|Less than elaborate costumes.|
[Disclaimer: Sorry Francophiles, my computer doesn't have the fancy accents to go on many of the words, so pardon my misspellings.]
Where to begin? I'll start with the race I suppose. So, if you're not familiar with this race, it is a race through the Medoc region of France, which is near the city of Bordeaux. The race starts and ends in the village of Pauillac.
As usual, the day before we had to pick up our race packets. The expo had beer for only 2 euros and wine for only 1 euro! Sweet deal! We drank some, of course, while we tried to make sense of our race guides, all in French. We didn't get very far with that, but did enjoy looking at pictures of the race theme from last year, Animals. Our theme was History. The costume possibilities are endless.
|Also better than ours|
|Better than ours|
|Miri's view while "working"|
|View from inside the gun powder building.|
And now... Race day.
|Sunrise at the start|
|The acrobats. And they had a soundtrack.|
|Had some of this...it was good|
|Our only source of shade|
The really cool part about this race is, about every 2 kilometers or so, you arrive at a beautiful chateau, which so kindly has tastings of their wines out for the runners to sample. However, I think because of the high temperatures, runners who arrived at these chateaus earlier than Miri and I did seemed to have nabbed all the water. So while I tried a few glasses along the way, (and they were delicious) most of the time we were focused on finding water, sometimes to the point of looking for half-full or full bottles of water discarded along the course. Not a proud moment, but seemingly necessary at the time. But, at least we had some good scenery to look at as we were baking in the sun.
|Another unidentified chateau|
My personal experience with this race, because of the heat, was not as good as it could have been, I think. Many people seemed to be having an awesome time, and maybe that was because they were more drunk than I was. Note to self, next wine race, drink more wine! I'm not going to mention my finish time, because it's embarrassing, but we'll just say that I did not make it in time to get a goodie bag, which had a bottle of wine it it! Gasp, the horror of missing this!! However, I did receive a medal for my efforts. (Wine would have been better). I made up for this sadness though during dinner back in Bordeaux where I had a huge tasting platter of 3 different kinds of oysters, 14 in all. When in Bordeaux, eat oysters and drink wine.
|Before - minus a couple I ate pre-photo|
|Cotes de Bourg|
So that was the race experience. Here's what else I did on this trip that I'd recommend.
1. Paris - duh.
|A wistful walk along the River Seine|
2. Perpignan and Le Petit Train Jaune - The train goes into the Pyrenees and all the way into Spain. Plus, there are some cool sites to see along the route. It's like 100 something years old, with an open air car (awesome, but bring sunblock and line up early). The train line begins at the UNESCO World Heritage site Villefranche-de-Conflent, which is an old fortified city. If you miss the early train like we did, you can kill some time shopping and eating in the fortified city or in the caves nearby, both in walking distance from the train station.
|Le Petit Train Jaune|
|Le Cite at night|
|Garden of La Maison Vieille|
If you want a great place to stay, that isn't too expensive, in a great location, and pretty, stay at La Maison Vieille, a incredibly quaint B&B. Travel note: cash only. But they have free wifi!
OK, so I know this wasn't a race in the good ol' U.S. of A; but since this was such a unique experience, I thought it was worth sharing. I hope you enjoyed reading about it my trip almost as much as I enjoyed experiencing it. Bon voyage!