蒙地卡羅雜誌 Monte 2012 一月號2012.01.01
Text and Photo by 陳岳夫
此行的目的地是Canal du Centre（勃根地運河），位於巴黎東南方距離約100 Km。大夥以舒適的河船為旅館，每天緩緩地在運河上移動，一段一段地往山丘上行駛。直言之，就是我心目中的理想旅程。
運河延著山丘高低起伏建造，這兒就是孕育葡萄酒的Burgundy，著名的酒王La Romanée-Conti就產自此區。每一天我們都會下船，到附近的小城鎮走走看看。我們逛了安寧的Dijon（狄戎），參觀了12世紀的Beaune（波恩）濟貧院，更拜訪了13世紀時建立的酒莊Clos de Vougeot（伏舊園，本區葡萄酒的起源）。
我們前前後後通過了逾40個水閘門。我問過船長，每個閘門的高度差約2.5 m，所以6天來我們共計向上高升了超過100 m，這種「乘船爬山」的經驗還真不多。一路上，我們還品飲了約40種不同的本地紅、白酒，吃過約40種口味迴異的法國起司，更享用了兩餐藏在美麗風景中的Michelin（米其林）餐廳。
名門會 0970-33-33-00 / 0970-22-22-22
Late summer in August we had the opportunity to wander about Burgundy, France’s wine producing region. Our destination this trip was the Canal du Centre, southeast of Paris. We used a comfortable river boat as our hotel, and every day we slowly moved along the canal, cruising up hilly regions section by section.
It was a long flight from Asia to Europe, but we didn’t consider that leg of our journey as part of a significant part of our trip. For us, the excursion really began when we boarded our chartered barge. Under the blue sky, staying in our four-room barge was incredibly relaxing. The carefree swans on the water practically accompanied us along, and we only traveled some 70 km during our six-day tour.
The high and low gentle hills around us appeared to be colored in flowing hues of light and dark green. On the canal, the opening and closing of the lock gates would have the water slowly move the boat vertically. Whenever one of those gates would open, it was like opening a door and going into another room, and the process always provided us with ever-changing surprises.
When the captain was slowly navigating through a lock, we were able to go ashore and walk, bicycle, or jog, in the meantime. Besides each lock was a small watch house, on which was a clear marker showing the distance to the next lock. There were paths on the banks for the exclusive use of cyclists and joggers, so while there we didn’t have to worry about cars spoiling our fun at all.
The canal was built on the undulating hills of Burgundy, home of the famous La Romanée-Conti vineyard, the maker of the most prestigious wines. Each day we would get off the boat and explore the nearby area. We strolled about Dijon; toured the 15th century Hospices de Beaune, a charity hospital; and visited the Clos de Vougeot winery, which dated from the 12th century.
What I liked the most were the tours of various wineries, even though I didn’t consider myself an expert on wine, where we gained first-hand knowledge. Some vineyards look exactly the same, separated from others by a thin dirt road, but the wines they produced had surprisingly different flavors.
Many owners of the wineries enthusiastically welcomed us. They would always first brief us on their vineyard’s history, as well as the procedures that went into making their wine. Later, they would open several bottles of different vintages for us to sample and compare. Even the tiniest wineries have their own vintages and winemaking techniques that result in every sort of distinct flavor.
We cleared over 40 locks. I asked the captain and he told me that each gate was some 2.5 meters high, so during the six days we scaled over 100 meters. This ‘hill climbing by boat’ was a one of a kind experience. On our route, we tried nearly 40 red and white wines, ate close to 40 varieties of French cheese, and enjoyed the food at two Michelin-starred restaurants.
It is incredibly difficult for most to imagine having to do nothing every day, other than eating delicious food, drinking superb wine, and strolling around and delighting in picturesque scenery. Our pleasantly ideal trip was one of those rare moments of living for the sake of pure pleasure!