Thank God for Primitivo! Why? OK…so I admit it. I’m seriously in a rut. I haven’t written a blog post in over a month and even those were rehashes of our Bordeaux wine cruise. Granted, a Bordeaux wine cruise is pretty cool to blog about but that finished four months ago.
Well…we’re now in the aforementioned Bruges… “The land of many hangovers” and this place is stunning. More old buildings than Ghent, at least in the center section and probably the biggest collection of bars and restaurants we’ve seen in years.
We met up with our friends, Steve and Allison from the UK and our foreign exchange student from Germany of five years back, Tammo and his girlfriend Melina and our long time Belgian customers that have become good friends, Peter and Johan and their wives, Caroline and Natalie. It sounds like the beginning of a joke. Four Belgians, two Germans, two Brits and two Americans walk into a bar…The United Nations has nothing on us.
Welcome to Ghent, Belgium. Oh wait…your not here…we are. Well, that sucks for you because this place is great. It was pretty uneventful getting here other than just a really long travel day – San Francisco to Frankfurt to Brussels and then a train to Ghent. Most of the Belgians speak English but they do like to mess with us by not putting many signs in English so we were pretty sure we were on the right train to get here but didn’t get confirmation until we were way the hell out of Brussels.
It seems silly writing an entire post about Paris. We are likely the last people we know to come here so most of what is in here is probably just a recap of what others have already done and seen but what the hell. This is as much for us when we get old and forgetful (and those of you who would argue that we’re already there, bite me!). We got to Paris uneventfully because we got out of Belgium 18 hours before the terrorist incidents in Brussels. We were met by our friend Christian Selosse. We’ve known Christian’s family for close to 30 years and his girls all came to spend time with my parents to help learn English. Paris is a beautiful city (no real news there) but having a local’s perspective on it was fantastic.
Karen and I have each heard innumerable stories from family and friends about Belgium and Paris but Bordeaux was new to us, our family and friends so we didn’t know what to expect. Obviously, the tragic bombings in Belgium the day after we left it cast a pall over Europe but we were amazed by the resiliency of the European people. It brings to mind how the US recovered from the 911 attacks 15 years ago. Clearly, we hadn’t expected to see these types of events but it gave us a different perspective on the region and its people. It was a view we’d rather not have seen but we’ll remember the news, the looks on the faces and the mood of our friends, both new and old, for the rest of our lives. But enough with the philosophical thoughts..
Damn it! Last day of the cruise. This sucks. The weather echoed my mood because it was rainy and cold. Most of the cruise guests were doing walking trips in the town of Bordeaux but Chef Todd and Winemaker Anna had managed to finagle tastings at two of the classified wineries in Medoc, Chateau Kirwan and Chateau Lynch-Bage. The classification system of wineries goes back to 1855 where the well known wineries were rated into five different classes.