Saturday, 23 October 2010

Strikes and Blockades

The French love a good strike and demonstration and what better cause but the increase of retirement age by two years. Shocking you may say and ordinarily I would agree but what is more shocking is that the state retirement age in France is only 60 and even younger if you are in a hard or stressful profession like a train driver! So sorry to the citizens of my new homeland, but I have no sympathy for this strike especially when it means we are having difficulty getting petrol due to the blockading of all the country’s oil refineries. So our essential trip to Mâcon to get supplies for Cees’ new painting classes and of course a nice lunch at Palais d’Asie was put in danger today by me not wanting to waste a drop of that precious liquid.

Having said that, many people who have stayed in our gîtes have come by public transport, what better way to spend the day than taking the bus to Mâcon and back and enjoying the autumn sun that has just poked its head from behind the clouds? And seeing as we tell everyone how easy it is, we really should try it one day. So off we went to catch the 10.30 bus, hoping that the bus drivers weren’t on strike as well and we were duly met by the bus which arrived spot on time. Up the hill through Ameugny and Taizé where we picked up a couple of escapees heading for a day out in Cluny, into Cluny past the Equivallée and on to the bus station where the bus emptied and re-filled with those wanting to get to Mâcon itself.

The journey takes you along the tourist route to Mâcon, not via the dual carriageway we always take in the car, through the rolling hills of the Mâconnais with magnificent views of the chateau at Berzé-le-Châtel and into Berzé-la-Ville where the chapel des moines is to be found. Superb views of Roche Solutré and into the vineyards of the Pouilly-Fuissé which produce one of the best white wines around here with a price tag to match! And we were even in Mâcon in time to do all our shopping before the shops shut for lunch then of course our favourite Chinese restaurant.

The walk back to the bus stop after lunch helped the lunch to settle before the trip home which was as equally enjoyable as the trip into Mâcon had been that morning. The vines are yellowing fast, but the trees remain surprisingly green for the time of year and with a beautiful blue sky, quite a treat to be out and about at a slower pace than normal, and all that for 1.50 Euro.

So I may not agree with the reason for the blockades, but just this once I will say thank you to the unions for giving us a surprisingly interesting day out. They can stop the blockades now so that we can go to Cluny this weekend for the biggest horseshow ever seen in the town. On second thoughts we’ll take the bus.

La Tuilerie Website

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