Vines, Vines

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of France  , Aquitaine,
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vines, vines, everywhere are vines. 
Blockin’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind.
Rouge vin, blanch, ro-se
Can you taste the wi-ine?

Spent about 3 days cycling through Bordeaux’s beautiful wine-country. 

Pulling away from the mouth of the Girone river we entered wine country with a vengeance.  Cattle and corn farming drifted away and were replaced with sunflower and grape - I mean raisin.  Of course, the sunflowers are dried shadows of their former beautiful selves which is quite sad for me - I was looking forward to seeing their smiling faces follow me throughout the day.  C’est la vie!

More and more vines crowded the road until seeing a stretch of corn became a novelty.  When entering the town of Blaye, nothing but vines could be seen.  Big juicy grapes soaking up the sunshine and hanging low below the leaves. 

Vines and vines as far as the eye can see.  Every once in awhile a Grande Chateau shows itself above the grape leaves.  Enormous stone pillars supporting elaborate iron-worked gates mark the entrance from the road.  Many of these offer ‘vente direct’ selling directly from the farm. 

One morning all of the harvesters were out in full force.  Thundering masses of machinery devour the rows and leave the poor vines shivering and stark naked in the sunlight.  Each tiny stem stands alone wondering where it’s beautiful globe of juice has gone!  The air is so thick with the smell of newly fermenting wine, you begin to wonder if you’ll begin to feel alcohol effects. 

A few spare grapes spill out of the trucks as they labour down the roads holding up impatient traffic.  These make a fun game for the bicycles to see if I can aim to run over the little balls and ‘pop’ out the juice as we go along.  But so many are crushed by a multitude of vehicles that the road becomes sticky with the grape’s sweetness, and I can hear our tires sticking to the pavement as we go along. 

Plummeting down into a river valley saw the banks rising with less and less grape vines until finally corn took over one again.  However, in this temperate region, far more exotic crops are  beginning to make their presence known:  tobacco, figs, peaches, chili peppers, and kiwi fruit. 
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