Published: March 15th 2011February 19th 2011
My bus ride from Barcelona to Toulouse was not bad considering it went from 1am til 7am! I met a really cool French chic on the bus who was from Bordeaux and had been visiting her Spanish boyfriend in Barcelona. We talked almost the whole way in French! Felt good to kinda speak a language again! After mumbling in Spanish & Serbian for so long!
I arrived in Toulouse at 7am on a Sunday morning. There was absolutely no one around, no shops were open except a couple of cafes & the only people in the streets or cafes were drunk men… mostly northern African sleezy men who insisted on shouting me a drink (among other things) :/ urgh!
I started to hate Toulouse, feel disappointed about being there & wonder what on Earth I was going to do there ALONE FOR 5 DAYS!… couldn’t check into my hotel room coz it was way too early, which sucked coz all I wanted to do was shower & sleep (after being up all nite)! Lady at hotel told me about a Sunday market around the corner… so I decided to check it out… on my way there, as
I walked past the fruit market, I bumped into Vincent (the French guy we had met & hung out with in Vietnam) =) small world! We exchanged numbers & agreed to meet up another time… I was already starting to feel better about Toulouse =) hahaha! It helped when my brain kicked in & I realised that I had arrived there VERY early on a Sunday morning! So ofcourse NO1 was around!!! Its like arriving in a Spanish city during siesta time... people are clever & sleep on Sunday mornings =)
I arrived at the market which is held in a beautiful church courtyard & is exclusively African run! I forgot I was in France! Haha… but felt great to be alone again, felt great to be at such a colorful market, felt great, I no longer hated Toulouse =) but I was starting to feel really exhausted & about two hours had passed, so I went back to hotel for my looooonnnngggg nap… note to me: it really is great how quickly I can get over a bad mood - ie. it only took me a couple of grumpy hours to warm up to Toulouse, to not hate it, to get into the feel of it... by that afternoon I was madly in love with this city & it continues to be one of my fave cities of this trip
After sleeping & showering I went out to explore Toulouse with a fresher attitude! As time passed and as I discovered her magic, I slowly fell in love with this city. It certainly helped to be alone again… as much as I’ve loved the company of others during this trip, I’ve also cherished the times I’ve had on my own… it’s always a different experience & it somehow makes everything that happens & in particular everyone you meet, special in a unique way – I guess it’s just my
experience with “them”. There were times I wished I smoked, not only coz everyone in France seems to smoke… but coz I would find the cutest & funkiest little cafe & sit down to enjoy a drink… & feel really bizarre to be alone & not doing anything… but I held off & didn’t succumb to the desire ;p
I caught up on a lot of stuff in Toulouse... found a little laundry where I
washed all my highly travelled clothes... found a great net cafe with a VERY handsome young African man working there! heehee... was fun going in every day & playing the little flirting game with him until one day whilst I was peacefully chatting to loved ones in other countries, I felt him right up against me (from the back) with his mouth practically on my cheek asking me if I was ok... erhm! How do u say "I was ok til YOU freaked me out!!!" in French??
Vincent & I hung out a couple of times too... he showed me some really cool graffiti art in the streets, met some of his friends (major nosebleed - as my pinoy buddies would say) trying to speak French to them all!!!
I also walked ALL over the city about 10 times in 5 days - it really isnt that big; ate HEAPS of nice food - nice to finally discover real French cuisine (a refreshing change from Jamon y Queso in Spain)! Overall, I loved Toulouse & would love to go back there some day....
Whilst I was galavanting around Toulouse, Ola had already arrived in Capbreton to spend time
with her friend Justine. She sent me a couple of messages saying I should meet her there & I thought "sure! why not?" so off I went on some bus or train... cant remember now! haha... met ola for a day chez Justine - this turned out to be a great decision that I made, coz I finally got to try surfing!! life goal #65
. We also went to a cute market w Justine's boyfriend's sister (or was it Justine's sister)... ah memories!!! :p
yeah anyway, it was a nice day... thank you Justine, your boyfriend (forgot his name too) i'm soo bad! Ola and the sister... =)
Ola and I left Capbreton together (weird I know, got so used to splitting up then meeting somewhere) and went to Bordeaux (another great city and a place I'd always wanted to visit - mostly for the wine ;) hehe)
& wine we did!!! hahaha... drank heaps of it with great varieties of cheese =) Bordeaux certainly lives up to its reputation... its a gorgeous city with an amazing water feature that people can run thru.. check out the pics... We also struck it lucky with our hotel and got a
cheap rate thanks to this weird couple we bumped into where the guy was about 25 and the woman about 55 and they were meant to stay together but suddenly had to leave (they were from Bordeaux nor were they from the same cities in France).. they certainly looked like they were having a suspicious rendez-vous there... but couldnt go on with it, so we got their room at a cheap price! Vive l'amour!!! hehe
After a couple of days of roaming around Bordeauz w Olalalah we met up with Anthony, kez & marty & drove to Maz’s parents' house near Bergerac (a gorgeous countryside town in the heart of the wine region and full of beautiful sun flowers!! We had pre-planned to spend this weekend with Maz and her parents. Anthony lives in Lyon so he flew in from there, Kerry & Marty were touring Europe pre living in Prague for 6mths, Maz and Hart were visiting France (family and friends) and Ola and I were travelling too! haha...
The weekend was more than amazing! Maz's parents are the cutest people ever who went out of their way to be so hospitable, conversational (only in french), warm, friendly,
helpful and cooked the best 7course dinners with 5 or 6 bottles of wine each nite starting from 10pm til about 2am!
yes, I did put on a lot of weight in this weekend... and it would take me a long time to shed it off!! but it was well worth it! in the day time we visited some of the local wineries, sampled their products, had a picnic lunch, saw a castle or two and ate some more!!
All I can say is Bordeaux spoilt me!!! Nothing I ate tasted as good for a while after & DEFINITELY no wine I tasted was anywhere near good enough!!! for a very long time! hehe
santé everyone =) preview to next entry
In true "Ola-Hala" fashion, we split up again after Bordeaux - Marty and Kerry were kind enough to drop us off in Toulouse airport where Ola had pre-booked a direct flight to Athens / Thessaloniki to meet Ange, whilst I had to spend an entire day in Toulouse before catching a later flight to Athens and then a bus from Athens to Thessaloniki :/ (sometimes it's good to book things in advance!)
I caught up with Vincent again for a whole day & we "made sweet tourism" together hehe (private joke between Kerry, Marty & I) :p
There are more photos below