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Saturday, August 1, 2009

How I'm spending my summer vacation

As I said elsewhere, Bacchus is back from Tournon, on the Rhone, just above Valence, and in the Massif Central.
We stayed in the municipal campsite right next to the river. (I hate hotels ; they are so... PROVINCIAL, and I am a cheapskate and an orang outang : I need much space between me and my neighbor, with a tad of green thrown in. Like many other French people, by the way. French camping is much more laid back than American. In many places, you drive in, find a spot, (not materialized with concrete, or anything like that..., and pitch the tent. Where there's room.)
Tournon is a very interesting place. On the economic line, it is a corridor for mucho fluvial transportation, and we were somewhat put out by the American, Dutch, or German cruise ships that travel up the Rhone from Marseille or Arles, continuing on the Saone when the Rhone becomes unnavigable. (By the way, Thai, you should consider one of those tempting cruises for your next medical convention ; they are pie in the sky, and a very nice way to visit France. Very expensive, surely, but VERY VERY nice, and original...)
There is a castle that dates from the 1400's, and there has been a religious presence (essentially Catholic) in Tournon dating from before, and extending to this day. Religious revival is in full swing in Tournon, by the way...
Tournon is home to the Valrhona chocolate factory where they are incredibly generous with their samples, and you can get an excellent idea just how really SHITTY American chocolate is (sorry you guys, the U.S. has good wine now, but good chocolate, the country has light years in front of it to catch up with France...) We came away with some of the most original stuff I've ever seen : 70 % cocoa chocolate flavored with spices like pepper (remember, like the Incas used to do it, or was it the Aztecs ? I've always been hopeless with history, get it all mixed up.)
And for the wine : four grands crus, as we say : Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St Joseph, and Cornas.
The white wine is nothing to get excited about in my book, but the red wines, MIAMMMMMMM.
We were served by a wine taster who was very generous and helpful, and I must say that I am getting much better all the time at sticking representations on what I'm drinking, and believe you me, it's not a piece of cake.
By the way, that's a real challenge : finding the words to talk about tastes and odors. Not so easy, heh ?


SS said...

Welcome back, if you have a minute look back to my vote for France or USA comment. I lay out some of the choice items offered by each culture. I feel only you are qualified to actually make this choice.

@ Dink
I am unable to post to the blog; apparently my permission has expired. Please renew. Thanks.


Debra said...

I have answered you on your original post. Go through the motions carefully on the blog ; I can still post, I don't understand why YOU can't. Blogger can be... CAPRICIOUS, though.

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