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Report 814: Exploring the Senses of Burgundy 2005

By Gavin Crawford from Australia, Fall 2005

Trip Description: Four weeks holiday in Burgundy from 15th October to 21st November. After 30+ years without the ability to smell, Gavin embarked on a course of Prednisone to restore this sense and explore his response to an added dimension to a holiday .... the smells of Burgundy and the language to describe it.

Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Burgundy

Categories: Vacation Rentals; Foodie Trip; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 29: Driving from Frankfurt to Chablis Saturday 22nd October

photo by Gavin


What a mixed bag. It was a drizzly morning and I was probably hung over, although I just felt tired. We were quite late in packing, picking up the rental car, returning to the apartment to load and finally depart around 10.30. For probably the last time, we tried to follow the instructions from the AA Route Planner. What with everyone else saying we should just take the A5 south almost to Berne and then take the A6 across from Mulhouse to Dijon and up toward Auxerre, and the AA laying a route across country on minor roads, we managed to get lost just 10km from the centre of Frankfurt. That fixed it, the girl at the service station said go back 10 minutes then follow the signs to the A5. The A5 wins ... straight south for four hours then head toward Dijon. The last three hours heading across France were spent driving in and out of torrential rain which miraculously cleared as we approached Chablis.

The only notable point about the trip was that much of it was at high speed (140 kmph) but being passed by almost everything else on the road.

We arrived in Chichee and followed the instructions provided by “cottages 4 you.” We followed them four times, including squeezing through the last section of the lane by swinging the side rear view mirrors in. So where was the small wooden chalet and the white iron gate facing us? As we emerged onto a main street for the fourth time, Ches asked the neighbouring vigneron (with the worst toupee ever seen) and he directed us back to the narrow lane and a small wooden garage. The cottage faced the garage from the other side of the lane with a metal gate in the wall.

Oh! Bloody hell, my mobile phone battery died just as we tried to phone the women who had the key. Off again into the main street to see if the keeper of the key was a neighbour. No she wasn’t, but a neighbour knew where the key was hidden under a rock. All with no English and us just a smidgin of French (well Ches anyway).

The keeper of the key turned up ten minutes later. As it turned out, we had slowed and waved to her and her two kids on the road into Chichee. Don’t know why we had bothered, she was totally disinterested and as a housekeeper/cleaner, we saw no evidence of the latter. The place was pretty shabby; dust and dirt everywhere. Maybe she just sweeps the place out.

We unpacked and went straight into Chablis. Nothing quite like driving around a town at night with no idea of what’s where. By a pure fluke, we stumbled on what we later discovered was the centre of town where they hold the Sunday markets.

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