Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, Oct 15th, Beaune


We woke up to a chilly fall morning in Beaune, France. It was windy and 4 degrees Celsius (43 farenheit). And I (dumbly) went out without a jacket. We headed to the center of town, and found Hotel Dieu. In 1443, the Duke of Burgundy decided that he might have an easier time getting into Heaven if he built a large hospital for those poor, dying souls (and bodies) in Burgundy. Everything that was built big in those days looked with like a church or a castle, so this is a little of both. It's main ward actually opens into a chapel so the dying could attend mass from their beds. But it also contains every painting and tapestry the Duke could get his hands on which paid his tribute to Heaven and it's gatekeepers.

Lately, it's been the location for the largest wine auction in the world, allowing modern-day wealthy to continue the patronage spirit.

After a picnic lunch at a newer castle (originally built in 1560, it was torn down in the Revolution and re-built 160 years ago), we took a long drive through the countryside of Burgundy. We found the Tonnellerie Francois Freres wine barrel factory, where I tried to photograph through a window the firing and banding of prime oak staves. Got some interesting reflections.

We're back at the hotel now, and will probably have dinner here. Last night, we walked across the street to the truck stop. The buffet for hors d'oerves, cheese, and dessert was not bad at all. The entrees featured duck, pork, beef, and lamb. But Pat and I were even more impressed by how social, civil, and cleaned up these guys were. I can't remember seeing this many single middle-aged men (straight!) being so friendly.


To see the photos we took today, click on:
Thurs, Oct 15th

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