July 6, 2015
Peaceful in Burgundy
We wanted to capture the essence of modern day Burgundy. A drive in the country was part of the recipe. After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, we walked to the local Tourist Information Office and asked if there were any village markets held today. We were off and running for Nolay.
The market was not much by the time we arrived but at least we can say we went to one. The lively markets of Arles and Provence were unfair competitors to this humble market that we found. We then asked Tom to get us to another wine village of Santenay. We took a 16 km cross country jaunt through vineyards and wheat fields on paved, gravel and dirt roads. We made it and enjoyed the local Chateau and its vintages.
Back to Beaune and parked the car. We found a Patisserie for a chicken sandwich. The graceful proprietress cut our humble snack for us and we relaxed out of the heat. We decided to revisit the Hotel Dieu. The hospital was built in the midst of the carnage of the Hundred Years War. The finance minister for the Duke of Burgundy decided to do good with his wealth. The result was this hospital for the treatment of the poor.
We had been there a couple of times in the past. The buildings and art have remained the same. Even the van Eyck remains as impressive as ever. The presentation of exhibits and the buildings have been greatly upgraded. Both of us managed to learn a great deal more than with visits in the past. Previously, I had never paid much attention to the roof structure since the colorful tiles were always the focus. I finally saw the roof beams being swallowed by a ravenous black creature identical to our equally ferocious dog-wolf Kia.
We took the time to listen to the audio presentations and enjoy the exhibits. I concluded that these types of slow tours are easier without a couple dozen high school kids. We finally left the hospital but before reflecting on the great legacy that the nobleman have to his community. Now I realize that much of his wealth was probably gained in a manner that would not pass all moral examination, but I like what he and his wife did. They established a state of the art medical facility for the poor. The last elderly patients left there in 1984. The facility serves to raise funds for beneficial and charitable purposes. Even the wine produced on its properties provide funds for the future. I would hope that American benefactors would take the hint.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town and concluding that the town serves the same purpose as our Murphy’s. It is a giant wine market retailing and wholesaling the world class vintage produced in the region. It also makes the point of offering plenty of places to enjoy local food and delicacies with the wine. Shopping abounds although we. Ever found a kitchen store that could match the one in Murphy’s. But I guess we need to mention that they have been doing his wine business stuff for a while longer than our local treasure. It is just that they share many of the same characteristics although there were only a few motorcycles on the streets of Beaune.