Agi and I returned to Budapest on Sunday after three and a half superb days in Bordeaux, France. We always suspected that living in Hungary would allow us to take short, inexpensive flights in the "off" season to spectacular places in Europe. Bordeaux delivered big-time.
This city is known for its red-wine of course and it's located fairly close to Spain. It had a pleasant, warm climate and was a bit more humid than Napa. It is a college town--with at least three big universities--and so there were lots of students from all over the world riding bikes and studying in cafes.
Bordeaux is a UNESCO world heritage city in large part because of its amazing 18th-century architecture and downtown. When Victor Hugo visited he apparently fell in love with the city's architecture and atmosphere. I fell in love with their "Jardin Publique" (public garden). It's the most beautiful park that I've ever seen. It was like a small-scale Central Park in NYC but with more scenic architecture and a beautiful pond and small river with lots of swans and fish.
I was also very impressed with the French people. France consistently appears on the top of lists of countries with the highest quality of life. The French are also outliving everyone and have the longest life expectancy in the world. I appreciated how polite everyone was and when we went into a shop, cafe or restaurant we were always greeted with a sincere and rather enthusiastic "Bonjour Monsieur--Bonjour Madame." What we don't understand, however, is how they get away with smoking so much! They smoked like it was going out of style. Non merci.
Agi and I had a lot of fun meeting up with two friends from California- Alex and April. They're HP employees who had a conference in Bordeaux and are actually the reason we went out to this beautiful place to begin with. It was great cruising the streets with them and we did a winery tour together on Saturday.
Agi and I have found that traveling and seeing a new place is always worth the time and energy to make it happen. We've also learned how to cut down on costs and so we avoid nice dinners and instead hit lots of little grocery stores and make breakfast in our own room each morning if possible. (Getting a kitchenette is the way to go).
We are heading to the airport today for our big trip back to the US, where we'll be through January. So far our mobile lifestyle has been working well.