Thursday, June 26, 2008
The train trip to Grenoble was long but scenic as it took me back around the coast and there were some stunning sights along the way. This old lady sat next to me and she attempted to teach me french. hahaha I didnt realize but I had to change from the train to a bus and I didnt have a clue where to go. Just when I was starting to panic, the little old lady appeared and gestured for me to follow her. She took me to the bus and she sat next to me. She is my hero. What a beautiful thing to do.
Grenoble seems like a great city and I stayed in a park for a few hours before Anne returned home. Her apartment is beautiful and Anne loves to travel so we talked and talked and she taught me some more french. What a cool girl and so lovely. She cooked me a nice dinner and we sat out on the balcony and ate. We talked about France and Australia and also about Africa.
I met an american girl named Susan when I went up in the cable car to explore the Bastille and she was so so great. We chatted all about travel which was fantastic and Susan was eversmiling. We walked around exploring the town and we encountered many smiling french people.
Later on in the night we went past Chambery and to a little village called Chignin. I met Aurelia and Olivier who are heading to Australia next week. They were lovely and we went for a quick walk to see the surrounding area of the town which is surrounded by the french alps. It was a late night as we chatted so much and I loved listening to their french. Aurelia cooked a delicious meal and its so nice to experience so much french food. Olivier was funny and he has the best laugh ever.
The following day I arranged for Aurelia and Olivier to stay with my sister in their house in Melbourne. They live in a National Park so it will be a sweet experience for them. Aurelia came and collected me and we went to Villard de Lans. It was very beautiful. Wow what a great time I have had in Grenoble and the surrounding area. I cant thank Anne enough for the time and care she took in showing me around, and eventhough she was busy with work she spent so much of her time with me. Thanks heaps Anne and I hope to see you and Nicholas in Australia.
Monday, June 23, 2008
On the bus I sat next to a beautiful french girl named Julie who is studing to become a french teacher. She was lovely and she taught me more french with another student names Liza. Both very beautiful women. They wrote down some french musicians for me and also listed some french movies to watch.
I arrived in Nice and it was extremely hot. Finally found a backpackers and it overlooked the city of Nice as it is very high up in a mountain. Lovely views and great people staying here. I met Jennes from Berlin, Penny from the UK and Manos from France. Menos will represent France in the Olympic Games later this year in Athletics and he is such a nice guy.
We sat up talking about our experiences in France and we had some wine together. Jennes loaned me his book on Morocco so that I could write down some information as I will head there soon. Penny is on a world trip and I will meet up with her later in the year in Melbourne.
The following day I went swimming at the beach for most of the day. Beautiful clear water and it was so nice to just have a relaxing day at the beach. It wasnt the main beach so it wasnt so crowded. In France something that amazes me is the way french people on the beach will come and put their towels right beside you. hahaha they dont seem to like their space like aussies do. The people in Nice havent been the friendliest. They seem to be sick of tourists and they dont seem to smile very much. Not sure why this is as they live in a beautiful city, have lots of sun and amazing beaches. I even had a guy mimick my poor french in an internet cafe. At least I do try to speak french, even if it is poor.
In the hostel I met many great French people including Jean-Pierre who is a great guy and we talked a lot and drank some wine together as well. He was staying in the same dorm as me. I was telling him all about couchsurfing. The following morning I caught a train towards Grenoble.
I caught a bus to Aix en Provence, which was very beautiful. I stayed in a hostel that was hosting spanish secondary school students and I got to play table tennis against them and I also got to know the teachers as well. I walked around exploring the streets and met two nice German guys named Henning and Tobias and also a girl from the USA named Grace.
We went out to see lots of live music and it was a relaxing time as we also listened to music while relaxing in the parks. I also got to visit casis which is just gorgeous and I loved this area very much. I had the dormitory to myself for two nights which was just great as it wasnt so expensive. Aix En Provence is a beautiful town with many trees and many old buildings. I loved it very much.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The train ride from Perpignan was eventful and as usuaul I met many good people. I met two guys and a girl and their dog. Their names were Matthew, Porpoise and Lulu. Anyhow they were the most friendly people. They offered me some wine, which I gladly exepted and they told me that all three of them live in tents.
They were heading to Marseille for a holiday but they didnt buy train tickets. Anyhow I sat with them and they were just so nice and you could tell that they were very special people. Unfortunately the ticket inspector came on board and he fined them 60 euros each and 15 euros for the dog as well. They were so nice I felt so bad for them but they all laughed and said they wouldnt pay the fine anyway.
My fist impression of Marseille was that the people werent so friendly however I couldnt have been more wrong. I made my way to Jess and Rafs apartment and I think my backpack may have lnocked a french woman as she was glaring at me. The people on the tram could have moved down a bit for me to make room but unfortunately I was stuck in the doorway blocking peoples paths.
Finally I got to meet Jess and Raf, who are such great people. Their apartment is really nice and they made me feel very welcome. I sat up talking to them and jess made me some dinner.
The next day I set out very early to explore Marsielle. I had the best day possible as there was a special photography exhibition on showing different people from different countries and I loved it very much. It was in the wharf area which is just beautiful. Later on I watched the beach volleyball, wow the french are good at this. Later on still I explored the streets of Marseille taking many photographs along the way. I met a couple of french tourists who lived in the next town to Gildas parents so I told them all about my travels and they seemed impressed. They were very nice people.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Romain's mother Fransoise met me at the railway station and although she doesnt speak English and my french is still bad we were able to communicate. The town looks amazing and as I had met some locals on the train I thought that the french people in this town would be friendly.
Fransoise is such a lovely lady and she drove me to her house in town. She has two cats and a gorgeous little dog named Kelly who reminds me of Monty. Her house is so so nice.
I spoke with Romain and Christelle on the telephone and then Fransoise took me to a music talent concert in an old castle. Wow it was amazing as the young french singers had such amazing talent and the music and singing was beautiful. Clement, the son of a friend of Fransoise was in the competition and I sat watching with the whole family. They cheered and clapped when he went onto the stage. They also had a Cabaret act on and it was such a brlliant night. We got back at about 1 am in the morning and I loved every minute of the night. I forgot to mention Fransoise showed me around the Castle which was beautiful.
The following day I walked around Perpignan and walked up all the alley ways exploring the city. I found a Moroccan market which was very colourful. Then I continued on and finally managed to walk back to Franoise's house. She took me to the beach about 10kms away and we went down to where the boats were anchored and also to see the foreshore. Also we walked out onto the pier as well and spoke to a fisherman. Kelly, Fransoises dog came with us and was really active in running around. Not like Montie and Mollie who are getting old.
It was sad to leave Perpignan as I liked Romain and Norbert's mum very much and although she couldnt speak english and I couldnt speak french we managed to understand each other and have a laugh. She was so so good to me.
I travelled to Carcassonne by train. I met this great french guy Alec, at the Toulouse Railway station and he is a musician. As it turns out he was sitting near me on the train and we chatted the whole way. He grew up in Nepal and now lives in Carcassonne. Anyhow he showed me all around town when we arrived and he was such a down to earth guy. I finally walked to the youth hostel which is inside an old castle. Wow it looked so amazing and is a highlight of my journey. I walked around the castle and some of my photographs should be amazing.
The people in the hostel were so friendly and I shared a dorm with two canadian guys. I also met a couple of other really nice Canadians there as well. Anyhow I had dinner with many travellers before taking a night walk around the town.
The next day Alec met me and we went to the local makets to buy fruit and vegetables for his grandparents. He is such a great person. Then went back to the hostel where I spoke to a Japanese guy and he walked with me to the alway station.
Unfortunately my train was cancelled but I couldnt understand the french, so I had to exchange my ticket which caused a few anxious moments but eventually I caught the train to Perpîgnan in the south of France. I sat next to the most beautiful girl I have ever met in my whole life and she spoke some english. hahaha Im in love in France. Just kidding, she was really nice and very helpful.
The train pulled into Perpignan and I wondered what adventures lay ahead.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I left Nantes by train and made my way back to Bordeaux. I had such a great time up North with Gildas family taking good care of me. The highlights being many but staying with his parents in a small country french village was brilliant, cycling beside the river and heading to a music festival was another highlight, staying with Claudine and her family annd seeing a french family in their day to day life was another highlight and of course the beach party was great fun as well. It was with sadness that I left the North.
Finally I arrived back in Bordeaux and I mer up with Steph and James who were just the same happy and friendly. I walked around the city a little lore to have one last look at it and I had a great talk with Steph. She really is a special person.
The following afternoon I boardered a train heading south to the city of Toulouse. I had heard many good things about Toulouse from friends so I was feeling quite excited. I arrived at the train station and I walked to Steff's apartment. Her apartment is very beautiful and set out really nicely. She sleeps in a sort of loft and I love the layout of her apartment.
Later that night Steff showed me around Toulousse. Wow she really knows her city and it is so so beautiful. She knows a lot about the history of the city and also she took me to see some beautiful places. We walked beside the river and down all these narrow streets. Toulousse is a university town so it has a good vibe to it. Later on we had these beautiful pizzas in a little cafe and Steff talks a lot about french people and the french culture which is good for me.
Friday, June 6, 2008
I walked around Nantes looking at all the sites before catching the train to Ancenis. A nice lady on the train told me where to get off so that I wouldnt get lost. Jean Luc was there at le gare to meet me and he drove me to his maison in le Marillais. I met Gaby, Gildas mama and they both made me feel so welcome.
Their maison is very beautiful and straight away I felt very at home in their house. Their cat "puss" took an instant liking to me. They have a beautiful big garden in the back yard and many vegetables growing in it.
That night Gaby cooked me a beautiful french dinner and I drank wine which was so beautiful. The french hospitality has been so great and te people seem always to be excited to meet an australian. It was nice to meet Gildas parents as I got on so well with him in Australia. As it turns out I am sleeping in Gildas old bedroom. I didnt realise he was such an athelete and also rode motorbikes as well when he was younger.
The next day Gaby and Jean Luc took me bicycle riding. First we rode through their little village of Le Marillais. I saw a little church and it is such a sleepy little village. It is great. Then we cycled to Nicole and Pierrot maison which is also beautiful. Nicole speaks some english. We then rode our bikes along side the riviere la loire which is one of the biggest rivers in France.
The bicycle ride was scenic and we passed churches and an abby on a hill. It looked fantastic. We crossed over two big bridges and we went to Varades where we saw a festival which was all about the conservation of the river la loire.
Later that night we went to a musical festival which was brilliant. It had people flying through the air playing violins and was unreal. It also had a great deal of street music with a parade and it was so much fun.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Finally I found the swimming pool where she works and I met up with her. Claudine is so so nice and she has a smile as big as Gildas. She drove me 50 kms to her home near the ocean where her and her husband and three children live. They were all so friendly and welcoming and straight away I liked all of them. Her husbands name is Jacki and her children are Carmela, Niels and Phillipine. They all made me feel at home and Jacki cooked me a beautiful dinner.
Then we went bicycle riding through the little town and along the coast. I played a bicycle racing game with Niels where I pretended it was Australia racing against France. Me against him, but I lost!
Its such an amazing area. I felt a bit guilty as Niels gave up his bedroom so I could sleep in it.
The following day Claudine took me to see the area and along the coast. It is so beautiful but unfortunately her car broke down with a flat tyre and this french guy pulled up and helped us. So nice and so friendly.
Claudine then took me into Nantes where we saw this museum which displayed artistic and creative designs that were so amazing. The huge walking elephant made from wood and wires was incredible and I took some good photographs.
I had lunch at the swimming pool with Claudine and the children. A couple of the swimming instructors came out to talk to me in english. Its funny but I miss speaking english with my friends back home and it is difficult to learn french.
Then walked around the town of Nantes seeing the sites. Lots of statues and lots of art. It looks so amazing. It is so so beautiful and old.