No rest for the weary! After crawling into bed after dinner last night, a voice over the loud-speaker woke me up at 8am reminding us that there would be a tour leaving for Beaune. As much as I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, I reminded myself that I might never be here again, and I didn’t want to miss any opportunities. So it was up, a quick breakfast and back to the horrid bus on which it felt like we had just crawled out of after a six-hour journey from Paris. (The busses weren’t really horrid, they were actually quite posh) The frost was still clinging thick to all the trees and plants. Everything seriously looked like a work of art.
Beaune. Our first city to explore. As we drove out of Macon I got excited. The buildings were so old, and so beautiful! I could not wait to see all the quaint towns we would be visiting. When we arrived in Beaune, we walked the uneven cobblestone streets to the city center. Cobblestone streets and a leg brace that keeps your foot at a right angle are not exactly friends. I had a hard time. But Rebekah, on crutches, had an even harder time. We started off with a guided tour of the Hotel Dieu. An exquisite example of 15th century French architecture, this building was actually a hospital built for poor people in 1443.
When we left the Hotel Dieu we had free time to explore the town. We went into several bakeries and shops before it was tine for lunch. We met with the group again and headed over to a local restaurant to our very first real French meal. In the true style of Julia Child we had Boeuf Bourguignon. I was so excited. Fresh and crisp French rolls with chewy soft centers,
chilled French red wine that was smooth and rich, Boeuf Bourguignon with tender meat, creamy sauce and cheesy potatoes
and the finishing touch a French Apple Tart that just melted in your mouth.
After a perfect lunch. We walked over to a wine shop for a wine tasting. The shop was small and we actually went downstairs into the cellar. Completely made of stone with arches and old wine barrels it was like stepping back into time. We sat on benches and tasted reds and whites while instructed by our tour guide. It was so well explained and I really felt like I learned a lot about smelling, tasting, and experiencing new wines.
After the wine tasting we had a little more free time before heading back to the ship. We went to an antique shop which probably had antiques older than the United States. It was crazy. The shop owner followed us around the whole time. We poked into a few more shops and ended up in another patisserie. I bought a bag of macaroons. People. French Macaroons are to die for. I love them. I couldn’t get enough. YUM!
Back at the ship we gathered in the lounge for a French lesson. I am by no means any more gluten than I was before, but it was fun to learn better pronunciation and some other etiquette tips. Still tired from the time change, I barely could keep my eyes open through the two-hour four-course dinner.
Dinner and bed was the third day.