Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bordeaux sojourn

Bordeaux sojourn
We smished down to Bordeaux in about an hour from Saint Emilion and followed George’s (the voice on Sygic maps) through tiny back streets to our destination where Olival awaited. Not quite correct, as Olival’s better half screeched up a flight of stairs and soon Olival himself arrived. There was a bank of cars behind us by then, but O opened the garage door and we backed into the secluded garage space in behind some ancient doors. Made it!
O took us to our apartment around the corner; up three flights of stairs; and into a small and odd-shaped space overlooking the river and back towards the main plaza and stupendous modern fountain. Fabulous views, but noisy with the windows open. Double glazing fixes this problem at night though. Perfect.
The fountain
The fountain requires explanation of its purpose and operation. Our walking tour guide Christine explained that the fountain was built over a spot where the Bordeaux buses are stored. What to do with this space? “I know”, says the designer, “let's build a fountain. Let's make it perfectly flag and horizontal and cover it with about three inches of water. Then it will mirror the beautiful buildings that surround it.” You can see the logic and great architectural thinking behind its planning. So the fountain was built. There was a problem though. When the fountain was up and running PEOPLE STARTED TO WALK ACROSS IT! It was a fun thing to do. From side-on it looks as though the fountain-ambulists are walking ON the water! Members of the local constabulary shooed these people away. “Get off the fountain!”, they cried. Only a couple of weeks later all the city burghers got together and decided to let the people have their fun splashing in the water. It is my favourite fountain in the world. [The fountain has three phases: 1. The water flows in, completely covering the huge area; 2. The water drains away, briefly leaving a mirror-like surface before it starts drying; 3. Great numbers of jets squirt water vapor (mist) into the air. Then back to 1. The whole cycle takes about 20 minutes.]
Cruise boats
There were two huge ocean-going cruise boats tied up when we arrived. Five or six storeys high they were! Big buggers. DJ and I wondered if we could enjoy a holiday of that sort and decided that we would in our latter years. We would have to have the best suite, of course. Goodbye to all that delicious inheritance money, girls! One of these cruise ships left yesterday afternoon when we were tasting local wine. The other one sneaked off this morning when the only ocean mist we have had on the whole trip descended on the city for about 30 minutes. It was there one minute and gone the next – headed for Bilbau. HAVE FUN YOU LUCKY CRUISE PASSENGERS!
Bordeaux impressions
Great city. Lots of hustle and bustle. Lots of tourists, but young and old in similar numbers. The huge tidal river provides a wonderful back-drop, with boats of all descriptions plying up and down. The tide runs fast in both directions, making the little ferry boat that takes passengers across and back to the other side ferry-glide across. [For those of you who do not know about ferry-gliding, just ask DJ.]
No cars first Sunday
A great feature of the city is that no cars are allowed into the old town on the first Sunday of every month. That's today. The streets are really quiet, as one would expect. We had planned to drive south-west down to Arcachon in the morning, but we are back now. DJ has scorched off to a gallery and will be back soon. I had better finish this blog!

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