Saturday, October 1, 2011
As far as the eye could see there were vineyards everywhere, as we drove along.
There was really not much colour about, but after all, we were there in the winter time.
Here we are near Pauillac which is perhaps the most famous of all the Bordeaux wine producing appellations and perfect for the red wine that is made here.
Three of the famous vineyards are here ...Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
Pruning is done in the winter time when the vines are dormant and that is what we could see the workers doing out in the vineyards.
"Picasso and I"
Occasionally we could see workers in the distance in the middle of fields with plumes of blue smoke rising in the cold air as they burnt the vine clippings. We were reminded how cold - verging on bleak the French winter could be - but the place was always charming and the landscape so different and the people generally very nice that the cold didn't seem to matter a lot.
Apparently the 'Picasso' family have never been too happy with the famous artist's name being used on a car. However, Pablo apparently fathered a number of children outside of his formal marriage all with legitimate (although they weren't) claims to his name and one sold the right to put it a on a car to the Citroen company.
The car was surprisingly easy to drive albeit a six speed manual with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and changing gear for the first time using your right hand takes getting used to.
We haven't owned a manual car for 25 years so all these variables plus keeping your eye on our beloved Sat' Nav' "Claudette" made for interesting driving. By the end of the time with the Picasso we had gotten quite used to it and were sorry to see it go. They don't have an equivalent in New Zealand - but all in all a nice car.
The car was a diesel and in France diesel is called 'gazole' which creates confusion for us as we call diesel - diesel (which to make matters more entertaining was written on the side of the car) - so filling up with fuel was another little adventure. We thought gazole equated to gas or petrol . It apparently translates to mean fuel oil.
Driving around the country roads it appears that the more remote you get the smaller the road. passing through some rural villages was hair raising as the average French driver is a fearless individual convinced of his (or her) driving prowess and committed to the art of driving as fast as possible irregardless of driving conditions, width of road or oncoming cars. Few of the rural roads have shoulders - so pulling over to the let the average french lunatic driver pass was not always easy and we found ourselves joining in by speeding up to keep away from them.
I wish you all a happy weekend.