A home away from home
After fast-pace Paris, we ended up somewhere slightly quieter (I say slightly because with 52 people on our bus, we definitely came with some noise), in the beautiful French countryside in the Beaujolais Wine Region. We stayed in the gorgeous Contiki chateau, which on the outside was a heritage beauty. However, on the inside, well it was definitely grand but the same can't be said for the living quarters. Two words: coed bathrooms. It still haunts me. I'm just kidding. Sort of.
I remember everyone being so excited because we were told there was going to be WIFI (pronounced 'we-fee' on this trip) at the chateau. There turned out to be only one tiny corner room of the entire chateau that had a somewhat decent connection. Needless to say, that room was always packed.
Apart from the unnatural bathrooms, disappointing wifi and what I wrote off to be a low-key destination, it is home to some of my best memories in Europe. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, this was honestly where friendships were born.
On the second day, it was a rough hike to what they called 'the top of the world'. Misreading the map and getting lost was a part of the adventure, apparently. I mean we did meet two cute pups along the way, so I think it rings true. Wonderfully vine-covered cottages with peeling paint doors and corroding brick walls dotted the landscape. They stood in a valiant grace that can only be achieved through withstanding decades of weathering. Eventually, we made it. And we all just relaxed, taking in the view of infinite hills.
When we finally made it home, we sat on the porch of the chateau staring out past the pool to the endless valleys of vineyards. I remember deep talks about life, relationships and religion, playing some intense games of bullshit, dancing in the claustrophobic cave in the basement and laughing way too hard.
All in all, this place definitely grew on me. I think a large part of it should be credited to the people. Still, if you're looking for some good wine (that's what I was told, since I am no wine expert), beautiful hiking trails and some R&R away from the usual crowded touristy Europe, this is the place for you.
Happy travels all!!