Leaving Leon was a bit of a wrench, we felt we’d only scratched the surface but Brexit being the new norm 😦 we had to make tracks so it was the long road back to Le Shuttle. Making our way up to Bordeaux, stopping en-route in Basque country at Itxaspe, no I can’t pronounce it either. Immediately entering the area the signage changed and the language was so noticeably different. We were stopping overnight, arriving in the heavy mist of a sea fret and waking up to glorious views of the sea and a forested area alive with birds singing.
Arriving near Bordeaux at a proper camp site, it had everything you’d imagine for a fun filled week with the kids…. playground, pool, restaurant, entertainment…. just our thing! It was so convenient though, a quick bus and tram ride and we were in the heart of the city. Wandering along the waterside admiring the stretch of stunning buildings we certainly knew architecturally that we were not in Spain anymore! The French style is obviously different and in Bordeaux, appears more ornate and well kept. The Water Mirror in front of the Place de la Bourse was fun, if not for watching people slip onto their backsides while trying to ‘skate’! Great reflections though! Not sure of the symbolism of the tortoise at Place de la Victoire but it was very detailed once we kicked the kids off it.
Wandering into the town, being a bank holiday there too, it was bustling with people out enjoying the weather and a get together. We didn’t have any specific places we wanted to visit other than the Cathedral so just explored and found what we found. Nor did we find out why there was an oversized head in the ‘Grands Hommes’ area, perhaps just because of the part of town or maybe a Macron self sculpt?! In Vieille Ville, the French restaurants were so obviously French with the wooden external doors and shutters and everything cooked in duck fat! (kidding!) The Grosse Cloche isn’t a gross clock but actually c18th bell set in a Disney style double towered building, part of the city gates infrastructure, once housing a dungeon for juveniles. That’s when times were really bad, pre mobile phones for kids… Next door was the smaller Gothic, St Eloi Church, the plain and simple interior offset by beautiful stained glass windows.
The Cathedral was so different to everything we’d seen to date, primarily the immense use of stained glass windows in the design, the building structure itself, being plain but intricate in its vaulting. It was so beautiful and the windows cast varied light hues across the space. The monumental organ is currently looking for €2m to restore itself/re build. Having never thought about what’s behind the visible external pipes, it was interesting to see the complexity on display. It’s also unusual to see a clock in a Cathedral, so dominant on the wall too.
We spotted a car in a precarious position, left it where it was and headed for a drink and a snack. We were among the locals outside a bar, deliberately sitting well clear of the embarrassing Brit bloke in his vest! Figured he’d do well to get on the ornately decorated bike nearby! Anyhow, for 24 hours in Bordeaux we had a lovely time, the French were quite nice and polite (Nick gets taken for German a lot so maybe that was it) and we had a great wander. From there it was back to the driving days.
Having limited time to get back we were on the long toll roads, rolling fields of oilseed rape, agriculture and grain silo’s towering like cathedrals in the skyline. Other sections were as dull as the M6, trees and banking hiding any possible view. [sorry, the M6 north of Manchester is never dull :-)] We did find possibly the best ever Jigsaw spot to stay though, she was on her uber long lead with nothing to get tangled around, proverbial cat in her element!
Anyhow, we are now back at The Ranch so watch out for updates on the life and times of the folks here. We can’t go back into Schengen until mid July so instead we are off to London to see the Queen next week. Well actually, the the US embassy to be ‘interviewed’, separately, for our Visa. We have to wear something orange for some reason but it can’t be that tricky can it?!
The Jigsaw Blog Spot
Well, I’ve now turned 5, feliz cumpleaños to me! The pawrents said I’m now in my mid 20’s in cat years so I need to grow up a bit but hey, I learn from them, age is but a number so I ain’t behaving myself for anyone. I aim to grow old disgracefully, mousing ’til I’ve used all 9 of the lives I have! At that place that named itself after grape juice I tried to take a walk but they spotted me, I contrasted with the road surface. On the roads I was happy to see signs that the shop selling mousserolles in Bayonne had ‘survived’ covid. Talking of mousing, they came up trumps with a spot in France and within minutes I had one and bounded back to the tin can with it. I’ve still got it, they think I’m unfit, ha ha! I think the feeder one actually moved quicker than me though, to close the door before I got there with my gift! Anyway, here’s some pictures of me looking pretty, trying to escape (I pretend I’m exploring) and worshipping the long grass. They put me in a carrier bag and took me into a building where they said I was OK, of course I’m OK, I don’t know why they needed to look at a bit of paper to know that, so I was allowed on the train. I’m enjoying being back at the The Ranch, the giant litter tray is handy and the mice have obeyed all covid rules and stayed put… happy times ahead 🙂