35 Bordeaux 2015
Home Up


Rick Archer's Note:  Marla has been one of the top producers for Viking River Cruises.  In each of her three trips, Marla has booked between 20 and 30 guests.  This is an almost unheard of number of passengers.

Seeing how the Christmas Season is pretty slow, Viking offered Marla a free cruise as a reward for her hard work.  So Marla and I took a pleasant trip to Bordeaux, the legendary wine region in the south of France about a week before Christmas 2015. 

Sad to say, two weeks before our scheduled trip, Paris suffered a terrible terrorist attack.  Fear was rampant throughout the world.  However, we didn't let that stop us.  Not only did we go through with our trip to Bordeaux, a relatively safe area, we also spent two very wonderful days in Paris after our stay in southern France.

On a controversial note, quite a few travelers have expressed to Marla their reluctance to return to Europe in the near future.  I can certainly understand why people would have their reservations... especially after the Brussels airport and subway bombings.  These areas were deliberately targeted to give tourists a second thought about visiting Europe.

It is really a shame what fear does to people.  In short order, Marla received trip cancellations from over a dozen people.  Because I readily admit the risk factor seems higher, it is certainly not my place to question their decisions. 

All I can say is that both Marla and I do not believe the danger is that high.  We have taken two trips since the Paris attacks and not once have we ever felt in danger.

It really is a shame how badly the terrorism has disrupted the much-needed tourism in Europe.  Viking is currently struggling to fill its ships due to the fear factor.  Hopefully there will be no more further incidents and people's optimism will return soon. 


I might add that we clearly benefitted from our courage.  I have a rule that I have always lived by... Go the opposite direction of the masses

Never before have I seen this policy pay off as well as it did on this trip.  For example, we received a wonderful private tour through Paris.  There were supposed to be ten people in our van.  So why were we alone?  Our guide explained that the other eight tourists had cancelled due to the terrorist attacks.  So we made friends with our guide and saw everything we ever wanted to see. 

In addition, we received an unexpected chance to eat lunch at the Eiffel Tower.  Previously Marla had inquired only to be told there were no reservations to be had.  On a hunch, she checked back after the Paris attacks.  

Oui, mademoiselle, we have openings."

All in all, our trip to Paris after the river cruise was a very pleasant trip.  We saw Notre Dame, we visited the Eiffel Tower, and we took a riverboat trip down the Seine River.


Marla and I had an absolute blast visiting Paris.  We walked all over the city together.  During our walk, I received a fun reward. 

As we wandered around, we stumbled upon a photo shoot involving Iris Mittenaere, 22, the reigning Miss France 2016.

As I raised my camera, the lovely Ms. Mittenaere smiled at me.  I melted on the spot.  I was about to say hi, but some grouch immediately intervened and told me to get lost pronto.  C'est la vie.  


The jerk on the left had the nerve to tell me to erase my 'illegal' pictures

I decided to keep my two pictures of the lovely Miss France


All About Wine


Rick's Note:
  According to Viking, the stated purpose of this trip was to bring people who love wine to one of the most important wine growing regions in the world.  It is almost impossible to explain just how passionate some of our fellow passengers were about wine. 

Perhaps these lovely pictures will help express just how important wine is to the Bordeaux region of southern France. 

Wine is literally their lifeblood and their lifestyle as well.


The Gironde River


Rick's Note:
I hate to be blunt, but the Gironde River was not very pretty.  Perhaps some of the blame can be attributed to winter, but something was definitely missing.  It didn't take long for Marla and I to conclude this trip was about the wine, not the river.

The Bordeaux Christmas Market

Rick's Note:
  Although Paris was the unquestioned highlight of our trip, our second favorite moment was spending an entire afternoon at this magical Christmas Market in Bordeaux.  Marla and I fell in love with everything!  The only thing that kept us from spending thousands of dollars was the lack of room in our suitcases.  As it was, we both bought a hat.  And we both bought presents for our daughters.

I am unable to express just how precious this place was, but I was in awe of how attractive the items were.  I can see now why France is considered the world center for fashion and culture.  France has a sense of style superior to any other place I have ever been.  No doubt about it.  Perhaps these pictures will help convey just how lovely and colorful everything was.


Odds and Ends


Marla at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant

Rick and Irwin having dinner at a Bordeaux chateau


Rick and Marla at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant

Christmas in Paris


Map and Itinerary of Bordeaux 2015

SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ