Back In Bordeaux
“Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”
– Pope John XXIII
November 26, 2014
This morning, Viking River Cruises’ Viking Forseti was once again back in the beautiful city of Bordeaux, France for an entire day. At first, I have to admit that I was uncertain as to whether I’d like the repetition of the Bordeaux calls throughout the voyage, but today I think all the guests aboard the ship are thrilled to be here. After all, how could you not like Bordeaux?
For those who felt like donning their QuietVox listening devices and learning a bit of the local history, Viking offered an included guided tour of Bordeaux that included both motorcoach touring and an hour-long walking tour through the historic city center. It’s a great overview of the city, once again conducted by Viking’s knowledgeable local guides. It also includes a look at the concrete U-Boat sheds that were constructed by the Nazis in the 1940’s to house their Atlantic submarine fleet in occupied France. The joke is that they’re the ugliest buildings in Bordeaux, but they serve as a stark reminder of one of this beautiful country’s darkest moments.
Much as I love history, I didn’t partake in the tour this morning because I wanted to get out and walk – really walk. And I did just that, enjoying about five hours of aimless wandering spent exploring, window shopping, and even enjoying some fabulous vin chaud (mulled hot wine) from small but effective Bordeaux Christmas Market, which had literally just opened this morning for the season.
Also included in the Christmas Market were two booths selling French-Canadian specialties from Quebec, including – of course – Maple Syrup, small-batch beers, and Sortilège, a Canadian spirit made with maple syrup and Canadian whisky. I bought a maple-infused beer and felt very ‘at home.’
What’s good to get in Bordeaux? Anything to do with wine and champagne, naturally! In the city’s Quartier des Grandes Hommes is one of the best wine stores I’ve ever visited, with its own sections for Champagne and a separate store just for red wine. There are numerous cafes nearby as well, including one that had a line of people out of it that made me think they were giving away truffles or perhaps bars of gold – it was that lengthy.
As a homebase for Viking Forseti, Bordeaux is fantastic. Those who aren’t afraid to walk will find this an amazingly-accessible town, with everything you could possibly desire within walking distance. It’s also good to pop into the Tourist Office located at 12, cours du XXX Juillet near the Esplanade des Quinconces to see what’s happening during the time Viking Forseti will be in port; in our case, there’s a food festival that begins on Friday when we arrive back in Bordeaux. Armed with that information, we can always pop by if we so choose to.
Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Forseti continues tomorrow with a journey to Cadillac and a Sauternes wine tasting! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.