August 15, 2005

August 12 -- Domaine du Viala, Paraza France

This morning's news had word of the British Airways strike at Heathrow. Luckily we are flying Iberia to Heathrow tomorrow, then United out to San Francisco on Sunday.

This morning began (after my 1km trip to the village epicerie to pick up our bread, croissants, and pain au chocloats) with a tour Regis's vineyards. Pat Houston and I climbed into the back of an old Land Rover without a roof to drive through the vineyards. We would stop at different points and Regis would explain different things. Regis is proud of what he has done with his land, and he is proud of France--all with good reason.

Two points stood out. The first was in his oldest vineyard (about 80 years old). Every so often among the grenache grapes would be a white grape vine. Those would be planted so that the pickers could have something refreshing to eat while working in the hot fields. The second interesting point was when Regis told us it took him a whole month in the winter to trim the vines-WORKING FOUR HOURS A DAY! These French don't have it so rough.

After the tour we all went to the beach which is about 30 minutes away. A broad sand beach loaded with French on their August vacations. About 10% of the women are topless which was a treat for the boys. And there were a few women that were a treat for the dads as well.

We had dinner in the village. Sitting with great friends outside under the lighted trees with a warm breeze blowing. It doesn't get a whole lot better. Tomorrow we begin our trip home by driving to Barcelona, then flying to London for the night. Work is only a couple of days away.


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