Beaune idle and wining
So I bumbled along westward, away from the rather flat countryside and distinctly alpine-flavoured architecture north east of Lyon, and that night ended up in medieval Beaune. I found a likely hotel with restaurant and parking, ate, showered, watched Dora the Exploratrice, read and slept. In the morning, along with the joy of sunshine outside, I jumped into the car and thought I'd explore this bit of France. Shame I didn't walk - the hotel as I discovered way after I'd left Beaune was opposite the old bit of the town .... oh well, another time?
So that day I found the wine route - winding through famous name vineyards along the hills overlooking the motorway in the valley. Please dont ask me the names of the grand crus - but they're the biggies of Burgundy. If I look them up, I might post them here. I did think of a wine buff friend of mine who wouldn't have been able to trundle past without stopping to degust but I later found out he'd done this trip once anyway. Each vineyard has its own chateau, or big(gish) house, so surrounded by rows of vines in that priceless soil, that not even space for a garden is permitted. A few tubs, a stone terrace - that's all.
Later in the day, by now north west of Lyon, I found myself not just in hills, but among the mini-mountains of the Rhone-Alpes region, where the roads swoop up and round and down, and the views from the top are amazing. I looked at my stupid map, and wondered if I'd see if I could look up Douglas, my moneylending friend from the aborted trip a month previously. He keeps his boat at Roanne, and I'd wanted to take him out to dinner as a thank you.
I got to Roanne, and drove rather aimlessly around the town - much bigger than I'd imagined - and was just about to give up, when I saw a sign for the marina. I parked up alongside this great basin, formerly for commercial barges, now entirely for leisure boats, and wandered down the grassy slope to the alongside path. To one side, someone was coming down some steps, shopping bags in hand. I'd ask him if he knew Douglas.