Sunday, April 12, 2009

St Emilion and a Rest day at last!

It's still raining, it's now 48 hours of almost continuous rain and there is mud everywhere in the campsite. We are very happy that we have brought our blowup camping mattresses since they raise the foam mattresses just that little bit of the floor of the tent and stop, at least mostly, the damp seeping through the groundsheet and then through the tent groundsheet and then into anything we have in the tent. We are starting to get desperate to find a laudromat but they're not so common around here.

Unlike the british who have houses so small that there is a laundromats everywhere, the french have free-standing houses and not need to use laundromats which is bad news for us! The campsites mostly have washing machines but not tumble dryers - go figure!

We are generally getting in about 10 hours of sleep a night which is unheard of; especially for me. Today our only objectives were to go to St. Emilion and have a wander around and to do as little driving as possible. Our first stop was to find a petrol station which proved to be more difficult than expected and it was only on the fourth attempt that we found one open, the french seem to take sundays and easter sunday in particular pretty seriously. Today we paid 0.88 EUR per litre and the first station which was closed thankfully was charging 1.15 EUR which is a huge difference in price; we were quite taken aback. A bit relieved that we now had fuel we drove to St Emilion which is one of the premier regions within Bordeaux and had a bit of a wander around doing a little bit of wine tasting here and there.

We're not sure what these actually are but we think that they are fed by spring water and they're quite pretty albeit a bit cold to actually have a dip in.

We decided to splash out and have lunch in one of the bistro's. We both had omelettes and coffee and plate of chips to share. It was great to eat in a restaurant again but at 32 EUR for what is a fairly simple meal it is no wonder we aren't eating out all the time.

Just next to where we parked the car must be the worlds smallest vineyard but one has to see where they get planted. Just about every available space has vines occupying it and unlike south africa, the farmers are not allowed by law to water them. They have to be rain fed, it seems a bit wierd but that is the way it is.

We finally decided on some wine to purchase to take with us to share with the Naude's when we get to Venice and ended up spending almost twice what we were intending but I am sure that we'll really enjoy them in a few weeks time.

Back at Rauzan, we wandered up into town and paid our 2.50 entrance fee into the antique fair which was just like a giant jumble sale with heaps of absolute junk and the odd bit of really nice stuff at astronomical prices; I saw a 18th centure armoire (big cupboard) for 2700 EUR, yes, that's right - about R35 000.00 for a cupboard albeit a really nice one. We also saw some shadeports - french style which requires a little imagination because it only has leaves on in summer.

We spent most of the afternoon huddled in the bell of our tent hiding from the rain and reading in between cups of coffee and making carons vegetable soup which we had for supper.

Just before bed I walked up into town and took the picture below of the ruined castle.

While we were driving around we passed groups of cyclists and walkers dressed up appropriately and out and doing it; in weather like this south africans just wouldn't be caught outside let alone pursuing the sports which they enjoy. It'll make me think twice next time I cancel a ride or a walk due to the weather, I think we are really spoilt by the weather we have at home.

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