Day 39-July 3, 2016-Wine and Olives
Temp up to 102 today but, believe it or not, quite comfortable.
There’s one bird who stays up all night and chirps right outside our window, he sounds lonely.
One of the hardest places to find and one of the best places we’ve been is The Abbey of New Clairvaux Vineyards. Operated by the Catholic Benedictine Trappist Cistercian Monks (The Order of the Strict Observance). They dedicate their lives to communal prayer and manual labor. The directions say “go left over the railroad tracks and look for the cross”, and that’s exactly where it is, just don’t blink. First we drove through miles and miles of nut and olive orchards, past the big “olive with the toothpick in it” that was in much better shape last time we were here, it looked a bit weather beaten. The wine is really good, made by the 25 monks who live here. We didn’t see any on this visit but have seen them in here the past. Prices are much better here, too, a nice bottle is about $12-14. They hold retreats here, have an abbey and church on the grounds which are surrounded by acres and acres of beautiful trees. Very peaceful place. Moved on to Lucerno Olive Oil Co. and tried their oils and vinegars but we know we liked The Olive Pit’s better. So on we went. The Olive Pit has an olive tasting bar, about 20 different varieties on tap, a vinegar tasting bar, a sandwich and ice cream luncheonette (they put peach and chocolate vinegar in their ice cream), olives, nuts, oils, vinegars, cheeses, sauces, syrups, etc., etc., etc. In the back there’s a wine and craft beer tasting bar and we tried a little of each. Again, good wine and good prices. Very busy on this Sunday/Holiday week-end. We’re finding out a lot about the culture in this area. Learned it’s olive and nut orchards, not groves, almonds are pronounced aa-minds (the a like in cat, silent l), rice is grown and shipped from here to Japan, and the drought is making life miserable for the farmers. It’s so interesting to speak to the locals and learn things I never even thought about. Back to the campground. I went in the pool, still really refreshing, just the right temp, not too warm, not too cool. Sat outside after dinner, it’s really comfortable especially when the sun goes down.