15.12.2012 - 16.12.2012 10 °C
After a late night, we opted for a sleep in although given we had lost an hour this didn't help a whole lot. We wanted to head to Bordeaux but thought we should get some French countryside in so we chose the green local route rather than the blue motorway. This was quite nice but added quite a bit time-wise so it was already starting to get dark when we arrived.
The setting sun may have been a blessing as we drove through the main street along the river. Bordeaux was a lot bigger and a lot prettier than we were expecting. The apartments and shops along the river-front looked very well maintained, not sure how old they must be but are absolutely beautiful.
Arriving quite late on a Saturday evening the traffic was quite bad and we struggled through the town and across the other side of the river with the thought of finding somewhere to park and a hotel. Erin found a Residhotel which is a relatively new chain set up for business travellers and is the chain we chose for our Eurodisney stop so would be interesting to see how they go.
After another lap of the Bordeaux traffic we made it back through the centre of town and found the hotel. I managed (in some very poor Frenglish) to let the receptionist know who we were and we were given the key. This was the last time the receptionist showed the slightest bit of interest in us or anyone else that we noticed. She spent the whole time on the phone to her friends, stopping to answer questions with a tone that suggested she had better things to do. It wasn't a problem though. The room was good and she told us where the laundry was so we could finish drying the clothes we washed in the Porto apartment.
We were looking at catching the tram in to town to get dinner, it turns out after nearly ripping out the tram system (because it was dangerous for cyclists) Bordeaux actually ended up improving and separating the trams from bikes as much as possible. When we went out it was pouring rain and we didn't have change so we took a chance and got back in the car. Long story short this turned out to be a good choice and we quickly got into town and found a parking spot right in front of the tram stop.
It was getting a little late so we started walking ( in one direction so we didn't get lost) and eventually stopped at a little grill. We all ordered fish and it turned out we should have got steak judging by the meals that came out to others. The fish was all over-cooked but the steaks looked nice. Anyway, we started walking back to the car and soon discovered why therewas so much traffic. Not far from where we parked there was a Christmas market on (we had been told to keep an eye out for these in France) so we went for a wander through. They had lots of food and typical market craft stalls as well as some local produce stalls. It was interesting but not that different to what you would find in a market in Australia(one of the stallls even sold kangaroo meat sandwiches). Allanah bought some lollies from one of the stalls and we all wished we had room for crepes but we were a bit full so walked past, back to the car and the hotel.
After a good sleep we packed up early to get some breakfast and catch a tram in to walk the streets of Bordeaux. We found a little mini-version of a Carrefour supermarket where we bought bread, cheese, tomatoes, croissants and some juice and kept walking. We then stumbled on a little cafe that did coffee that didn't taste like cigarette butts (a first for us in France) and ordered a cafe noisette which is like a piccolo latte, named for the deep brown hazelnut colour of the coffee. Allanah had a hot chocolate (I can tell you there is nothing wrong with French hot chocolate).
We walked along the river and then across a bridge to get some photos from the other side of the river. After strolling for a couple of hours we thought we should probably make a move as we had a few hours of driving (via the countryside again) to our next stop at Lourdes.
We stopped back in for another coffee and some more croissants on the way past as they were so good and also picked up some breakfast stuff in case we didn't find somewhere in Lourdes to get this sort of thing. In the end we didn't need it as Erin booked us in to a lovely little B&B.