Thank goodness no wine tasting today!! This morning was spent on a scenic drive around Blaye. Blaye is a small town on the Dordogne River that has a high limestone cliff behind it on which a Citadel was built in the late 1600's. On the opposite side of the cliff there is a narrow road between the GirondEstuary and the cliff. The earlier settlers for this area used the natural cliffs formed in the limestone for living caves. As the years went by and houses were built, they were built right into the cliff and some where built in front of the caves so they could be used as storage.
After driving around the cliff, we went to the top of it where most of the Citadelle de Blaye still remains. It was heavily fortified with 4 half moon walls with dry moats between them and turrets where guards could fire at intruders without being exposed. With the steep limestone cliff on the other side of the half moons, the fortress was never invaded.
After walking down the cliff to the village of Blaye, we had free time to explore the weekly farmer's market. There were lovely flowers, vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, olives and the best of all – fresh strawberries that smelled so good!! They had a very sweet, strawberry odor that you could smell from several feet away.
At 12:45, the boat sailed on to the smaller village of Bourg where we had a walking tour. The main part of town is on top of a fairly steep hill. We had to climb up steps (steep, worn and many!!) and a ramp to get to the main street. It originated as a roman settlement and some of the buildings in the town are from the 1400's. It only has a population of 2,000 – most of who work away from the village so it was very deserted. No shops and only 2 small cafes were open. But the weather was perfect and the stroll back to the boat was nice.
As we ate yet another delicious meal, we sailed on down the Dordogne to Libourne where we will dock for the next two nights. So much fresh air and walking called for an early night tonight as we have a full day tomorrow tasting more wine!!