France - Bonding in Burgundy
It has been over a decade since my brother and I have traveled together, just the two of us. Everyday life gets so busy, time passes and you don't get to spend as much time with those closest to you. While I was saddened to leave our parents for their Mediterranean cruise, I was looking forward to spending time with my brother in our favorite country. Off to Burgundy we go.
We took a train from Marseille to Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France. Our true destination was The Hungry Cyclist Lodge in Auxey-Duresses. My brother had met a British chap, Tom, on a trip to South America in two thousand and seven. Tom was on a bike tour from New York City in America to Rio de Jeneiro in Brazil, which took about two and a half years. He wrote a book, I just finished it and I highly recommend it, very inspiring (The Hungry Cyclist by Tom Kevill-Davies). At the same time Tom was on his tour, my brother was on a climbing tour in South America before his bike tour in Europe. They have kept in touch over the years and he opened a cycling lodge in Auxey-Duresses. We decided to pay a visit and stay at the lodge for two nights. I wasn't sure what to expect, I have never stayed in a lodge or bed and breakfast before but I knew my brother was looking forward to it. The lodge was lovely and very cozy. About ten minutes by car outside of Beaune in a quiet village of three hundred surrounded by wineries, gardens and a babbling stream, the setting was perfect. In addition to the perfect setting, the lodge has two kitty's, I was a happy girl. The fortieth adventure up to this point had been very busy and exhausting, I couldn't think of a better place to rest.
There was a mother/daughter duo from Australia at the lodge as well. Tom cooked us dinner that evening and the meal was fantastic. Everything was so fresh, a few things came from his garden, some items were local and all of the flavors were delightful. During our travels in France, I would consistently take a sip of each glass of wine that my brother was having. I had yet to find a wine I liked enough to have a full glass of, until dinner that evening. At the lodge you can find The Thirsty Cyclist wine, which has the most delicious Chardonnay. It was the perfect mix of sweet and dry. It was the first full glass of wine I have ever had in France. Merci!
The next day, they all went on a bike ride and I stayed at the lodge to do some trip planning, reading, writing and kitty cuddling. With the train strikes, I had to come up with another way to Colmar and book our apartment in Paris on our last evening. I realized we could rent a car, which was cheaper than the train and we could drop it off when we reached Colmar. Crisis averted.
When my brother returned from his ride, we ventured into Beaune. When we first arrived to Beaune the day prior, we walked down the street and I told my brother I would move to Beaune one day. I'm not sure what prompted that reaction, maybe because it reminded me a little of Saint-Malo. Like all of France, it has cute cafes, shops and streets. We wanted to see the Hospices de Beaune but it was closed when we arrived to town. We decided we would visit the next day before our drive to Colmar. We walked around and went to a cute cafe for dinner. I enjoyed our evening in Beaune and look forward revisiting one day.
The next day, my brother went for another ride before we would get the rental car and travel to Colmar. I had a splendid morning at the lodge and was able to take my time. Breakfast each day had been an enjoyable array of coffee, jams, croissants, bread, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. It was all fantastic and I didn't want to leave.
Once we were packed up and ready to go, Tom took us to the car rental. We got our car and went back into Beaune to see the hospice and have lunch. Until the beginning of this year, I had worked in hospice and did so for eighteen years, now I am in hospitality. Seeing the Hospices de Beaune which was a hospital for the poor built in fourteen forty three was special. The architecture was very different and beautiful, unlike anything I have ever seen. Seeing the building from the exterior, I would not think it was a place to take care of the sick, destitute and dying. I can't imagine the stories in the rooms of the Hospices de Beaune. After our visit, we went to a creperie and had a delicious lunch while a sweet older man played guitar for all those around him to enjoy. Then we stopped for a pastry and cafe. Life in France is good.
We were off to our next destination by car, I was looking forward to the drive. It's funny that when I first arrived to Burgundy I really felt I had come for my brother. I thought that I would have a nice time because I was in France and that my time here would be okay, as it turned out this place had somehow opened a door to a world of new possibilities for me. I find myself wondering if I indeed may find myself living here one day, even for just a period of time.
If you are interested in learning more about The Hungry Cyclist, please visit http://www.thehungrycyclist.com/home.