Our second big international trip with James. The first one didn’t scare us off? Are we crazy? Probably.
Italy with a 15 month old was tough, but I was optimistic this trip would be easier for several reasons:
- James was a different child one year later than Italy– though still very active and energetic.
- We were bringing/meeting help in the form of our cousin Sam and James’s grandmother (Nonna).
- We were more experienced travelling with a child.
You can go back and read my planning post (link) for more thoughts on that, as well as how we ended up at our final itinerary – after several changes (indecisive planning, terrorist concerns, etc.). To summarize, we had a full 21 nights. 12 would be spent in Spain and 9 in France.
France and Spain are two pretty prominent countries for American tourists. We had never been to Spain and had only been to Paris in France. We were excited to get to both countries and – in our typical travel fashion – visit several places in each.
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.