Robyn's 50th Birthday Celebration travel blog

Vertheuil Church

Church Door

Inside the Church

Behind the Church

Vines as Far as You Can See!

Patricia's House

Back Patio in the Garden

This morning it was off to Bordeaux. The flight was from Birmingham via BMI Baby, one of the discount airlines. They cram you into the seats, but we had paid extra to get in the front rows. All four of us -- Patricia, Alison, Kate and I -- sat with our snacks from the airport (otherwise you pay £2 for a cup of tea and more for a soggy sandwich).

Soon enough we were landing in Bordeaux and breezed through customs. We all just had carry-on luggage, but Ali had to check the pool liner (for the garden plunge pool). Got our rental car, a Volkswagen Golf, and off we went to the supermarket to stock up on wine, champagne and food (first things first, though, as you can see).

Vertheuil is about an hour north of Bordeaux, in the heart of the Medoc. Vineyards as far as the eye can see, dotted with small villages and lovely chateaux. The farm houses along the way are mostly white with red tile roofs -- I feel at home in this Mediterranean style. I didn't recognize most of the names of the wineries, but as we approached Vertheuil I saw large Rothschild facilities.

Vertheuil is very small and appears quiet. There is a post office (open in the mornings), a boulangerie and a tabac. One b&b. A nice square with a beautiful church. As with most French villages, everything appears to be abandoned in the afternoon. The sun is full and the shutters on the buildings are closed to keep out the heat of the midday.

We unloaded the car of all the groceries crammed into every corner of the car (France does not give you grocery bags) and went through the house, opening the shutters in all the bedrooms. Unlike the French, Patricia likes the air to flow through the house.

I toured the church and churchyard. A bit weird going into this large, empty church and, as I'm walking down the aisle, church music starts playing, echoing off the stone walls.

About 5pm the village starting waking up again. Went to the boulangerie for some pain, and had goat cheese and olives and bread and champagne on the patio, followed by dinner.

Ali has already started digging ditches along the edge of the enclosed garden -- this will be the major focus of our weekend.

There are 4 bedrooms in the house, so we each have our own large bed and room. Sounds like heaven, eh? Okay, there is 1 problem. You see, the house is RIGHT across from the church, which has nice LARGE church bells. A single gong on the half hour, plus the chiming of the hour. And I'm in one of the front bedrooms. Oh yes, and then there are the abbey bells. For some reason they are 3 minutes behind the church bells. So not only do you get the 12 gongs at midnight, you get them twice! Not a great sleep .....

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