Friday, 26 July 2013
Baguette, Croissant & Champagne....we we!
Hello to my loyal Blog readers (Mum & Amanda)!!!!
We have departed the Netherlands, home of the clog, windmills and the infamous red light district and we caught a train down to Brussels, Belgium - the centre of activity for the European Union (EU) the reason for this visit was to get an understanding of the politics surrounding agriculture in Europe, and we were lucky to be there when the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) was passed, to come into effect in 2015 and as I mentioned in the last blog it is a very big deal for UK and Eurpoean farmers as it effects the subsidy they receive as well as tax laws. We heard from some very interesting lobbyists from both the British and American side, and had some good debates about the possibility of 'free trade' with the ever elusive EU market.
We then hung our suits up and jumped in a van and headed down for the Menin gate last post ceremony which was a great experience, Steve (NZ), Thiaboud (France) and myself (Australia) laid a wreath during the ceremony which was very special and it was great symbolism for the ongoing relationship and friendship the Aussies and NZ have with France post WW1. The next day we continued on and visited the famous battle sites and subsequent graves of the ANZACs such as Pozieres, Pheasants Wood, Fromelle, Ypres and Villiers Bretonneux where the ANZAC memorial is. I was also fortunate to find the grave of my Great Grandfather Lawrence Keith Buttrose on the anniversary of his death 96 years ago in the Battle of Messines in France 1917.
After our very humbling day honouring the ANZACs we arrived in Champagne, France - I may or may not have lost the toll ticket, trapping us on the motorway.....but our trusty pommy war buff guide Alan saved the day with some quick speaking French to get us out! We had a great day with Thiaboud (a 2013 Nuffield) at his winery and vineyard in Champagne, he and his Dad toured us around in the back of a restored WW2 jeep showing us their very impressive vine yard. Thiaboud is growing the grapes and then making the wine and bottling ing it under his name Brocard Pierre, the still press the grapes with a hand press 4 tonnes at a time. The champagne is bottled with yeasts and matured for 1 to 3 years. We had already done some tasting by the time we hit the winery part of the tour so I am a little foggy on detail......one thing I did find interesting was that the champagne has to be stored for a number of years with a steel bottle lid and the a cork is put in closer to the finish date, a fun fact I suppose!
After leaving Thiabouds place, we rode into Paris to have a day off before jetting to Ireland. We met up with Lachie Sears (SA 2013 scholar) and Tafi (kiwi 2013 scholar) and had a good night taking in the sights over a few drinks on the balcony of my hotel room which overlooked the Arc de Triomph (built to honour Napolean and his army) and the Eiffel Tower. We had a free day in Paris, where we spent the morning in the laundromat washing all our clothes (the Bain of travel along with finding free wifi!) and I then spent the afternoon with my Little brother checking out the sights of Paree as through Facebook I found out he was there....not great communication on our side!!!
That's me for now, we are heading to Ireland - after a few big nights in Paris, I need to detox a bit, but not sure if Ireland is the place to do it......
Look at my pics below....follow me on twitter CarlyButtrose