Day 2 ended up being tour-the-town day. We ended up taking a tourist train with recorded tour information in several languages. It makes it much easier to get the lay of the land that way.
I’m always amazed when tours mention dates, referring to still standing structures, from 500 to 1000 years ago and include names like Charlemagne. I’m also blown away when I hear names or places mentioned in history like Aquitaine and Richelieu (extra points for the first person to give me the literary reference to Richelieu.)
Probably more interesting about Bordeaux is what happened here in 1995, though. The city had been known as a jewel in France. It was said to be a glorious beauty in its day rivaling all but Paris. But, that beauty had fallen into disrepair. So, in 1995, the mayor launched a revitalization plan. He built a very nice, very efficient tram system to move the people around and began cleaning the facades on all the buildings. With that work and those efforts, the city was also named a UNESCO World Heritage site giving it protection and recognition. It’s a really beautiful city with fantastic architecture, all made from stone.
On an unrelated note, my concern about language has been mitigated because we’ve had a translator hanging around with us the last couple days. She is a young Russian girl living here with her French husband and 4 year old son. She’s been great helping us out. I’m not sure if she was assigned to us, or just attached herself to us, but she’s been there. But, the cool thing is we helped her get a job. All right, not really, but she just interviewed for a job with a company that would rely on her language abilities. During the interview, she said she stumbled a bit with her English. So, she’s been practicing with us the last few days, and when they called her yesterday about the job, she made sure to tell them she had been with us and practicing her English. We all got a good laugh out of it.
Last night we went to the opening of the film festival, complete with local sparkling wine, snacks (the French don’t really call them hors d’ oeuvres), talks, more food and vodka) Nice evening and my friends and I all got to set down front in the VIP section since I am an official participant in the festival. Very cool and a lot of fun.
Last few days, the weather has been pleasant and mild, but they keep saying we are supposed to get rain..