Truffle Hunting in Pernod

Today, we set out on an exciting tour to go truffle hunting in the Pernod countryside, and to tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint-Emilion. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

- Paul Coelho

November 25, 2014
This morning, I was up and strolling the decks of Viking River Cruises’ Viking Forseti at 5:30 a.m. as we entered our third full day of explorations on Viking’s new Chateaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary. Somewhere in the distance was Libourne, France, which was completely obscured by thick, London-esque fog that surrounded Viking Forseti as she anchored mid-channel to avoid “bottoming out” on the mud at low tide.

Foggy Libourne Town: looking out over the Aquavit Terrace from the 'Sun Deck' earlier this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Foggy Libourne Town: looking out over the Aquavit Terrace from the ‘Sun Deck’ earlier this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

What was impressive about this fog was that, illuminated by the ship’s spotlights, visibility over the rails of the Viking Forseti was reduced to less than a foot. Personally, I love the fog, and more importantly, I love walking through it. Fog has a lonely, beautiful quality to it and not enough people take the time to enjoy it, so I walked (very quietly) for 13 laps – or one mile – around Viking Forseti’s jogging track on the Sun Deck. Just me and the fog. Even at this early hour, the temperature was just shy of a balmy 16°C. The weather continues to impress.

It might be pea-soup-fog outside, but it's still unusually warm. No jacket required! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It might be pea-soup-fog outside, but it’s still unusually warm. No jacket required! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The fog also had the added bonus of illuminating Libourne’s magnificent medieval bridge, which just happens to be futuristically lit in shades of blue. With the thick, pea-soup fog rolling in and out, the lit blue accent circles cast stunning volumetric shadows that shone like beams of light from a lighthouse across the aft decks of the Viking Forseti.

Libourne's futuristic-yet-medieval bridge, lit with volumetric lighting in the fog. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Libourne’s futuristic-yet-medieval bridge, lit with volumetric lighting in the fog. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

After my foggy morning stroll, I made my way to the Aquavit Lounge for Early Riser’s Breakfast, which took on new meaning as once again I traded a deserted Sun Deck for an equally-deserted lounge. After one of Viking’s homemade fruit-topped yogurts and an espresso, I was feeling more human again, and set out to photograph some of Viking Forseti’s interior spaces before most of my fellow guests awoke:

Looking aft down Viking Forseti's main staircase. Note the slatted wall on the right that is unique to this ship. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Looking aft down Viking Forseti’s main staircase. Note the slatted wall on the right that is unique to this ship. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Entering the Viking Lounge, starboard side. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Entering the Viking Lounge, starboard side. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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