Thursday, August 9, 2012

Running in Bordeaux

Running this week...
Monday: 8.25 miles, slow & hilly
Tuesday: swim 2 km
Wednesday: 8.27 miles with 5.27 at solid tempo pace
Thursday: 8.28 miles, slow and hilly

It's still central TX, so it is still hot & humid every morning, making me a hot sweaty mess <1 mile in.  Running with a water belt is definitely helpful this time of year, although I do not like the added weight.  Without it though, I really can't do more than a couple of miles.

Last post, I talked about running in Biarritz, France.  After finishing my conference in Biarritz, I met up with Boyfriend and we traveled around a bit together.  Because of the timing of flights from TX to Paris, and the train schedule, we were unable to meet up until two days after my conference finished.  So, I had some extra time and decided to visit the city of Bordeaux in southwestern France.  Why Bordeaux?  Well, all the high speed trains to Paris from Biarritz pass through Bordeaux, so it was a convenient stop over point.  Plus, as one of the largest cities in France with a rich history (mostly related to wine), I knew it would be interesting enough to pass a day.  I should mention that I speak French conversationally, so traveling by myself is not a problem!
Checking out the wine museum in Bordeaux, France
In retrospect, more time would have been very nice and I would like to go back so I could visit the vineyards and surrounding countryside.  The city was pretty, but mostly monuments, shopping, parks and history.  I only got to taste a little wine because it was a Friday afternoon and that is not a good tasting day (a lot of places were closed).

Basilica St. Michel

Fountain at Place des Quinconces

Suddenly, I was in LA!

The cathedral

So after arriving by train, I checked into my hotel (an Accor right by the train station) and set off on foot to explore the city & find food.  Fortunately, the weather was beautiful, sunny and clear skies but not too warm.  I covered a lot of ground, and even though the city has a light rail, I managed on foot, which was good because I was going to be spending plenty of time on trains.

I had some great food while I was there!  I had lunch at Viva Las Vegans, which is a vegan/vegetarian cafe in the old, pedestrian section of the city.  For dinner, I had Thai at a little corner shop that was so tiny but the food was fresh and excellent.  This choice was pretty spontaneous because I was really hungry and tired, but none of the other restaurants were going to open for dinner before 7:30pm, which is very typical of the French!

After a full day, I headed back to my hotel before dark (I was by myself after all), and got up bright and early the next morning for a run before catching the train to Paris.  Bordeaux is situated along the Garonne river, which I could see from my hotel, so naturally I ran along the river.  I like running along waterways, especially in new cities, because it reduces the likelihood that I will get lost.  Often, they have great trails/walkways as well.  I was a little disappointed by my run though, as the pathways along the river only stretched for about 2 miles on either side.  As I was aiming for 7 miles, it made things a little repetitive.  I prefer to just keep going a long ways in one direction.  Nonetheless, I did enjoy crossing the beautiful Pont Pierre several times.

Pont Pierre over the Garonne (full disclosure, not my picture)
I noticed many others out for a run, which was nice, and probably not atypical of a Saturday morning in France.  After my run, I cleaned up and headed to the train station for the trip to Paris.  I enjoyed my brief visit to Bordeaux, but intend to come back again to fully enjoy this wine region.  I think the best way to see it is with a rental car.  I can only imagine the beautiful running in the countryside...

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