We discovered a few of the small villages within the southern Bordeaux area today. Our first stop was the Lillet distillery in Podensac. The large red & white building stood out amongst the other stores on the main street and has been there since 1872. We were welcomed right away and tasted two of the reserve aperitif bottles. We opted for the red which had a distinct flavor, different from any other aperitif we’d tried.
We continued driving through the countryside and taking pictures on our way to the village of Langon. We parked and walked around a bit. Next to the bakery was a store with a sign that said, Pate de Canard. We recognized the words as being foie gras (duck liver). We went inside to find shelves full of canned pate of different quality. Giff insisted on buying a couple of cans to taste. The thought of canned liver is not exactly appetizing to me but we have the pate now and at some point will pull it out to taste.
Leaving Langon, we drove towards Chateau Roquetaillade which we were told was one of the most famous château’s in this area and has been lived in by the same family for over 700 years. When we arrived, it was closed to the public for the day but we were able to see the outside and take some pictures.
It was near dinner time so we headed over to an old medieval town called, Bazas. There were several houses dating back to the 16th century and in the main square the large gothic cathedral stood out…it dated back to the 13th century. We walked through the small narrow streets looking in the windows of the closed boutiques before sitting down for dinner.
Let’s talk about this dinner we had…I think whenever one is going to criticize, we are supposed to give a compliment first correct? The owner whom didn’t speak a word of English was very friendly. The food however was, how do I put this…nasty. We had been told to go to this city specifically for a steak…that the Bazas cows were actually named after this town. We wanted to try the best steak in Bordeaux and this restaurant was recommended. The problem is that there was a set menu (which is quite common in restaurants of France) of three courses. The appetizer course was set up as a buffet…there were various dishes to taste. The table had things like canned beets, couscous, sliced ham, cold mussels in a red sauce etc. We forced a small amount down our throat not wanting to waste the food on our plate. The second course had three options…all in French. We recognized one option which was poulet (chicken), we didn’t come here for chicken so we ordered the two other dishes assuming one was a steak. The entrée arrived…Giff’s was a pork chili with french fries and mine was a thin pork chop drenched in butter (I am not using the word drenched lightly) and french fries. Now…the restaurant itself was cute with several small tables and pictures all over the walls of these Bazas cows. Why in the world was there no beef on the menu? Again, we forced a small amount of the food down before dessert. Dessert was a slice of hot apple pie without ice cream and a chocolate mousse.
We paid our bill and on the way out the owner asked that we taste his home-made rum…again very nice of him but after a small sip…not tasty.
We got back in our car to drive home…we debated on throwing up our food but didn’t.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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