Making our way into France once again, this time we headed straight to Frances famous wine region Bordeaux. Home to over 500 wineries I could feel my taste buds tingling already. The city of Bordeaux is a unesco heritage listed site which means the entire city is a perfect example of French architecture. The French refer to the city as La Belle au Bois Dormant which translates to Sleeping Beauty, and a tranquil little beauty it was.
Enjoying the serial scenery whilst hopping from patisserie to patisserie was a splendid way to spend our day. The people of Bordeaux were so kind and beautiful to us. Looking at our map to try and find our way to the gothic Tour Pey-Berland we were approached by an elderly gentlemen who attempted to converse with us in French. Realising we didn't understand he excused himself for his bad English whilst perfectly asking us if we had lost our way and if we would like his help to find where we needed to go.
The city was magnificent but what I was really interested in was what laid outside, the wineries. A days wine tour was extremely expensive so our second option was to hire scooters and do a wine tour of our own. With the weather turning for the worst our back up plan fell through. Spur of the moment I found a local man named Vincent on CouchSurfing who had his own organic wine farm in Langon not far from Bordeaux. With our timing being seemingly perfect he agreed to have us stay with him for a couple of nights in his chateaux on the farm. I was over the moon as this was going to be our first CouchSurfing experience.
As we drove through the countryside we were completely surrounded by lush rolling hills and vineyards for as far as the eye could see. Coming up into Vincent's property I was blown away by his 200 year old stone chateaux sitting in amongst his farm land. We were instantly made to feel at home and treated to Vincent's endless supply of rose wine which was some of the best I have ever tasted. We were given a tour of the property where we got to see first hand how his entire small business operation worked. It was extremely interesting for James who had just finished doing a vintage at a winery in the Barossa Valley back home in Australia. Vincent enjoyed talking to James about the way different operations work on different scales, and he was extremely delighted that we were from the infamous Barossa Valley.
There is no better way to get to know each other then over a few bottles of organic red wine. As Vincent uncorked a 2008 bottle of his good friends organic wine he had been saving for a special occasion the conversation filling the room began to dig deep. Vincent talked of what he hoped to gain from running an organic farm and the type of knowledge it involves. He told us of his beliefs of feng shui and how positive energy and surroundings was the key to stimulating successful plant growth. He made us view the vines as living organisms, after all they are a plant. We talked about plants needs and compared them to humans, we defined the importance and benefits to society by going green. Our conversation led to travel and the amazing knowledge you gain when experiencing such a thing. We talked about different ways of life, particularly the difference between European culture and Australian culture. Seven bottles later and an abundant amount of goats cheese we were talking about the moon, the stars, life on Mars, how we have ruined this beautiful Earth, which lead us to wondering about what the Universe truly holds. Vincent told us we were going to have an impeccable sleep that night as our bed faced North, which is said to be good feng shui. I agreed with him completely except my reasonings behind having a good nights sleep had a lot more to do with the severe amount of wine consumed. Non the less he was right, it was some of the most revitalising sleep I had had in months. The best part of all was waking up in the morning feeling crystal clear. One of the greatest benefits of drinking organic wine is there are no additives and chemicals to give you that nasty wine hangover.
Vincent had two more CouchSurfers contact him and request to stay for the night. Having more then enough room he was happy to have them which was fantastic as we were happy to meet new people. His new guests were two Russian girls who had been hitch hiking there way around Europe for the last three weeks. The girls were nothing like how I shallowly imagined stereotypical Russian's to be. They were young free spirits who had been getting by by using their creative artistic talents to draw henna tattoos on people in the street for money. They were truly gifted and were a pleasure to have met.
Vincent took us all out for the day for a drive through the countryside. He took us to his friends farm who had begun the seasons vintage at the winery. Although the farm was not organic Vincent wanted to show us how his friend along with his team were hand picking all the grapes instead of using heavily polluting machinery. The property was massive with rows upon rows of vines. We played hide and seek and ran around the fields. The further we ventured the plumper the fruit seemed. We couldn't help but sneakily hand pick a few bunches of our own and devouring the delicious sweet red grapes.
Not to far from the farm was a beautiful village Saint-Emilion where Vincent insisted on taking us. The quaint little town reminded me of the Provence area of France. Climbing to the towns highest point the views from above were astonishing. We spent most of our time just wandering through the streets where we hopped from wine store to wine store taste testing all the different drops. Vincent told the sales men that we were all the way from The Barossa Valley which surprised them immensely. They began to talk wine from grapes to the different shapes of glasses, we talked aromas and spices. It was a completely perfect wine filled day in the depth of the Bordeaux countryside.
We ended our time with Vincent and the girls by having an extravagant French dinner. The conversation was once again so amusing as the girls told us of their stories from back home in Russia and about their time in Europe. The nights weather had turned for the worst as a lightning storm hit. Lighting up some candles just in case, we weren't about to let a little bad weather ruin our fun. With wine flowing the girls showed us there artistic skills giving us all unique henna tattoos. It was an absolutely phenomenal ending to our time in Langon and in this splendid region.
We couldn't have been more thankful for the opportunity we were given by our first CouchSurfing experience. We will never forget the eccentric Vincent and his marvellous organic wine. Our couch will forever be open in hope that in another life time we can all cross paths once again. Until then we will continue to spread the good vibes.
Peace, The Wanderer's Daughter xx