Wow, I've gotten a bit behind here. Well I'll take this opportunity to catch you up. Mostly I've just been doing school (gets busier and busier every week), with a little reading, knitting, and movie watching on the side. I won't write about all that though, I'll just write about the more interesting things I've been up to.
Saturday November 3, I went on a wine tasting tour with the Xchange student group. The email I received said to be at the train station at 11:20. I arrived about 11:15, and I then realized that the train to the city we were going was departing at 11:20. It was like 11:18 when I arrived at the platform, and I couldn't find anyone I recognized. I figured they must be on the train already. Since my passage had been purchased with the group, I didn't have an actual ticket, and thus couldn't get on the train. The train left, and I was disappointed, but not too bad, because I had only paid 5 francs (about $4.50). I thought maybe I could just take the next train, but I didn't know where to go after I got to the town, so I decided not to do that. So, since I was already at the station and ready to go, I just decided I would take the train someplace else. I watched a guy playing a harp for a while, then I was going to the entry of the station to buy a ticket. When I got to the entrance, I saw someone I recognized! The group hadn't left yet, 11:20 was the meeting time, not the departing time. The train next left at 11:48.
It was a really fun day. Yeah, I paid 5 francs for my passage and everything I ate and drank all day. At the beginning, everyone received a wine glass, and that was the entrance ticket. I might have visited like a dozen or more "caves" or cellars. I won't lie, I drank a bit too much wine. I wasn't like, falling on the floor drunk, but I was definitely feeling the effects of the alcohol a little bit. I really had now idea what my limit was, and the proprietors just kept bringing the wine. At the last few places, I didn't drink anything. I also made a point to drink water periodically and eat too.
There were so many delicious things to eat. For the most part, everyplace had something to eat. I had several kinds of soup, including pumpkin, carrot, and leek (not all the same soup). I also had cheese, bread, a bit of chocolate, roasted chestnuts (fantastic), little pastries, and mini-sandwiches. Each thing was small, but the grand total was quite a bit. And it was all free!
The specialty of the tour was tasting the Borru, or the new wine. Since the grapes were just recently harvested, the wine has only been fermenting for about 3 weeks. They let people taste the borru and explained the processes a bit. It was kind of carbonated and acidic, interesting to try, but not something you'd really want to serve. White wines are the speciality of that region, but there were also quite a few red wines. I also tasted "ice wine," which is a dessert wine. It was a very sweet white wine that is served chilled. It was alright, but it was a bit too sweet for me.
So this may sound strange, but I think my French improved after I'd had a few glasses of wine. I told this to a Canadian guy I met, he said it was probably because I was more relaxed and confident. He also said my cheeks were rosy. That's when I realized that maybe I should hold back. I wasn't trashed, I just realized that if I were to drink much more, I probably would be, and I didn't want to get to that point. I hope you all don't think less of me for this, or think less of my morals or principles or anything like that. It was a neat and educational experience in a safe environment. I learned a lot about wine as well my alcohol tolerance, but I don't plan to do it too often though.