A Warm Welcome to France

It appears that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has recently merged with AirFrance. Clue 1: Boarding our connecting flight to Bordeaux in Amsterdam, we noticed that in addition to the KLM logo, the AirFrance logo was also painted on the plane. Clue 2: Dale’s luggage didn’t show up at the airport when we landed, and though both legs of our journey had been on KLM flights, in Bordeaux we were told that we had to contact AirFrance to find out why Dale’s backpack wasn’t on the plane with us.

But temporarily losing Dale’s luggage really has been just a minor inconvenience (easy for me to say, my backpack arrived). AirFrance gave Dale a “Welcome to France” bag with a tooth brush, tooth paste and a T-shirt in it and it’s sunny and warm here in the Médoc region of France, so she only needs to do a little clothes shopping to hold her over until her bag shows up.

But, I have to say that we wouldn’t be so cheery about the situation, if not for the help of our home exchange host, Nico.

Nico met us at the airport and helped us navigate through the process of tracking our lost baggage with AirFrance. Then he drove us to his home in Bordeaux (where we’ll be staying for a couple weeks, starting next week) to meet his wife, Sandrine, and their daughter, Marie (son, Leo, wasn’t home). Marie’s birthday is coming up, so we brought her an advance birthday gift.

After showing us around their Bordeaux home, Nico handed me the keys to his MG convertible and we followed him 60 miles through the vineyards of the Médoc…

…to their beach house in the little village of Grayan-et-l’Hôpital where we’re staying this week while they’re still at home in Bordeaux before leaving to stay in our house for the rest of July.

The house in Grayan is terrific. Here’s the view from outside.

It’s a very comfortable place, open and airy with a great deck for reading and dining al fresco…

…or indoors, if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

And there’s lots of comfortable lounging around furniture inside,…

…and a nice kitchen for Dale to hone her culinary skills…

…while I’m working on my racing technique, but with the top down.

Sunday afternoon traffic returning to Bordeaux from the coast looked pretty heavy, as you can see in the photo of the vineyards, above, as we drove in the opposite direction. So, while waiting for traffic to subside, Nico had dinner with us at the local “Relax Café.” It was great being able to spend some time getting to know Nico; we hope he and his family enjoy the Keys as much as I know we’re going to enjoy France!

This afternoon, Monday, after learning that Dale’s luggage had still not been located, we decided to head over to see the local beach.

It will be a fun place to relax and explore. There are still a number of German coastal defense structures from WWII up and down the beach.

After checking out the nearby beach, we drove 6 miles north along the coast to the popular tourist beach town of Soulac-sur-Mer where we had lunch, found an ATM, and then walked the pedestrian shopping street, looking for a dress and bathing suit for Dale – that’s all she’ll need for now.

When we got back to Grayan there was an email from Nico that Dale’s luggage had been located back in Copenhagen, the origination of our journey, where it had been detained in merger limbo. The news was that it should be on a plane to Bordeaux tonight and delivered to us in Grayan Tuesday afternoon.

I guess we won’t have to check into Euronat, the nudist camp down by the beach, after all.

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