Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beloved Bordeaux

Day 44, Yo Bordeaux
by Shana

Our last morning in Paris had arrived and we were ready to start our next adventure. But not before crossing off a few more to-dos. Our first stop was Notre Dame where we snapped some shots and walked around it for a bit. Our next stop was to get the "best ice-cream in Paris" at Berthillon. Jerrad read on a few websites that there were multiple places that sold Berthillon ice-cream, but that there was only one primary store which had a wider variety of flavors. We passed by a few "BERTHILLON ICE-CREAM RIGHT HERE YOU FOOLS" signs, but we knew better and avoided them. We arrived at the primary location and did our best impression of the sad Charlie Brown walk; it was closed. Womp womp. So we headed back in the other direction and picked up some Berthillon ice-cream at one of the other locations. Jerrad was super sad because they were all out of whisky flavor. We settled for salted caramel and white chocolate and went on our merry way.
We got back to the Airbnb for some final packing and tidying up. We said farewell to Paris and hopped on our last metro rides. Our final metro experiences were our favorite. A man with an accordion and kid with a tambourine walked into the same car as us and started playing a fantastic song. After tipping them, we had to make a transfer and hopped on our last metro... where another accordion player was serenading everyone. It was a wonderful send off to a wonderful week in Paris.
We hopped on a train and in the blink of an eye (if you count a 5 hour nap as a blink) we were in Bordeaux. We were greeted by our Couchsurfing host, Nadia. A little backstory of how we met Nadia; a few months ago East Side Bride posted photos from our wedding, along with a blurb about how we would be traveling in Europe for our honeymoon. Luckily Nadia read East Side Bride, because when she saw our post she emailed me offering her couch to us if we happened to pass through Bordeaux. Jerrad and I hadn't initially planned to, but we jumped at the opportunity and added Bordeaux to our list of places to visit. We were originally going to stay a few nights with Nadia, but when we told her we had two open weeks with nothing planned she told us to stay with her. Again, we jumped at the opportunity. After a few emails we already knew we would like Nadia. So, back to the story. Nadia met us at the train station and we all walked back to her flat on Rue St. James; aka the best street ever. The walk back made us feel like we were on a movie set. All of the buildings we walked by were beautiful and they were lined with cute shops and delicious smelling restaurants. We walked by about 3 sneaker shops in 5 minutes, so Jerrad was a happy guy.
After we unloaded our overpacked backpacks we got ready to head back out again. Nadia introduced us to her friends, Fran├žois and Gaelle. Our first stop of the night was to pick up some pizza. Super thoughtful Nadia picked all vegetarian options, even though everyone else ate meat. We got margarita, four cheese and a vegetarian one (with veggies and egg). The five of us headed to a nice spot in the gardens, overlooking the river. Even though it was a busy time of night, our picnic felt really excluded since we were sitting behind some tall flowers. We all shared the pizzas, some wine and fruit (yes, mom, I'm eating fruits and vegetables).
After chatting for a bit we decided to walk towards the mirror fountain - miroir d'eau. It's called the mirror fountain because every 15 minutes the water level drops and the reflection off of the granite creates a mirror. Then it mists, creating a fog up to 2 meters high. Finally, it fills back up with 2 inches of water. All of which creates a really beautiful, fun experience. The fountain was originally built as a work of art, which apparently cost millions of dollars to build. Once it was built, children (and adults) couldn't be kept from playing on it (because it's seriously fun to run around on). So it was decided that it would more of a "hands on" piece of art. As we were all admiring the beautiful structure we saw some children playing and kicked around something. Then we noticed  the little boy with his pants down. And then we realized the thing being kicked around was a "baby ruth". And just when we thought it couldn't get worse, the little boy decided he wasn't done using the $5,000,000 art toilet so he spray farted in the general direction of the other little children playing. We looked around for the child's parents and spotted his father motioning to the child to come towards him. The child pulled up his pants, walked towards his dad and they both peacefully strolled off as if nothing had happened. To be fair, the child was young enough to not completely understand what he did (but, like, right on the cusp of it). But the father? A GROWN MAN JUST LET HIS SON POOP IN A FOUNTAIN WITH OTHER CHILDREN RUNNING AROUND AND DIDN'T CLEAN IT UP. Nadia, being the super thoughtful person she is, decided it was wrong to have children prancing around in a fecal fountain so she took a plastic bag out of her purse and cleaned up the child's art contribution. She later said she only did this because she knew she had hand sanitizer in her bag. We later decided she should have taken the doo-doo bag and returned it to the father.
After walking to the opposite corner of the fountain we took a few photos and enjoyed the view for a bit more. We were all ready for our next stop; a free concert during the Festival Relache. We walked for about 30 or so minutes and ended up at an outdoor arena with loud reggae-type music, tons of kids, art sculptures and beer/food stands. It was fantastic to just sit back and enjoy the whole thing. After having a beer, meeting up with more of Nadia's friends, playing on the art sculpture and people watching we called it a night and headed back home. It was a pretty damn good first night in Bordeaux.


our hidden garden picnic spot

picnic friends

mirror fountain

stolen photo by Nadia

free concert party thing

The great Nadia

random guy that wanted a photo with Jerrad

swamp art

swing art

Day 45, Beachdeaux
By Shana

Our second day in Bordeaux was just as magical as the first. We even woke up early - excelsior! Nadia snuck out early and picked up some freshly made morning pastries (viennoiseries) for us to eat. We shared a croissant, pain aux raisin, a chocolatine and some scrambled eggs. Nadia mentioned it was going to be a very hot day and that we should head to the beach to cool off. No arm twisting was involved.
We hopped on a bus and two hours later we arrived in Lacanau, a lovely beach town. Lacanau is a popular surfing spot and an ASP World Tour stop, so it was pretty crowded with lots of people, shops and delicious food options. We grabbed some paninis and headed towards the water to snack. We slathered ourselves with SPF and put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean which was extremely cold. It took me a while to immerse myself, but once my skin was frozen and numb from the water I was jumping into waves and snorting salt water. We were having a grand ol' time, until we noticed the tide rose quickly and our pile of stuff looked close to the water. We got out to check on our stuff and surely enough everything was covered in sandy wetness. After realizing our phones were ok we quickly got over it (by eating some condolence ice-cream) and set our stuff out in the sun to dry. Once everything was dry enough, we packed up and caught a bus back to Bordeaux.
After showering and getting the sand out of butt cracks we waited for Nadia to get home so we could shovel more food down our gullets. We were in the mood for asian food and luckily Nadia lives near everything you could want. We walked about 2 minutes and arrived at Pitaya, a yummy thai restaurant. We shared a thai salad, sie yai and pad thai. Everything was delicious but the sie yai was the best (I'm craving it as I type right now). After our savory dinner we needed something sweet so we headed to a cute ice-cream shop called Frozen Palace. They had out of the ordinary flavors so I made sure to try something different. Jerrad got salted caramel & mangue, Nadia got salted caramel & yuzu (an East Asian citrus fruit) and I got framboise verveine (raspberry verbena) and lavender. I've never realized how much I enjoy eating floral flavored things.
We walked around eating the ice-cream and enjoying the beautiful weather. Luckily Nadia was into taking silly photos, so we didn't annoy her when we wanted to stop and have a photo shoot. After wandering through narrow streets and taking tons of photos, we headed home. We got back to the flat where we shared a bit of music and Nadia showed us funny music videos (my favorite:


it got me.

it was cold.

trying to dry our stuff

sie yai <3

honeymoon food (and new dress from Nadia!)

cute table in Nadia's flat


  1. I love Nadia. She is my favorite "character" so far!!!

    1. haha we think she's pretty neat too! Her character will definitely make some more appearances.

  2. Nadia is the bomb! And so warm, silly and generous, too. A lot like you 2. Love the fog, food and beach photos. Cute dress she gave you, too. You make traveling sound easy and enjoyable. Have a great 2 weeks!