Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our trip to Bordeaux (part 2 of our European vacation)

The second half of our European vacation was spent in Bordeaux.  This happens to be one of my favorite cities!  It's known as the little Paris-all the beauty, excitement and diversity without all of the crowds.  It is located in southwestern France and is a port city on the Garonne. It's known for the Gothic Cathedrale-St Andre-one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

For part of the trip we stayed in city central on Cours du Marechal Juin.  Our room was super tiny but had all we needed, almost.  A bed, a fold out sofa, mini fridge, TV and bathroom.  After the first night of burning up, we realized it did not have AC.  (Bordeaux is pretty warm and humid this time of year).  We tied the window open, but were kept awake by the sirens going off all night.(we were right across the street from the Sapeurs Pompiers-the fire dept and just down the street from the hospital)  I had earplugs, but my girls didn't.

Our first evening there we just walked and walked!  Did I mention how beautiful this city is???  I love the architecture and the cobblestone walkways.  Every meal we ate outdoors.  It was just too pretty to be inside.

Right behind our hotel was the Hypermarche @ Meriadeck (the huge grocery store!).  I forgot to tell you that we first visited Bordeaux 10 years ago.  We stayed in a little apartment.  The grocery store was one of my favorite places.  It's not your typical store.  Not only are there all kinds of food, but cosmetics,  home goods and even books.  We bought items to stock our mini fridge, souvenirs for us and our friends and even some French books to place on our book shelves.

Another favorite place of ours was Gambetta Park.  Imagine a tiny central park.  Just a lovely place to stop for a picnic or a much needed break.

We had met a girl in Huemoz (from Australia) who happened to be living in Bordeaux going to the university.  She offered to hang out with us and give us a tour.  We met at our hotel and walked to the river- Port de la Lune where we all played in the shallow pool of water.  We then walked to the Palais-Galltien (Roman ruins-a former amphitheater) .  After 8 miles of walking at site seeing, we made it back to our hotel.  We went to dinner at Le Comptoir.  Busy, but pretty good food.

The next day we went to an outdoor market at cathedral square.  One stand was selling oysters, another eggs and spices, meat, flowers and pasteries.  I bought 6 small canneli for 3 euros.  This is the typical Bordeaux dessert.  So good!

For lunch we walked to Le Grand Cafe.  I had a fabulous salad with  smoked salmon, boiled shrimp, a small scoop of chicken salad, lettuce, arugula, tomatoes all covered with a citrus dressing.  So good!  There was a French couple beside us who struck up a conversation.  They even gave Emma their creme brule!

The next few days were not exactly as fun filled.  Our real reason for visiting Bordeaux was for my daughter to have a heart procedure.  We moved to a hotel a little south of Bordeaux in Pessac.  For the next 4 days, we stayed here and walked the 20 minutes back and forth to the hospital.  Grace was admitted to the hospital, had her procedure and discharged a few days later.

You may ask why we came so far for health care.  Well, my husband has been here twice.  Theses doctors are the best in world when it comes to these heart issues.  To top it off, it's much cheaper here.  Also they are so thorough.  In the states, you'd have the procedure and go home the same day.  Here, you stay for 4 days.  Beforehand you have tons of lab work, an EKG and a CAT scan.  Afterwards you have an ECHO, and a stress text.  None of these things would be done at home.  We felt that Grace was well taken care of here.  Plus, the doctors are so personable.  Grace's cardiologist spent so much time with her.  She even gave us her personal number and email.  How many times do we get that in the US?

Grace has a 2% chance of this reoccurring.  my husband on the other hand, will have issues all of his life.  Chances are we'll be back in Bordeaux again. If we have to be in a hospital, I can't think of a better place!   Until next time!

My next post will show you how to pack in a carry on for a three week trip abroad!

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