As I was saying, from a bicycle you see aspects of scenery you might otherwise miss from a Ferrari, and there is something to be said for that. Bicycles also have more head room. That you have to wear one of those dorky helmets seems a small price to pay. What I don’t understand is why I look like a dork and Lance Armstrong looks like a movie star. Don’t answer that.
My wingman Carolyne Roehm and I have gone a blistering 30 feet before the group abandons us yet again. They like to GO and we like to stop. How can you not stop for a field of poppies? That is another good thing about biking. You can stop and they can go. Just don’t get lost. Um-hmm.
The French are very respectful of cyclists (it’s a Tour de France thing), and they do not run over you when you stop in the middle of the road to take a picture, but it is better to pull over to the side, I’m just sayin’. They do not even honk, which is a miracle, considering people in New York honk when you stop to get out of a taxi. What are you supposed to do, jump out while it’s moving? But I digress.
“Bonjour Monsieur!” we holler. “Que vous avez des beaux choux!” which means gosh you have beautiful cabbages. At least I hope that’s what it means.
It was so pretty here we stopped to peek over the fence.
No fern or fraise gets by us, no mon-sirree.
About two weeks later that day Carolyne and I arrive to meet the gang in the village where we gather before lunch. We made up a story about stopping at an antiques store, which we totally would have done, but it wasn’t open. Or else we might never have gotten to lunch.
I am always thrilled about lunch, especially today. We are having a picnic up the hill, and what a picnic it is…
The view is so beautiful it hurts, overlooking forest, fields and meadows, and the village of Bouilland, which is home to our leader and outfitter Rachel Foulkes. Canadian expat and sharp cookie, Rachel knows how to put on a picnic, here ably assisted by fellow leader John Brooks. We all take a minute to pinch ourselves.
The liqueur Creme de Cassis, made from black currants, is a regional specialty, as is the Kir, a concoction made from white wine with a splash of cassis. Did you know the whole Kir thing was a marketing ploy trumped up by the clever mayor of Dijon, Felix Kir, to boost the cassis business after the war? Me neither. If you’re interested, here’s the story of Felix Kir and the Kir.
After a long, hard day of riding in the van, His Grace relaxes with his Blackberry. Okay I am kidding, sort of. On this day HG actually did bike the whole morning AND carried the cooler to the picnic for extra credit. But listen he is a cowboy and more of a horseback kind of guy, and that’s all there is to it. He is magnifico on a horse.
You will be glad to hear also that his French has improved steadily. In addition to magnifico; he has belted out, lyrically, mas cafe por favor. Popped right out with it after dinner, he did. The waiter understood him perfectly. (It was late and we were all a little bi-lingual, if you know what I mean.)
Guess what is happening at our hotel L’Abbaye de la Bussiere when we arrive for the night? A Ferrari convention. I could not make that up. Ten of ’em in the parking lot, as we toodle by on our bikes, fraises des bois photos proudly in hand.
Grape note: closer to home and just coincidentally, the wonderful Centsational Girl blog the other day posted about grafting pinot noir vines in her family’s small vineyard in northern California . Burgundy is pinot noir as well. If you’re interested in reading about their grafting, go here. It’s quite a process. Cheers.