The Day We Followed the Owl

Trip Start Jul 17, 2010
Trip End Aug 07, 2010

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Flag of France  , Burgundy,
Sunday, August 1, 2010

From Cari: I discovered that too much Champagne makes me irritable the next day, meaning that the drive to Dijon was less than pleasurable. It didn't help that the old man didn’t want to let us leave. He talked to us as we loaded our bags into our car. He talked to us as we got in the car and buckled in. He kept telling us stories while leaning into our car through the window even after Greg had put the car into drive. I really thought he was going to try to come with us. Luckily, he finally allowed us to drive away from the Chateau and Juvigny. 

From Greg: ...................

From Cari: A high point, though, was that we had actually gotten him to give us good directions to the highway we needed (apparently the highway wasn’t so "obvious"). To get to the highway, the old man told us to pass the football fields. We expected soccer fields; but, nay, the fields we passed were actual American football fields complete with field goal posts. I found that interesting, especially for France. We found the highway in practically no time, made no wrong turns, and were off to Dijon.

From Greg: (At this time, Greg is refusing to comment, so Cari will interject with what surely would have been Greg's comments until the time that Greg decides to finish his part.) Cari is so right about everything. It is amazing to me how right Cari is all of the time. And did I mention her breath-taking beauty? That is all. 
From Cari: Getting into the city of Dijon was not such an easy matter (standard). The directions we had took us straight to Beaune, even though our itinerary had us stopping in Dijon. We had to improvise, which, I’m sure you realize by now, has never gotten us anywhere quickly. We got off the highway at the exit that said “Dijon” and followed signs, seemingly in circles, toward the city center. Eventually, we found the tourist office, and Greg sat out in the car in the middle of a bunch of taxis in the taxi stand while I went and asked where we could park. Apparently, parking is free on Sundays, so we could park pretty much anywhere. Or, we could pay to park at the train station. It was our choice. Umm….free parking.

From Cari: Dijon was hot. I feared for our delicious Belgian chocolates the whole time. Nevertheless, we headed back from our sweet street parking spot to the tourist office to purchase an Owl Trail guide that would lead us around Dijon. Before embarking on our quest, the girl/woman/female-person-of-our-age asked where we were from so that the tourist office could track where visitors were coming from. Even with our vote for the U.S. of A., we still couldn’t catch the Japanese.

From Cari: The tour was created by the city to lead visitors to the “hot spots” of Dijon as efficiently as possible. It had 22 sites on it, and neither Greg nor I were really feeling the history today (probably because of all that Champagne). The book suggested a 3-hour tour…we did it in just over an hour. It helped a little (although made it slightly boring) that there were no people around. Not only was it a Sunday, but the French are all in the south of France right now on vacation (except for the poor people at the tourist office).

From Cari: I have the book for those of you who are interested in some more information, but in an effort to save time (and not bore you), the following sights stood out the most to me:

The Porte Guillaurme is Dijon’s version of the Arc de Triomphe. It used to stand in a wall of sorts, but as the wall came down and the city built up around it, it is all that is left.

The Moutarde Maille is a shop that sells the famed Dijon mustard. It apparently is supposed to be spicier here than American Dijon mustard, but we weren’t able to try it because the shop was closed (it was Sunday).

There seems to be a lot of Notre Dame Churches around France, and Dijon has one. It is on the side of this church that you will find the lucky owl. Touching it with your left hand and making a wish is said to bring good luck (and a cold). An interesting point the guide book made was that the gargoyles on the church were not originals, as legend has it that a powerful man (not sure if he was royal or not) was on his way to his wedding when one of the gargoyles fell and crushed him. The gargoyles were then removed from the church.

The Palais des Ducs was once home to the Dukes of Burgundy and includes the Tour Philippe le Bon, which is named for the man that was imprisoned for a time in the tower.

On the cobble-stoned Rue Verrerie, we saw antique shops and restaurants. At one restaurant, a couple must not have made a reservation because the table they were eating at was literally in the middle of the road.

The last church we saw (not sure what it was called off the top of my head) had a multi-colored tiled roof which was really neat to look at.

From Cari: We headed back to the car after taking a picture of every sight. The hardest picture to take was of the old guard tower. A girl finally stopped to help us take the picture when she noticed that I was trying to inconspicuously hang my camera from a water pipe.

From Cari: After asking for brief directions to Beaune, we headed off on the “non-scenic” route. The scenic route had too many turns. Despite what the girl at the tourist office might have said, the route we took made its way through a lot of little towns and villages and was very pretty. It only took just over a half hour to get to Beaune, and we found the hotel with little problems (our first). It is a shame that I was not in a good mood and was ready to get out of the car or I would have felt like celebrating.

From Cari: Greg wanted to explore so we canceled the reservations at the hotel restaurant. When it starting pouring twenty minutes later, we tried to get our reservation back, but the restaurant was booked. It was probably a good thing since it forced us out into the city.

We ate at a Brasserie that we saw served croques. It wasn’t the best croque I have had, but I was so hungry that I didn’t really mind. We wandered around for a little longer, but it was getting late and things were closing. We decided it was best to head back to the hotel and get some rest to be fresh for the morning.
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