Thursday, April 15, 2010


And here is my Bordeaux post! I absolutely loved Bordeaux, just as Italy. It is a fairly small town with surprisingly, a lot of attractions and things to do. 
This is their Opera house, it was in a huge open square. Interesting because the city has a lot of open space, and just as many Range Rovers as LA. So contrary to Paris!
This is just a gorgeous building thrown in the middle of the city. No significance, just a building. ????!!!
We climbed to the top of a tower (we seem to do that a lot in every city) and had a perfect view of the whole city. This is one of their churches, Cathédrale St-André, quite similar to Notre Dame, i'd say.
This is a photo of Bordeaux's new courthouse. Interesting looking, no? The security guard surprisingly let us in and showed us around. Each of these eggs are trial rooms. They look a lot similar to boardrooms and have windows on the outside for spectators to watch the trial. What a strange concept I thought! Like I said, the building is fairly new, I think built in the past 5 or 10 years. Interesting seeing as the rest of the city is 100s of years old. 
It seems to me that Bordeaux loves them some animals. This is a statue in the gardens of the Musee des Beaux-Arts. (Time didn't permit us to go inside, but I hear there are a lot of famous works in there and that it is a really gorgeous museum, so if anyone has the opportunity, it is highly recommended!)
And again, the animals, with these turtles in the middle square of the city. No plaque or anything near it, just hanging out. (In the photo, my brothers Horacio and Patrick, and of course, Caroline)
We spent Sunday in St Emilion, wine country of Bordeaux. It rained heavily off and on, but that was alright seeing as we spent the majority of the day in cellars. A bit off season so the vineyards were not as pretty as I hoped they would be.  
Photo of the whole group. I think that's a first that we have all been together, besides the welcome dinner.
My first wine cellar experience! Moldy, damp from the rain, and quite tempting. Walls upon walls upon walls of wine bottles, dating all the way back to the french revolution in the 1800s.
First wine tasting experience, with one of my roommates (colocation in french) Sara. The first tasting we did, we had a really funny German connoisseur. He looked like he has been there for 100 years, and knew so much about the wines. We all found one that we absolutely loved and ended up buying a bottle for each of ourselves. I saved mine for when Margaret was here and we drank it together the last night before she departed.
This was our second tour. He gave us a look around his family vineyard, taught us how to actually make the wine, showed us his personal cellar (astonishing, but he didn't allow photos. I'd say there was easily millions of euros worth of wine in there). This guy really really knew what he was talking about. He gave us tips on cheap wine that is actually good, for us students on a budget, taught us about the history of wine making, and how to ACTUALLY go wine tasting.Quite a hysterical method to it. 
Step 1. Smell the wine. Step 2. Swirl it in your glass to bring alive the REAL odor of it.
Step 3. Smell again.
Step 4. Hold the glass up to a white sheet to see the actual color of the wine.
Step 5. Take the wine in your mouth, and make a sort of taco with your tongue, slurping the wine through it. This made us all giggle because he didn't explain the steps before he did them, and we were all awkward about the noise he kept making with his mouth. I guess the reason for this is to separate the taste of the alcohol with the taste of the wine, yet again to get the true flavor and odor of it.   
After the tasting, we took a tour of the city, with some really really interesting ruins and catacombs, but no photos were allowed, so Im sad to say I have no evidence. The tour was given in French also, so I only got snippets here and there of everything. It was just quite fascinating because this little city that probably doesn't even have internet has more history in its pinky than all of California combined. (One of the reasons I'm so obsessed with the EU). 
After the tour, we climbed to yet ANOTHER mountain top. So many lookout points all over this continent! Always the same. Most narrow, steepest stairs ever, up to a little landing with no barricade to keep you from falling off. For this reason, I steal all my lookout pictures from Caroline. I usually trek to the top, but not long enough to be able to take photos. Definitely not for the claustrophobic or those with fears of heights. Having that been said, here are some photos of the actual wine country, props to Caroline for doing the hard part for all of us. Enjoy. 

Monday we went to the Dune de Pyla. The biggest sand dune in Europe! About an hour train ride from Bordeaux. This HAS to be on all of your bucket lists. MUSTMUSTMUST visit. It is in a podunk town in the middle of nowhere, but has a park to camp in and lots and lots of people. I actually really liked the surrounding area. It reminded me of being back at camp in middle school. So the way this works, is you hike about 20 minutes up a 90 degree angle of the softest sand you have ever felt in your whole entire life, reach the top with sand EVERYWHERE and your glutes and calves burning like crazy, sit down, look in front and behind you, and feel your breath be taken away. This is the place that I will say over and over and over again, pictures do NO justice. We probably spent 4 hours atop of the dune, just laying in the sand enjoying our first day of sunshine. 
People were wind surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, everything! Not to mention it is the Atlantic Ocean, not too close to home, but knowing that the US shared SOMETHING with me at that point, I felt a little at home.We brought a skim board with us and attempted to slide down a million times, but for some reason, even with the smooth sand, we just kept falling on our faces, again getting sand in every crack and crevasse as Momma would say. Not fun for a 4 hour train ride back to Paris after.   Some of the kids from the group, again ,my brother Patrick and Horacio, Caroline, and Ashley, a girl who goes to a different Paris school but is in the program. 
The only way down the hill was to just sprint as fast as you could, seeing as it is a 90 degree angle and that is impossible to saunter on down. I THOUGHT I could do it, but ended up tumbling forward, doing about 3 forward rolls before landing directly on my face. Thankfully, Caroline got a picture of me. What a nice friend. 
So these are my Bordeaux photos. Sorry sorry sorry that it took so long, but Im a busy little bee over here in the EU. I would recommend Bordeaux to be a city that should be visited for a weekend, if any of you are ever in France.
Off to Athens this weekend, followed by Rome, Barcelona, and then Amsterdam for the queens day festival. Going to be a hectic 2 weeks, but I have been waiting for this since the day I got here it feels like. Any tips for those cities?! I have a few ideas so far but Im feeling a bit overwhelmed, trying to plan 4 days in each of the most historical, well known cities in the world. 
Until next time


  1. cait! your last picture/comment really made me laugh. you must've had some amazing volume in your hair at the end of that day! (not that you don't usually.) each time i read your posts, i notice more and more that your english is effected by your french. you're starting to structure your phrases around the french language a bit, making it seem as though your posts have been translated from french into english. or maybe you're just trying to sound fancy. either way, its cute. love you sister! can't wait to see you. ps there is totally a huge tower to climb up in berlin. and you won't be scared of falling.

  2. You are so right sis. I am starting to think in French, so I sound like a rah tard everytime I speak english because I have to translate it back first. Don't know what is happening to me!! The sand dunes did wonders with the weave, and me being the dirt ball I am, didn't have time to wash it until after school the next day. Can you imagine?!

  3. Dear Caitlin, all of your moms enjoyed your latest posts, viewed in Santa Barbara and loved the pictures. Such a great reporter. Sorry about your vacation delay, no one is happy about the travel restriction!Click on!!

  4. Hi Cait!!
    Thank you so much for the pictures, it is great to see where you spend the idle hours of the day/night:)
    Your classes sound amazing, I am sure you will get the very most out of them, keep us posted and you stay warm and dry, missy!
    love ya

  5. Holy Cow, what a great opening!! I am so excited to hear of your classes and school mates. This sounds like a roller coaster of fun. Drink it up, have a carefully planned good time. Check out this website:"chic shopping in paris"--looks like fun