175 – L’Échoppe

I’m currently living in an échoppe. For those not versed in French architecture or who have never been to Bordeaux. It’s a bungalow.

Albeit a solid stone bungalow and not the ones I once saw in Torquay constructed from cereal boxes. These impressive one storey abodes are built from thick blocks of limestone and are as sturdy as the Nazi U-Boat bunker I mentioned in my last post. Continue reading “175 – L’Échoppe”

174 – Eurasie Asian Supermarket

I’ve been craving Thai curry ever since I left Lyon. Once I had it six nights in a row. Same recipe every night from Monday to Saturday just because I could. On Sunday I had fish to give my bowels a rest.

I don’t believe you can’t have the same dish everyday of the week. If I discover something new, I generally gorge on it until I’m sick or can’t stand the sight of it any longer. Whichever comes first.

By the time I left Lyon last July I could make a red Thai curry better than any Thai restaurant in the city could. I experimented on the farm in Queaux with ingredients I got from the local supermarket in Lussac. But the results were awful. The runoff from the compost heap tasted better. Continue reading “174 – Eurasie Asian Supermarket”

173 – Lacanau Beach

When is a beach not a beach?

When you’re running up and down it in a pair of swimming trunks diving in and out of crystalline water in burning heat in late October.

I was expecting to be trudging up a rain soaked beach yesterday wearing a thick jumper, a cagoule, a weighty woollen scarf and a waterproof hat. A throwback to half terms staying with my gran in Scarborough, I admit. But still a shock to go to Lacanau, 60km west of Bordeaux, to witness a beach still wrapped up in its mid-summer glow. Scorching! Continue reading “173 – Lacanau Beach”

172 – The Piano Man and Beer Tasting

Each morning I’m awoken by the old man next door playing his piano. It’s my morning wake-up call and I can truly say that there’s nothing as calming as Beethoven, Brahms or Bach first thing.

It doesn’t actually wake me up. More rolls me over in my deep slumber. Gently prods me and says, ‘Oggers, it’s morning. Time to get up.’

This has happened everyday since I’ve been here. Except today. Which is worrying on two counts. One he might be dead. And two I don’t have another alarm clock. I have a mobile phone but the ring tones are so incredibly nauseating and offensive that I’d rather miss the entire day than be woken up by some moronic synthesised version of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Continue reading “172 – The Piano Man and Beer Tasting”

171 – Gare de Bordeaux Saint Jean

gare jean

Bordeaux’s main train station built in 1898 at the south end of the city symbolizes how opulent and exciting rail travel once was. The old arrival and departure halls alone are as big and as grand as any art gallery or museum I’ve seen. A full scale exhibition of Dutch Masters or T-Rex skeletons wouldn’t look out of place in the slightest.

In the evenings I often go down there to admire the architecture and twenty metre neoclassical colonnades of the main halls. The marbled floors, wood panelled ticket halls, old fashioned patisseries, newspaper stands, silver service restaurants, rustic waiting rooms make me feel like I’m walking back in time. To a time when taking a train to Paris was as luxurious as taking Concorde. Continue reading “171 – Gare de Bordeaux Saint Jean”