Monday, 8 August 2016

France Day Dix: Au Revoir Family

Bonjour! I've had a vacation in France and now for the travel diary because my memory is terrible so I need to recap it all. This was a family vacation to catch the Euro Cup (So apparently it's just called Euro which is weird no? Isn't that also singular of the currency? Unless football skills = currency. In which case, I'd be VERY POOR) courtesy of my aunt and uncle, without them, this trip wouldn't have happened.

France Day Dix
We awoke bright and early to send Nommie (along with the aunt's and uncle's luggage) to the Bordeaux airport because he was flying off with them to head back to London (they were taking the other car). I gotta say, I'm pretty sad just thinking about this because I'm rather attached to my cousin, and also it signals the end of the vacation (boooo).

As we were going to be catching the Belgium vs. Ireland Euro Cup match, we quickly drove near to the stadium in Bordeaux to grab a quick lunch before the match. You know those places along highways, like rest stops with lousy restaurants and whatnot? Yeah we ended up at one of those places. The fine establishment we came across is called Del Arte, I guess it serves Italian food like akin to Pizza Hut. I'm not complaining though, I love Pizza Hut. I had a lasagna while the boo had a seafood vongole. Clearly he had the mad food envy.

Mmmm mediocre lasagna

After lunch, we walked about 20 minutes to get to the stadium - The Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux is a fancy almost brand new (opened in May 2015) stadium that is quite an architectural beauty. There appeared to be an almost equal amount of Belgian and Irish fans and everyone seemed in high spirts, there was a lot of singing and cheering and my main gripe was as I stood in the crowd waiting to be frisked, I just felt really short.

Hey shawty

Ohhh so it IS just Euro

What a beauty

Artistic shot, yes?

The seats we got were just FANTASTIC. I think we were seated in the corporate sponsored seating area so it had an equal mix of fans from both sides, as well as some neutrals (like me - I equally support all teams as long as they have a good mix of handsome men). Our seats were right in front of those fancy glass rooms where rich people have lunch before the game. The stadium's seats were quite well spaced out, and there was lots of room for me to stand up, walk and bounce around taking photos. The match itself was awesome, with Belgium scoring 3 goals within the second half (like almost immediately), and the Belgian fans were incredibly excited. The commentator would announce who scored the goal, by loudly announcing the player's first name, and the fans would shout out the player's surname as if they were chant-shouting. ROMELU.... LUKAKUUUUUUU!!!!!

Fancy box seats just above us

St Patrick's day continues

I like to imagine these two guys sitting together doing arts and crafts

The view from our seats

Hello Bordeaux
Some serious manspreading going on. (Courtesy of a European stranger)

After the match, with our family having all departed, we headed to Arcachon, a beachside town about an hour from Bordeaux. We checked into Hotel Le B d'arcachon and then strolled along the beach towards Au Pique Assiete for dinner. I think the food was so-so. I had a set menu of salad, white fish and panna cotta dessert which was alright, while the boo ordered some pork thing that made me think of SQ airplane food. I didn't bother with the panna cotta too because I already had my mind made up to go to La Saison 2, a really purple and pink gaudily-designed cafĂ© which served yummy crepe. MMM. There was a restaurant near La Saison 2 that actually looked like it was frequented by locals - I don't know what it's called and Google Earth View is just making me feel dizzy. I feel like we should have dined there instead for dinner!

Pretending it felt like summer - it was probably 12 degrees celsius


The cutest sand art
Not strange at all

Beautiful evening but so cold brrrr
Au Pique Assiete

Welcome to the groovy 70s

I think this was very much my aesthetic when I was 12


Key learnings:
  • Don't order vongole at an "Italian" joint. Save it for Italy. Order something easy like lasagna and you'll never be disappointed.
  • Belgium has a pretty good soccer team and apparently quite a few of them play in the English Premier League. Is this important? Who knows?
  • The stadium in Bordeaux is currently named Matmut Atlantique - I guess it's a sponsorship thing but sorry Matmut, it ain't work for you. I don't recall seeing your name anywhere. Zero brand recognition.
  • The firm behind the architecture of the stadium is Herzog & de Meuron, who also did the Beijing Olympic Stadium. It must feel wonderful to be able to see your work come to life and be appreciated on such a grand scale. What am I doing with my life??
  • Don't trust always trust Trip Advisor - I read about Au Pique Assiete on TA and it was MEH
  • The Arcachon beach is COLD and the winds are really strong. Don't be a hero like me and try to wear beach type clothes.
  • It is really great to be a woman who needs to pee during a soccer/sporting match because there are fewer women and loads of cubicles. Also, not as dirty as one would image.
Thanks for reading!

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