Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wine + anything = fun

I suppose UNESCO already knew this since they’ve classified the entire city of Bordeaux as a world-heritage site, but this city is absolutely stunning. Where else is it possible to wander down a commonplace street and stumble upon the remains of a 3rd century Roman amphitheater?  Or a church built in the 12th century in classic baroque style?

Our 25-minute walk to class winds us through the heart of this city past the Jardin Public, Le Palais Gallien and numerous ancient building facades and fountains, our hands filled with *delicious*, fresh-baked croissants we pick up along the way.  It’s true the cold is a shock and violates our plan to only travel through hot to coolish climates, but aside from the fact that we look ridiculous to our fellow students with our matching jackets and five changes of clothes, we’ve found plenty of things to be thankful for:

One, despite our general misanthropy and married reclusiveness, we’ve managed to make friends.  That said, language students seem to have a curious predilection to want to make friends with anyone.  Perhaps to practice their awkward skills with whomever is willing not to dismiss them out-of-hand?  Ah well.  Anything to relive a youth spent in shisha bars and Spanish-themed dance clubs.

Two, due to some complicated issues getting mail sent to us, we’ve also befriended our neighbor, Michele, an aging Parisian widow.  Over a bottle of 2008 Chateau Le Gay, she taught us how to hold our wine glasses incorrectly, shared her political views on the Middle East and reminded us that even fairly progressive Europeans can be a little bit racist.  Our conversation on the snobby Bordelaise, corrupt Egyptian mafia, and her fondness for late night partying lasted, as you might expect, until very late in the night and made us fall in love with her curious eccentricities and abundant kindness.

Three, we found an excellent wine store near the city center and have started tasting every second label wine mentioned in the latest issue of La Revue du Vin de France.  Our studies led us to an evening of wine and cheese tasting where we met Brazil's lady version of Spiderman! Behold.

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