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Day 2 and 3 Biking

After 26 miles of biking Sunday, I was looking forward to the shorter 21 mile trip Monday. However, the shortened distance was more than made up for with a killer hill at the beginning of the day. We left the hotel and climbed straight up for about two miles to the haute cote, the top of the slope. I had to walk the bike for part of the hill but we were rewarded with spectacular views of the vineyards below, and an exhilarating long downhill emerging at the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, home to more Grand Crus vineyards than any town in Burgundy. After a lunch in town on our own, we followed pretty vineyard roads through the Cote de Nuits (the Northern half of the Cote d’Or, the Golden slope) back to our hotel. After another of my brief power naps, the lovely Laura Lee and I went to the “cave” connected with our hotel for a taste of some of the local burgundies. Dinner was nearby at a fantastic hotel restaurant where we were served courses too numerous to count and wines that went on and on.

Today, Tuesday, we woke up to a terrible rainy day. Despite the miserable weather, this was the most magnificent day of all. We started out heading south, turned off onto small vineyard roads, and suddenly found ourselves at 10 a.m. at the corner of the most expensive real estate in the world. We were actually standing at a corner where La Tache and Romanee Conti came together. While none of this land is ever sold, we were told that 1 hectare, or about three acres in these vineyards would be valued at about $1 billion. After sharing a bottle of wine with our crowd at 10 a.m., we moved on through the town of Nuits St. Georges, through beautiful villages, and on to the town of Beaune where we have checked into the Hotel Le Cep. It was cold and rainy, but really just a fantastic day.

So if you want to duplicate this at home, go to your gym and get on the lifecycle at about 9:30 in the morning. Set it on random at about level 15 and pedal for about two hours. Pause any time you want for water but pedal on until about noon. Then get off and go have a great lunch with about 4 glasses of wine. Then go back and pedal another two hours before you go home to rest. At dinner, drink another six glasses of wine with an eight-course meal, and then get up the next day and do it all over again. The only thing you’ll miss is the scenery we have here and, of course, your wine will not be as good.

Our travel agent Meg has emailed me to say “Anyway, the only thing I see missing from your “BLOG” is reference to your “lovely Travel Advisor” at Brownell Travel…www.brownelltravel.com.” When I was a kid, I knew Mr. Brownell of Brownell Travel in Birmingham. He was known personally throughout Europe because of the vast number of tours he arranged and because of his well-heeled client list passing through on private journeys. My grandparents never travelled to Europe without Mr. Brownell personally arranging every aspect of the trip. They dined where he had dined, they stayed in hotels where he had stayed, and they rode with drivers that Mr. Brownell knew personally. If you were stuck and needed to cash a check somewhere in Europe, you only had to mention to the hotel that you were a personal friend of Mr. Brownell and any needs would be accommodated.

I have been remiss in not mentioning here that Brownell also arranged this trip for us. The company is now epitomised by the lovely Meg McGriff North who is every bit as capable and well-connected as Mr. Brownell was. We refer to Meg around our house as “The Travel Chick” or “The Travel Babe.” We use sentences like, “If you want to go bicycling in France, you need to call the Travel Babe”, or “Have you ever gotten the itinerary from the Travel Chick?” So, here’s the reference Meg. I used to find Meg completely without fault until, about 10 years ago, she started charging $10 for every airline ticket she bought for you. Travel agents used to be free. Anyway, Meg was never free or even cheap but I still resent that charge. God knows, it’s probably $100 a ticket now.

Anyway, we still love Meg. If you need any travel arrangements from anywhere to anywhere, she’ll fix you right up. Just call the Travel Babe or look her up at www.brownelltravel.com.

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