Viking’s Bordeaux, Part Two

Wrapping up a short cruise through Bordeaux aboard Viking River Cruises VIKING FORSETI Longship with a visit to picturesque St. Emilion.

Viking River Cruises

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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2014.

Friday, March 21, 2014

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Precious moments on the river.

Aside from the 2.5 hours it took VIKING FORSETI to sail between Blaye and Bourg en Gironde along the Dordogne River this morning, there was precious little time to enjoy the actual river cruising experience on our brief sampling of Viking’s new Bordeaux itinerary.

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VIKING FORSETI at Bourg en Gironde.

Shortly after the ship berthed at Bourg, we headed ashore for a quick self-guided tour.

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Midtown Bourg.

It was a short walk up to the ancient town, situated on a bluff overlooking the river.

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Viking cheese selections.

Our walk through Bourg was short and sweet before we returned to the ship for lunch.

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Longship coach.

At 1:00 PM, we were filing aboard Viking’s brand new coach on a through picturesque estates and tiny villages to St. Emilion. The terrain along the Dordogne was hillier and more verdant than we had experienced in Medoc on the prior day.

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Springtime in St. Emilion.

When Augustus created the Roman Province of Aquitania in 27 BC, his men carved vineyards out of the indigenous forest in what is now St. Emilion. Eventually, it became a popular stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela.

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Statue at the edge of St. Emilion.
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Collegiate Cloisters.
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St. Emilion overview.

The coach dropped us off at the top of the town, where our guide led us past a cathedral and through the adjacent 14th Century built Collegiate Cloisters to a plaza overlooking the lower quarter.

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Macaroons.

A treat awaited in the form of fresh baked macaroons, a Bordeaux regional specialty.

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Underground cathedral, St. Emilion.

Our next stop was the Monolithic Church, which was carved out of the limestone beneath the massive bell tower.

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Paanes of St. Emilion.

The eerie underground cathedral was structurally threatened by water leakage undermining the massive weight of the bellower above it. Steel reinforcements were added in the late 1990s to secure it.

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Chateau Siaurac.

Our next stop was the esteemed Chateau Siaurac, where we toured of its vast vineyards, visited the manor and cellars and then enjoyed a tasting. From there, we met the VIKING FORSETI in Bordeaux.

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Porte de Bourgogne.

With an hour or so of light left, we decided to see a few of the sites we had missed on our prior walking tour of Bordeaux. We headed further up river to the Porte de Bourgogne, a massive stone arch completed in 1755.

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Cathedral St. Michel.

From there, is was a short walk to the massive Basilica of St. Michaels, a huge Gothic church built between the 14th and 16th centuries. Its bell tower is a startling 374 feet tall, the height of a 30-story building.

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Fruits and veggies.
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Twilight over skylight.

There was yet so much to see and do, but it was time to return to the ship for dinner, to pack and prepare for the long voyage home.

End

Special thanks: Sara Conley, Martin Cox, Ian Jeffries

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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