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Dear friends,

I am inviting you to be an armchair traveler, and join me as I explore the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France for the first time. 

I am in Burgundy conducting research that involves a bit more than drinking wine, but that is certainly an important part of it. But over the next two weeks I will be having appointments with some incredibly interesting people, all who are inviting me because I am a "friend of a friend."  Connections make it happen, and I am terribly grateful to all of you who offered to introduce me to the wine makers and sellers. Marianne (I will only give first names) is a young friend, a friend of a friend, who stayed with me once in Vermont, and who offered to introduce me to her mother who owns the house where I am residing.

Her mother (Nancy) met me at the train station in Vire Ville last night at seven after I had oarded the wrong (slow) train to the wrong destination (the villages had similar names, and were leaving Gare de Lyon at the same time---OOPS!)  I was supposed to be on for an hour, but after an hour and a half, I went to the conductor and showed him my ticket and he told me I was on the wrong train and that I needed to go to the end of the line and transfer to a train to Dijon, the capitol of Burgundy, and from there take another train.

I did as told, and was happy to learn that I didn't have to pay again. SO. Six hours on an old-fashioned (think Humphrey Bogart films where you are in your own compartment)  train through the beautiful French countryside. I found it interesting to be on a train in the middle of nowhere, and remaining there until it was the end of the line. I thought, at the very least I can get a hotel room in this village and try again tomorrow. 

My host Nancy was wonderful about having to go to the station twice. We returned to her house that was built of stone in 1830 and overlooks the village of Vire. It is enclosed by vineyards that this time of the year, perhaps because it is unusually warm, still have golden leaves attached. Fields of gold all around me. The late afternoon light shining onto the cherry tree outside was exquisite. 

We dined on blanquette de veau, and of course a lovely Vire white wine, and talked as though we were old friends. She will stay with me for the two weeks and together we will go to see a man whose craft is making the wooden barrels wine is stored in (a true artisan); and we will visit several vignerons or wine makers, and tomorrow I will talk to a guide about wild boar hunting. 

In this novel, my protagonists, Max and Olivier, are in Burgundy, where his parents have a house (just like Nancy's!! Imagine!) and where Max's grandmother has a house near Beaune. 

I am going to learn how to attach photos to my blogs very soon, I promise! I have some great ones.

Thank you for joining me, for being a part of my community, both fictional and real...



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