Okay, back to revisiting new aches and old memories, along with the realization that you really can't go back
to a fond destination again without it being a drastically altered experience.
Anyway, church-John arrived early, so we were on our way at 8:00, taking a random route. C-J? Why didn't you put the address into your GPS? Oh, well. We still arrived at the centre with plenty of time to spare. It was a rowdy group of 40 that set out at 9:15, with three volunteers in charge. I enjoyed the highway drive, especially as we got closer to wine country.
C-J pointed out the Welland Canal when we passed over it and I actually could see the first lock. We arrived at the winery in Jordan at 11:15. It had been extremely cloudy all day long but the sun started beaming down on us, warming us as we took party in the outdoor segment of the tour. We'd all been given a small tasting of Pinot Grigio. Later, in the oak cask cellar, we found out that the winery predominantly uses French oak casks (at $1600 a pop) because France is technically a cold region as is Canada. Occasionally, southern oak is used to develop those full-bodied Chardonnays, with minor use of Hungarian oak for variety. We also had a sample of the Pinot Noir grapes that had just been pressed, on their way to becoming Rosé. I asked why that wine wasn't on their website and was told they'd just sold their last few cases. ::pouts:: After the underground tour, accessed by a sweeping driveway so no evil stairs were encountered, we went out to the edge of the vineyard to taste baby Sauvignon Blanc grapes, all seed and skin, with little sour flesh.
Then our group (#3) was the last to arrive on the covered terrace (I guessed because our guide had been so thorough). C-J and I had a wee table to ourselves. We were served our lunches via personalized brown bags with handles containing enormous sandwiches wrapped in butcher paper, salad, and a huge brownie. C-J's sandwich was turkey; mine was ham, so we shared. Not sure what his salad was, but mine was quinoa with thinly sliced zucchini of different colours. I saved half my sandwich and my brownie to take home. To wash everything down we had a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and water.
We were running out of time after lunch, so we opted to go directly to buying wine instead of the separate samplings. I splurged (no, don't ask) on six bottles, including their traditional bubbly as well as a more lighthearted sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Icewine. Yes, yes, party at my place. You'll have to arrange your own transportation! Anyway, c-J seemed to be quite impressed by my wine knowledge as I ordered several bottles by grape type. He wanted to know whether I'd taken any special courses. No, dear. I just used to go OUT a lot; and then there was a fascinating wine-tasting afternoon at New York's Italian Consulate, courtesy of my Captain from dinner at the Met the previous evening! Oh, dear. Here I go reminiscing about the days of glamour!
Once we were on the bus (leaving 15 minutes late because of stragglers), we set off for Niagara-on-the-Lake. It all felt alien to me. As it had been at least 20 years since I'd last visited, I was surprised to see how much the bushes and trees along the highway had grown. The growth makes me happy because trees suck up so much pollution.
When we arrived, we only had 1:45 for shopping or wandering. I was chagrined to find my memory was faulty. I'd thought the main drag was only one block long; it was two. Sigh. I don't have the energy to go that far, but had to because the Christmas Shop was at the far end. Despite the fact that I had a comprehensive list of stores, we only had time for four. Yes, Christmas deccies, but they had no fibre optic light sets. Bought one little thing at the fair trade store; was disappointed how little there was nowadays, as I'd bought my stunning (and long gone) hand-carved and painted Indonesian cat masks! Found the butterfly store where I bought a tiny brooch and heavy pendant, also a suncatcher. Our last stop was at Kurtz's where I managed to replace a divine pear jam that I'd accidentally smashed years ago, also sauces and teas. And, then, we had to hoof it back to the bus. I would have loved to have had an ice cream, but was even too tired for ice cream. Yes, you may be worried now. Although I'd originally wanted to buy lots of wee souvenirs for many of my friends, I was only able to find something for two of them. Everyone else will just have to be content that I was
thinking about them.
We had to leave at 4:00, hoping to be back at the centre by 6:00. Ha-ha. Try pulling the other foot. Just not mine, as my bag of precious wines was draped over my feet while everything else went in the overhead bin. Halfway home, I began experiencing excruciating pain in my right knee and shin. Obviously, sitting in a cramped seat without moving was compounding the problem. Finally-finally-finally we arrived at the centre. I sat out while c-J retrieved the car from the underground garage. It didn't take long to get me home before the sun dipped below the horizon. Thank goodness. I'm never happy to be coming home in the dark, especially with treasures.
C-J was a tired trooper as well. I had to remind him he couldn't go home immediately. He still had to retrieve his dog from Brent's doggy daycare, lol. And my parking permit is still on his dash. Oops!
I began feeling better as soon as I'd devoured the rest of the sandwich and swallowed my pain killers. So, it's a good thing the main problem was only from lack of movement. I survived, came home with lots of goodies, and the knowledge that I'll probably never be able to go back again. Unless ... well, unless we do another winery and NOTL, where I will find a park bench and ice cream shop and not move a muscle. All I have to do is prove it!This entry was originally posted at http://helenkacan.dreamwidth.org/1804253.html. Please comment there using OpenID.