Saturday, July 16, 2011

European Photography Adventures: Saint Emillion, Bordeaux and Archachon, France

After finishing Anna and Anthony's wedding, we hopped in a car and went with the wedding party to a little French town called Saint Emillion, one of the most famous wine-making areas in the world.  The town was medieval, built around a cathedral (gorgeous!) with steep cobblestone roads leading away from the center of town. 

We were literally sliding around in our flipflops, trying to navigate through the city.   

Even though it looks like we were able to explore this beautiful place, we actually passed out in our hotel room and slept all day. Bleh.  Oh wait, we woke up later that night and ate the worst meal ever (apparently we picked the one bad restaurant in town).   And then we had to leave early the next day without truly seeing the city.  We were pretty disappointed, but that's what happens when you work a wedding the day before.  Utter exhaustion! 

The only good part of our horrible dinner.
--Getting off track for just a second... Some advice to the traveling photographer--
 Choose your luggage wisely! 
We're not sure if we did. 

 Every time we moved from city to city we hauled around the following:
 -90 pound camera bag with every photography product that folds, bends, or smashes down,
-Boda Bag for quick lens access and Kevin's socks,
-Backpack with heavy laptops, work files, notebooks, and business materials,
-2 rolling suitcases full of wedding clothes and uncomfortable shoes,
-Duffel bag full of bottles of wine and souvenirs for our daughters,
-Purse with maps, water bottles and random crap.

When going from train, to car, to metro (where the escalators NEVER are running and you have to carry all your shit up 10 flights of stairs), to bus, to airport... this is crucial advice.  Sure, you'll have sexy arm muscles but you'll also be in a bad mood and want to kick something. 


We drove from Saint Emillion to Bordeaux.  
Expecting a small town, we were surprised to find a huge city full of people.

Bordeaux is humongous!
We took a tour of old Bordeaux with Anna, Anthony and their family and saw how the city has been changed and rebuilt from medieval times.  They even had an ancient Lego shop, from, like, the 1500s or something.

The old Bordeauxians played with large Legos.

Waterfront of Bordeaux
 What is a trip to Bordeaux without some wine tastings?  The next day, Anna & Anthony took us on a whirlwind tour of wine country, sharing their knowledge of wines with us.  We had such a great time and learned heaps about French wines.  Seriously, just ask us.  We're pros :)

We even took some bottles home!
The last day in Bordeaux, Kevin went with the group to the sea town of Arcachon, where they laid by the seaside and soaked in some sun.  Afterward, they boarded a boat and sailed around the peninsula to old oyster towns, where they ate fresh oysters, cheeses and meats and drank local wine.  
Thanks again to Anna, Anthony, Anthony's incredibly generous and kind parents, and all the friends we got to know a little.  We had an amazing time with you all!

Up next... SPAIN!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photography Adventures: Sarlat, Chateau de Lacoste and Anna & Anthony

So, after the whirlwind incredible wedding of Alicia and Shane, we woke up early the next morning for a train ride to Sarlat where we would be staying while shooting Anna and Anthony's wedding.  We upgraded our train tickets to first class because we were exhausted from the wedding the day before and wanted to be comfortable -- but we weren't expecting bunk beds.  We looked something like this:

(Credit to whomever this creative photographer is)

But hey, we slept.

We arrived in Sarlat and were immediately in love. Incredible history surrounded us, evident in the bowing buildings stacked Dr. Seuss-style up narrow cobblestone streets.

Lazy cats lounged in windowsills full of geraniums and wildflowers and the steep avenues had a cold, musty scent that made us feel alive and excited. We hiked around the streets (some of them were steep!) and debated if we should have dinner at that perfect cafe or that one. 
We were in fois gras country, so goose liver signs were everywhere.

But if we thought Sarlat was spectacular, we were utterly blown away by the beauty of the wedding/reception location: Chateau de Lacoste.

From the incredible view of the Dordogne Valley to the rows of fragrant lavender lining the gardens, to the miniature private chapel picturesquely nestled on the side of the hill, this place was breathtaking.

 Anna and Anthony were fantastic, as well as their family and friends that we spent a few days with after the wedding. More pictures of that adventure to come!