. He spent the day with “Sema” while Justin and I drove to Pauillac in Medoc (on the left bank of Bordeaux). It took about an hour and a half to get there and it was just going to be too long of a day for James.
Our first stop was at Chateau Pontet-Canet. It is a “biodynamic” winery, which means they are use very natural means to harvest the grapes and make the wine (including using horses). It is a beautiful property and a family still lives on the estate. We both really enjoyed this visit. We both tend to favor “old world” styles of wine.
Today, we had our first full day in St. Emilion/ Bordeaux. Our apartment is in St. Emilion which is in the Bordeaux region. We had our first wine tasting at Canon la Gaffeliere at 10:30 am. Of course, we were fashionably late. Luckily, we were the only people in the tour/tasting. James did reasonably well and really enjoys running up and down the aisles of wine barrels. I’m not sure how much the tour guide liked that but she didn’t say anything!
Well, I can not deny it any longer, when James sees an empty wine glass, he swirls it. You would think that we drink wine all day long. I promise you, we do not. I blame his Cappy (Justin’s dad) for this behavior. He really enjoys the ritual of swirling and sniffing a glass of wine. It’s pretty dramatic 🙂
Perhaps it is something that we should support. We could start refining his palate at a young age and let him become super sophisticated. I can already see him at parties in college. Everyone else will be funneling Natty Light, and James will be sniffing his wine. It’s possible that we are creating a little monster.
Today, we left San Sebastián and headed to Bordeaux. We are driving a giant Mercedes Vianno Van. It is absolutely ridiculous. It is gigantic, but we all fit very comfortably in it. The car seat is very nice and way better than the one in the car that picked us up from the airport. It was about a 2.5 hour drive to our first stop. We grabbed a quick lunch of meats and cheese and headed to the first winery.
Today, Justin and Sam spent most of the day traveling to a nearby city, Bilbao, in order to get the rental car. They took a 10:30 bus and didn’t get back until about 5pm. So, James and I were on our own. I was determined to get out the house and enjoy the beautiful weather. I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that I don’t feel super confident doing things by myself when we are in foreign cities. Throw a temperamental 2 year old on top of that and I’m very tempted to just stay in the apartment. Not today. I’m not sure exactly what it is about San Sebastián that makes me feel relaxed, but I was ready to get out there by myself.
I packed up James and we headed to the cafe down to block for coffee and a muffin. Then, we went to one of the many parks around our apartment. There is a swing set, slide, see saw, and other things for James to play with. We had lots of fun chasing the pigeons and running around like a nut with no shoes on!