By Don George
We cast off from Bordeaux at around 6:30 in the evening and, for three hours, we’ve been sailing up the Garonne River, past suburbs and then long stretches of lushly green, virtually unpeopled countryside. I’ve been absolutely mesmerized by the passing paysage; and not wanting to miss a minute of this visual moveable feast, I’ve indulged in ordering room service tonight. Now, I’m sitting on my stateroom verandah with my laptop, a scrumptious platter of six cheeses and a chilled glass of champagne on the table before me. I’m sipping and nibbling and tapping on my keyboard as the landscape of Bordeaux slides by, all round green trees and rolling vineyards. Dusk, the most magical time of day for me, descends even as I tap; and as we pass a chateau, lights come on like magic, illuminating interior rooms and framing a grand driveway.
Soon, a sky-poking church steeple appears, and around it a cluster of graceful stone homes and lights suddenly pinprick here and there within them and outside them as we approach. Next, I see a long row of stone structures that culminates in an outdoor terrace, which is illuminated by a rectangle of high-strung lights. Suddenly, the faint lilt of festive music wafts over the water, an aural enchantment, and I imagine the couples and families sitting on that terrace, sipping champagne and nibbling on cheese. And, transported unexpectedly by a bridge of bonhomie, I raise my flute in a dusky toast (as I imagine my terraced friends raising theirs) to the bounties of beautiful Bordeaux.