Our goal once on the ground was to retrieve our luggage, get the bikes unboxed and assembled, and get a few miles between us and the airport before finding a bed for the night. Off the plane we headed to baggage claim to await our 'stuff'. It was soon coming our way on the carousel; I grabbed my Carradice bag from the carousel and headed for the bike boxes which were being pulled off the belt by an airport employee. We had a bit of a scare as one of the boxes was wide open. It turned out that TSA knows how to open a box but they are apparently poor at taping them shut again afterwards. Both boxes had been opened, both had TSA labeled tape, but the box with my bike had fallen open from their poor attempt while the box holding Sarah's bike was being held shut by mere threads.
It was time to do some assembly. I got out my tools and started cutting zip ties, tightening bolts, attaching pedals, etc. While I worked Sarah found the restroom and changed into her cycling clothes. After the bikes were assembled we both grabbed some Euros at the ATM, I changed into my cycling clothes, we bought some water (no fountains to be found), and we headed southwest out of the airport area.
The first few kilometers were a bit hectic as we dealt with traffic, trying to assess how to get where we want, and all the issues of being in someplace new and foreign. We pulled over in one small town and a kind gentleman tried to assure us that what we wanted to do was get on the bike trail, take it to the Atlantic, and then we could find our way from there. I had targeted St. Symphorien as a goal, but knew that the 40 or so miles from the airport was not going to happen tonight given our almost 5PM departure from the airport proper. After a few twists and turns we were headed in the correct direction and started looking for a place to stay. We came to a crossroad in Leognan and tried to decide which way would be best for finding lodging. There appeared to be more buildings to the left than right, so we headed that way. We were soon at the edge of town and decided to turn and head the opposite direction for a look. As we made the u-turn I spotted a Gendarmerie with a sign listing services posted in front. We stopped to check it out. A polite man entering the Gendarmerie, presumably a Gendarme out of uniform, asked us what we wanted to find. He informed us there was no lodging in town and he was not sure where the closest might be although there might be one south of town on the road to Sâucats but that might be a restaurant, only. We thanked him, headed south and within a couple of kilometers spotted a sign directing traffic to the left for "Les Sources de Caudalie", which the sign indicated was a 4-star hotel. To the left we headed.
I located "Les Sources de Caudalie" in the GPS database which helped us to find the spa/resort with only one minor missed turn. Pulling up to the front of the spa it was obviously very swanky. It is situated in the middle of a stretch of vineyards just outside of Martillac. We put the bikes up outside the front door, next to a fleet of loaners owned by the spa, and entered to enquire about a room. The desk clerk checked and told us they were full for the next 3 nights (lucky for us: turns out double rooms start at 185€ per night) but the clerk did tell us that there is a Châteaux in town that takes in guests, a sort of Bed and Breakfast affair. To find it, following his directions, we headed out the driveway, turned right, took the right at the next stop sign, then proceeded to the crossroad. From there we went up the hill towards the church and took a left down the road just before we reached the church. Simple enough, only problem was there are at least three Châteaux down that road. First two showed no signs of life. The gate in front of the third was closed but there was a drive next to the gate and we headed down that path. At the bottom of the drive was a parking lot and another gravel drive winding back into the yard of the Châteaux. We started to follow that drive and as we approached the house a woman exited, carving some cheese with a small knife, and asked what we wanted. When Sarah told her we were looking for the Châteaux that rents rooms she told us we were looking for her. A lucky break! We soon arranged for a room for the night, at the Châteaux de Lantic, with breakfast the next morning at 65€. The owner instructed us to park our bikes in the locked courtyard, then informed us that there were two restaurants in towns, Le Pistou and a more expensive option further away (I assume the restaurant at "Les Sources de Caudalie". She phoned Le Pistou on our behalf for reservations. None needed so we quickly cleaned up, changed clothes, and headed our for a walk into town for supper.
Getting through dinner was tough. The long flights and jet lag had us a bit drowsy, and that fueled with a bit of the house wine made it difficult to keep the eyes open. It was just past dusk and well past ten when we walked back to the Châteaux de Lantic for some much needed sleep.