Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
HISTORY: The chateau was built around 1880 by the Lecuyer family. Originally the house was part of a much larger estate, called Chateaux de Bourg et de Meaume. The properties were split into two on the death of the owner with one part given to his son, and the other to his daughter (which is the part we are in).
During WW2 Maransin, the town (pop. was occupied by the Nazis and the chateau was used for the senior command of the region. A girl who lived in the chateau with her mother during the occupation (according to the current owner) who is now an incredibly vivacious woman in her 80's, tells of being confined to one room. She also tells of her mother leaving popular magazines at the bedside of the Nazi officers in the hope that they would repay the hospitality with respect for the property. They did.
Maransin became a moderately important centre for wine commerce after the war, but narrowly missed out on its own Appellation d'Origine Controlle. It is surrounded not just by the Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye appellations, but also by the world renowned Pomerol and St. Emilion names.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Our hotel in Barcelona is a very nice, clean, well-appointed little place near Eixample. It may be the nicest placed I've stayed in Europe thanks to Expedia, since in the past I've stayed in very budget pensions. This was even has good water-pressure.
Figuring that we are more tourists than travelers in this town, since we have less than 48 hours here, we took the Hop-on-hop-off bus around town. Live-and-learn! While it was good for getting our bearings, which was my main goal, I wouldn’t do it again but instead would spend half the cost hiring a taxi to give us a brief general tour. Of course, if I were on my own, or with children who weren’t as tired as Soleil is, then I might just have wandered by foot and skipped the vehicular approach altogether. Now the kids are swimming in the tiny pool on the roof of the hotel after which we’ll walk to the Rambla district, wander some more and have our dinner.
Today I gave Kaizen the chance to be the navigator of the walking portions of our wanderings. That type of real-life experience doesn’t come up very often in our day-to-day life driving around cities which I know like the back of my hand.
We decided today that we should have 3-word themes each day.
Kaizen: “It Felt Urban”
Soleil: “Bikes And Motorcycles”
Lisa: “Sticky, Stylish, Cleavage”
Friday, September 3, 2010
Off we go to Europe! Mom and Dad dropped us to the airport for the evening and we got ready to get on the plane, hoping for the kids to sleep in order to aid the transition.
We spent our first day in Brussels after taking a train into the city from the airport between flights. It was a pretty low key day as we were tired after having had only 5 hours sleep on the plane (less for me because my butt shared the chair with Soleil's head and Kaizen slept on the floor so my feet didn't have a spot either). We did eat Belgium chocolate (given to us gratis from the shopkeeper for a reason I couldn't figure out --unless it was because the kids are so cute) and see a little of the Belgium day-time city life. Cute streets, tourist seafood restaurants and prep for this weekend's Belgium beer festival.