Greg Eden’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 21 Sep 2014

MapDay 26 St Emillion 
We get up about 8 and have breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast in hotels varies greatly from place to place. No cereal at this one so we have croissants and buns. We set off on a loop around the vineyards about 9.30 and it is cool and overcast, perfect for riding. We see many of the sights we saw yesterday from the bus. We get lost a couple of times but we know we are not far from home so it's  not really a problem. It is frustrating though as the directions are unclear at times so the focus can be taken away from enjoyment of the sights. We pass many magnificent chateaux, most of which are not open but we find one that is (Chateau de Candale) and have a cafe grande and cafe crema. We are the only ones there and the views are spectacular over the hills and vineyards. The waiter is friendly and can't speak much English but he is heading for Aust in 3 weeks time so we have a good conversation with him. We arrive back in St Emillion about 12.30 having done about 23km. For a road cyclist this area would be heaven. Quiet roads, rolling hills and no wind. The area of St Emillion has 5400 hectares of vines with 860 winemakers. It is all red wine, mainly merlot 65%, Cabernet franc 25% and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are 2 main areas ("appellations")-St Emillion and St Emillion Grand Cru). The hotel changes our room so we have a room with a view of the Great Wall built in 13th century. It is incredible to think that this wall was built 800 years ago. It is outside the city walls and only the facade remains but it looks like it will stay intact for many years to come. Back in the town we have pizza for lunch and explore the monuments of the town. We try a few wines and meet the winegrower who owns the guest house that we are staying at. He is very friendly and speaks a little english but not much. I get a photo with him and Ruth. We buy a bottle of his merlot. We also buy a bottle of the local champagne. We have a look through some underground cellars that house thousands of bottles of red. Last walk through the streets and a few more photos then dinner at La Cadene in Place de Eglise Monolithique with the huge clock tower behind us. A magnificent setting for dinner. This is a really nice place with a very peaceful feel about it. It is no wonder it is a popular tourist destination but it is not overrun by tourists like a lot of other places. The restaurants are seemingly all well patronized but there always seems to be room for a few more people. The waiters are friendly as are the shop attendants. A place I would like to come back to one day. We are back at the hotel by 9. The French don't eat late like the Spanish so we are almost back to normal.