Saturday, March 8, 2003

super easy going day yesterday. i slept late, then walked around bordeaux a little bit. it's actually not that exciting. treated myself to a fashion magazine in english (it was ELLE) and went back to my room with some groceries. pretty much kicked back, did some travel planning, read my magazine, read my book and watched some tube. i haven't had a true "down day" like that since i got here, so it was nice.

was feeling pretty lazy again this morning, and around 10:30 the cleaning woman was knocking on my door. i didn't really understand her, but i tried to tell her that i wasn't ready for her to clean my room yet. and she went away. i'm sure i'm ruining this woman's whole schedule by sleeping late. but oh well. this is like my vacation from vacation, i'm taking it easy.

so good news though! got an e-mail today from Snapfish! (they're developing my film and putting it online) that my photos are ready, and i've had a little peak, but this computer and the internet connection here are both deathly slow, and so i'm going to wait until i am somewhere else to try to share the albums and put a few photos on the site. soon, though, soon. i also had about half a roll leftover from home, which consists of mostly my pets. :) they are soooo cute.

well, i've got to get some more bread to make a sandwich from my leftover fillings and then at 1:15 i'm meeting at the tourist office to leave for my chateaux tour. should be fun.

Friday, March 7, 2003

i am now settled in to my lovely little room in bordeaux. and it's great, i spent last night watching tv! it's been a very long time since i've done that. there are two channels in english, the BBC and Mtv, which is only partly in english (it's subtitled in french), but they only show videos (mostly american videos) and "making the video" (but only for videos that have been out a while in the US). i still watched it. :) my room also has it's *own* toilet, shower and sink, which is very exciting. a lot of single rooms will have only a sink or if you're lucky a sink and a shower, with the toilet down the hall. so this is real luxury. and for only 16 euros a night!

spent most of yesterday trying to find a grocery store to get a couple things and also get my bearings a little around my hotel. took forever to find the grocery store, but they have something that i could make in my room (with no kitchen equipment) - it's like "cup of noodle" kind of stuff, only they also have different things like a shepard's pie kind of one and pastas with sauce, as opposed to soup. and all i have to do is put hot tap water in, cover it up and set it on my heater for 5 minutes and voila! a non-sandwich meal!

today i'm going to explore some of the sights in bordeaux. tomorrow i'm going with a tour group from the tourist office to the chateaux in Medoc, which should be a good time. (wine tasting is always a good time) sunday i may take a trip out to St. Emilion, which is another chateaux, but also a cool little medieval city.

so i'm not really sure yet what i'm going to be seeing today (i was watching tv instead of planning my day last night) but i think i'll start with a coffee in a sunny cafe while i flick through my guidebook.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

my last day in toulouse today, and i'm treating myself pretty well. :)

there was an open air market in the main place this morning, so i wandered through. haven't picked up any souvenirs for myself yet, mostly because the things i want are all like clothes i don't need right now or want to carry with me or dishes, ceramic things and such that would get broken and be too heavy to carry for another month and a half. might mail some stuff home at some point, but i have a feeling it will be pretty expensive... so don't want to have too much stuff sent.

seen some sights today, and some museums. after i finish typing this i'm taking myself to a movie, in english, and then i'm taking myself out to the sushi restaurant near my hotel and possibly to another museum near the hotel that is open late on wednesday nights.

tomorrow i'll be off again, to bordeaux this time, to another single room! this one possibly with TV, so come sunday when everything shuts down i'll have something to do.

not much to say today, oh well.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

well, "ugh" again. it wasn't until i was on the train to albi that i noticed that the toulouse-lautrec museum isn't open on tuesday!!!!!!!!!! i'm quite upset, as i am a fan of the silly little man's posters. (if anyone ever saw my living room in cambridge...)

so i got there and walked around a bit and not even the tourist office was open during lunch, so without a map i parked it on some bench and ate my lunch. (brown bagging it for a few days after my expensive misunderstanding meal yesterday).

when things finally started to open a bit after 2 i realized the only other thing i wanted to see in albi was the cathedrale de st..... st somebody, can't remember. but it was absolutely magnificent (i'm not being facetius, i just can't remember the name of the saint) the stonework was so unbelievable, extremely delicate, it looked almost like silk in some places, and of course beaucoup de gargoyles, which i loved. the inside was pretty cool as well, there are some amazing paintings on the walls, the big one at the altar (no, that's no the right word.... is it? you know what i mean) depicted the last judgement, which was quite cool. talk about trying to scare people out of sinning... how catholic. ;P

so after that i really had nothing else to do in albi and caught the early train back here. but the sun is shining finally, which is great.

so time to pop into the grocery store for another loaf of bread and maybe some sort of vegetable (in an attempt to be healthy). tomorrow i'm planning a lovely day in toulouse, and possibly treating myself to a movie, in version originale, chicago! v. exciting.

Monday, March 3, 2003

what could have been a great day has not really been.

i'm spending the day in carcassonne today, which is this amazing walled castle - story book kind of city. it really is amazing. but it's also raining. and so exploring the city and soaking up the beauty of it all on a park bench are not what they could be. also my travel umbrella is of a low quality and so after too much time in the rain it starts to seep through to the underneath part and drip onto my head and shoulders. no fun. the parks in this city are so nice and filled with flowers and beautiful fountains and stuff, i would have loved to spend the afternoon there. but no, but no.

also i wanted to get cassoulet while i was here, it's the local speciality. basically it's a stew with white beans, sausage and duck. so i found a restaurant with an 11 euro menu which included a salad, the cassoulet, and a dessert. but there was some confusion about the dessert bit, i wanted fromage blanc (which i wrote about a few days ago) but somehow it wasn't an option or i was misunderstood and instead had a plate of different cheeses, more like a cheese tray, that put an extra 4 euros on my bloody bill. so was feeling a bit cheated. c'est la vie.

did have a pretty pleasant sunday for once, despite the rain (it is always bad weather on sunday, i don't understand). found a small family run kind of grocery store and was able to pick up some wine and cookies to go with my sandwich and spent a pleasant evening in a warm room (the whole hostel in arles was quite chilly) reading.

i think the rain is finally supposed to let up tomorrow, and i'll be going to albi for the day, which was the home of toulouse lautrec before he ran off to paris to poster the moulin rouge. should be good.

Sunday, March 2, 2003

seems like i've had a very long day traveling... and it's only 3pm! my train left arles at 10 and by 1:30 i was in toulouse. there was a breif period of sun while i was on the train, so i had hopes of heading into sunnier territory. but no. it's is raining here.

despite the rain, my first impression of toulouse is that i think i'll like it here. i was able to find my hotel without much trouble. though my room is pretty hilarious. it is a single room (not a dorm) so there's a little single bed, a sink, a table and chair, and a closet. with about 3 square feet of carpet in the middle. but i'm not complaining, it's only 17.50 *and* it has a window. (the window looks over the "hall" which seems that it was previously a courtyard which is now covered on the top). the hotel itself is quite neat, little hallways leading all around and lots of stairs leading every which way. and even more i'm thrilled to not have a lockout during the day! that is truly miserable when it rains and you have to stay out until 5pm.

so i've walked around some, found the internet at what i think is quite cheap prices. it is filled with pre-adolescents playing 1st person shooters, but at least they're not taking up the entire place like in nimes.

would love to find an open grocery store so i could get a few supplies (wine, bread, cheese, some sort of cookies...) but i'm pretty sure no grocery stores are open in france on sunday, so i'll have to settle for a sandwich from a street vendor. i'll live, though.

tomorrow my plan is to go to carcassonne, which is a city with a castle at it's center, surrounded by a fortress. should be fun. hope it doesn't rain!!!!