Time, you slippery beast! Try as I might, this summer is slipping from my grasp faster than I can find the time and energy to document it. But I want so much to remember all of our adventures from these past few months, so please bear with me as I take a trip back in time to our early summer getaway with my inlaws to the Burgundy region of France, along with a little hop into Switzerland.
We departed on June 1, the morning after my night half marathon in Mannheim--I got home from the run around 11 pm, to bed just after midnight and was up at 5:30 the next morning to finish packing and hit the road! We checked into a beautiful two bedroom, two story apartment overlooking the rooftops of Dijon, and set out for a quick wander around our environs as well as a delicious dinner in the stunning Place de la Liberation. It made for a lovely evening as the sunset turned all of the buildings a warm golden hue and the girls found some playmates in the square.
For our first full day of sightseeing, we set out to explore Beaune and a few other small Burgundian villages. Beaune is probably best known for its remarkable mosaic tiled roofs, best exemplified at the Hotel Dieu. This former charitable hospital was founded in 1443 by one of the wealthy chancellors of Burgundy. It is still functioning as a modern hospital off-premises, and these beautiful old buildings are set up as they would have been found hundreds of years ago with rows of beds, cabinets full of herbs and medicines, gleaming copper pots in the kitchen--and of course, those beautiful tiles!
After a quick picnic in a park, we set off for the countryside, weaving our way through vineyards and charming towns. Our first stop was in Chateuneuf--not to be confused with the more famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape in Provence! We were some of the only people wandering the streets rife with old stone cottages, manors, flora, and of course, the obligatory castle. Fortunately, we were able to find a lone restauranteur who was happy to serve us ice cream!
Our final stop for the day was in the much more bustling town of Semur-en-Auxois. This was the perfect counterpoint to the sleepy enchantment of Chateuneuf. From the banners snapping in the breeze to the smells of the variety of restaurants, and the numerous souvenier shops along the main street, we knew we were back in tourist central. We made our way up and down the streets and narrow alleys, stumbled upon ramparts, and gazed upon perhaps our frillionth Notre Dame before deciding to call it quits for the day.
Typically, our m.o. for any trip is to get there and do whatever Rick Steves tells us to do. However, in Dijon, we were flying blind in terms of Uncle Rick, so instead we stopped by the TI to pick up a little booklet that led us along the "Owl Trail". This is a Best Of tour, stopping at the many highlights of Dijon, and our merry band of travelers made it last almost all day, though I am assured it is possible to complete in a couple of hours! My particular favorite stops were the market and the elegant Darcy garden.
For our final stop of the trip, we detoured through Switzerland on the way home for a quick spin through Bern. Colby and I had been once before, so the fact that it rained on us almost the whole day wasn't too much of a bummer! We walked through the center of town down to one of the highlights, the bear park. It actually ended up being helpful that the sun wasn't out since it got the bears up from their naps to enjoy the cooling rain with their lunch! And of course, I got my Swiss chocolate.