A Night to Remember
Sometimes you have to sacrifice for a while in order to achieve what you have planned for. And so it goes for today. Having arrived at the San Jose International Airport three hours ahead of our flight as suggested in order to have time enough to get through the TSA security check, we boarded our plane and headed to Salt Lake City, Utah for the first leg of our journey. After an hour layover, we were on our way to Paris’s Charles De Gaulle International Airport.
In the news of late has been the contentious struggle in France between the major labor unions and the president and prime minister as a labor reform proposal that has been in the making for the last three years is about to become law. The result? France’s labor unions have been striking and marching for several weeks and many services (mostly in larger metropolitan cities) have been affected. So upon our arrival to Charles de Gaulle, we encountered one of the largest and busiest international airports in Europe to be virtually empty. And while we had only an hour layover before our connecting flight to Bordeaux, after boarding we sat on the tarmac and waited for more than two and a half hours before finally being cleared to take off. Seems that we got caught in the midst of the dispute which seems all too frequent in France. Add to that the bumper to bumper traffic we endured after we picked up our car in Bordeaux as we headed out to our weekend stay at the beautiful riverside Château Courtebotte less than an hour’s drive, we arrived more than three and a half hours late. We had dinner reservations at the chateau for which we were almost an hour late. So, we had accepted the fact that we might be going to bed not only exhausted from 14 plus hours of travel and only two hours of sleep, but that we would be going to bed hungry as well.
Ah… but thanks to the French custom of not having dinner until at least 8:00 p.m., we were able to join four other guests for drinks and appetizers. One of the joys of travel is meeting people from all over the world and this small group was no exception. One of the couples was from Australia, while the other was from England. Interestingly, overall, everyone was of like mind in that we shared similar opinions on a variety of topics. Our hostess who was French added another dimension to the conversation. We enjoyed exploring each other’s opinions as we sipped on a wonderful locally produced Crèmont wine and a light and tasty pastry consisting of many crisp layers topped with a light coating of powdered sugar and poppy seeds.
After an hour or so, we withdrew to the dining room where we started a wonderful meal with cream of zucchini soup and and fresh cantaloupe balls. This appetizer was enjoyed with a Bordeaux Blanc Sec white wine of excellent quality from the same winery. Next up was the main plate of chicken breast medallions in a delicious rosemary reduction sauce with fresh sautéed vegetables and a petite skewer of tiny finger potatoes and bacon. Following was a sampling of local goat and sheep cheese and fresh sliced country bread and a Bordeaux Superior Rouge wine that was decanted in what looked like a large glass goblet. For the finale, a serving of home made panna cotta topped with sweet fresh strawberries. Tiny demitasse cups of coffee and tea finished off the meal. And all during dinner, we continued a long and interesting conversation.