Monday, October 7, 2019

The days of wine and roses

When we last left you, we were kicking up our heels in Gay Paree.

Next morning, we were cooling our heels on the fast train from Paris to Lyon.   

Relaxing in a velvet-upholstered reclining seat, it was impossible to tell how fast we were going. Someone guessed 200 miles per hour. (It’s actually 180.) All I know is what would have been a 7-hour journey on a “regular” train lasted less than 120 minutes.

All aboard!! (Courtesy Uniworld)

When we arrived, a mini bus met us and escorted the Paris group of Uniworld travelers to the ship SS Catherine. She would be our home for the next eight days as we cruised the Rhone river from Lyon to Avignon. 

Along the way (and at every stop) there would be ridiculous amounts of food and wine. So, after unpacking, we declared “let the fun begin!”
Charming Beaune
Our first actual tour day was a contrast in adventures. We started in Beaune which was the seat of the dukes of Burgundy until the 16th century. There we visited the Hospices de Beaune, founded as a hospital for the poor in 1443. Over the centuries, the hospice monks were given vineyards and they sold their wines to support their work. The wine auction continues today, and has become world famous. 

14th century Gargoyles keep a watchful eye on visitors

The tour of the hospital (also know as Hotel-Dieu) was quite fascinating from the kitchen with huge Gothic chimneys, to the apothecary to the large hospital room lined with ancient beds. There were two, sometimes three patients in each bed. They slept sitting up so “Death” wouldn’t think they had passed, and steal them away. The beds looked like they were made for dolls. It was vivid example of how small people were in those days. 

 Following the sobering tour of the historic hospital, a small group of us traveled by bus through the picturesque hamlets of Burgundy for a wine tasting and luncheon at a medieval fortress.

Chateau de Rully was built in the 12th century and has been in the same family for 26 generations. It is a noted wine estate and is especially well known for its Chardonnay wines.

Our host, the current Count, led us to the 15th century cellar for a tasting of three of his best wines. His young son, next in line to be Count de Rully, served us petite puffy cheese biscuits (I have the recipe!) between varieties.

Mmmm, dessert!
Then came the luncheon in the carriage house. Magnifique! We dined on Beef Bourguignon (in a Chateau de Rully white wine sauce), Gratin Dauphinois and Apple Tart Tatin. I have the recipes!! And, of course, the meal included generous servings of the estate wines.

We were then treated to a tour of the chateau and grounds led by our charming host. After a heartfelt adieu, we returned to the bus to head back to the ship. Most of us drifted off with visions of wine tastings and adventures to come.

Vineyards near Chateau de Rully
 But wine wasn't on my mind. I was dreaming about roses.


The Principal Undergardener said...

Wow... what an adventure! But isn't it Boeuf Bourguignon? A classic vacation and one for the memory book....

Lynn Hunt said...

It was just spelled "beef" on the recipe card. You and Betty would love the trip!

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