My European Odyssey–Week One

As some of you might recall, I am over in Europe this month leading a few bike trips. The first week is firmly behind me (and the second week is about to end), so I thought I would give a few updates through some photos. I am not the most diligent of photo takers–I often remember long after the fact that I should have snapped a few shots. This trip, I was determined to rectify that, so I took a page from my friend James the Wine Guy and brought over a couple of photo taking devices (I only have two such apparatuses compared to James’ 37, but that is beside the point).

I need to shove off to Chinon in a few minutes, so I apologize for the brevity of the accompanying text (no doubt many of you are relieved), but here goes. Week One:

The trip started with getting Sebastian off to his first day of first grade (Nathan started a week later).

The trip started with getting Sebastian off to his first day of first grade (Nathan started a week later).

As usual, I got no sleep on the plane, but did manage to suck down a few glasses of regrettable Chardonnay.

As usual, I got no sleep on the plane, but did manage to suck down a few glasses of regrettable Chardonnay.

My Parisian neighborhood, the friendly 2nd Arrondissement, greeted me with its "Do Not Enter--Except Cyclists" sign.

My Parisian neighborhood, in the friendly 2nd Arrondissement, greeted me with its “Forbidden–Except Cyclists” sign.

Shortly after landing, I was thrown right into action, driving a cargo van across Paris in rush hour. No problem (until I got a ticket for going the wrong way down a one way street--more on that later).

Shortly after landing, I was thrown right into action, driving a cargo van across Paris in rush hour. No problem (until I got a ticket for going the wrong way down a one way street–more on that later).

Parked the beast like a veteran.

Parked the beast like a veteran.

Onto Belgium (with a brief foray into the Netherlands).

On to Belgium (with a brief foray into the Netherlands).

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I spent that first week with nine, then eight wonderful Aussies, who were not nearly as serious and contemplative as this photo suggests.

Mostly we drank beer....

I attempted throughout the week to learn to speak Australian, but mostly we drank beer….

Lots and lots of beer (this is six bottles of the rare and wonderful Westfleteren 12)

…lots and lots of beer (this is six bottles of the rare and wonderful Westvleteren 12).

It was then off to the Mosel for a few days where I did manage to arrange a tasting at St. Urban's Hof.

It was then across Luxembourg and up the Mosel for a few days where I did manage to arrange a tasting at St. Urban’s Hof.

My last meal in Germany--a Flammeküche with a glass (OK, it was two) of Spâtslese before I returned to Paris to get ready for the next trip to the Loire Valley.

My last meal in Germany–a Flammeküche with a glass (OK, it was two) of Spätslese before I returned to Paris to get ready for the next trip to the Loire Valley.