Today has been all over the map. I’ll do my best to give you a recap.
We began the day with a Russian Orthodox church service held in a Catholic church. The Russian orthodox community here is too small to have their own church in Bordeaux, so they have come to an agreement with the St. Peter (Saint Pierre) catholic church in the city to use a small chapel off the side of the main cathedral. What makes that interesting, the two faiths split hundreds of years ago, but obviously they local communities have opted to work together.
Even more interesting, the orthodox priest is French and doesn’t speak Russian, but he still conducts each mass in Russian. The group of parishioners is small but dedicated. After the ceremony, they invited us to have tea and coffee with them.
From there, we joined the participants in the film festival for lunch at a local restaurant. We ended up having a table full of Americans, a table of French people and a table full of Russians. We toasted to Mother’s Day.
Then we all got together for a trip to a local winery. After a beautiful tour, we got to sample a couple of their wines, as introduced by the owner herself. She was a lovely lady and very friendly, but you could also tell she was an aristocrat in her world. We checked into bottles of the wine she gave us on the tour but they were 45 and 52 Euros per bottle. I passed.
May 9 is also the end of hostilities for World War II in Russia. This is a major event in Russia as approximately 20 million people died during the war. It was a terrible time and deeply ingrained in the Russian psyche. We joined a group of Russians and French out for dinner and Russian style drinking (vodka and toasting) to remember the evening. It started out a little rough as tensions were high for some reason, but things quickly relaxed as people got a drink or two in them. I gave a couple toasts over the course of the evening.
All in all, a pretty amazing day.
But, now we are looking at our flights leaving here and things are getting a little tense. It looks like everything will be fine, but I’m not 100 percent sure. The latest eruption of the volcano is jostling flights again. We’ll see how it goes..