We find our bikes in St Emillion, and after a lunch of tartines we hop on our bikes and cycle thru the vineyards and forests of Bordeaux. We are not racing to be ahead of the Tour, so we ride at a leisurely pace, stopping to admire a view or take a picture. Gorgeous little roads - what they call a small road we would call a gravel driveway.
Almost no traffic, ancient villages, stone chateaus. And wineries. Maybe you’ve heard of this one?
The hills are small; we race up them. I’m feeling strong. And so happy! It is sunny, there is a light breeze, not a car in sight (or a Col, thank God) and we can chat as we pedal along. We laugh, we tell stories, we point out the sights.
In the late afternoon we watch the end of the Tour in a lovely wine bar in St Emillion, with champagne and delicious wines and platters and platters of tasty morsels - smoked salmon, foie gras, tapenade, salamis and cheeses, mozarella and the sweetest tomatoes. After all, this IS a B&R trip, and we hadn’t eaten in at least an hour! Gotta keep our strength up. When you’re training for your B&R adventure be sure to train in the eating and drinking as well. It can be tough to keep up!
In the wine bar there is the most adorable 8 year old boy. He is curious about the US, about us, about what we think of France, about who we like in the Tour. Fanny translates, we bond. He wants to visit the US; I want to adopt him. His mother, the restaurant owner, has other ideas. Oh well.
Hotel Grand Barrail. Oh yeah.
No biting bugs (we were afraid they would come with us from the Roach Hotel, and B&R would be booted out of this fancy hotel. So far so good.) Our room is the entire tower. A bathtub the size of a cruise ship.
Our own private espresso machine. Acres of space - there is room for all our luggage and us. The lap of luxury. We unpack to organize; we have been pulling things out by the sleeve and leaving wads of clothing trailing out that gets stuffed back into the suitcase - no room to open - and things are a mess.
It looks like a bomb went off in our room, but it’ s so big we don’t care - we just kick the stuff into the corners and after a long soak in the tub collapse on the bed. Tired and Happy.
At dinner Annik yells "The Tour de France caravan is coming by! Come outside!" We do, and find Fanny on a bike on top of the B&R van flinging bike jerseys about.
If George could see her now!
Tomorrow: The Time Trial, the race of truth. And meet the players, our fellow travelers.