Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Wanderer

That thing is happening where I don't have anyone to talk with so I just get the urge to blog constantly. The internet is my friend!

Yesterday I said I was going to explore Toulouse on foot, and that is indeed what I did. I walked roughly this route:



I don't know what you're talking about. I'm totally not a lunatic or anything.

Toulouse looks a great deal like Italy, which I suppose makes sense, as it's in the south of France. Also, a lot more of its medieval architecture seems to be in tact, whereas the Parisian buildings generally seem to be from the 18th and 19th centuries. The river that runs through the city is the Garonne. The water is a strange sort of yellow color, which I'm going to attribute to mineral deposits instead of pollution for the sake of romanticism. I didn't look at my map much; instead I just followed the many signs to various cultural sites. (Europe is big on signs.) I think that's how my route became so circuitous.

I wasn't planning on going inside anything, but I just couldn't help myself when I reached the Cath√©drale Saint-√Čtienne. The churches here don't seem to be as immaculately restored as in some bigger European cities, which I actually prefer--less polished is often better. I went inside the Basilique Saint-Sernin as well. It has lots of relics--supposedly including those of Saint Sernin, first bishop of Toulouse--so it was apparently a frequent stop on pilgrimages. And it has a crypt! I can't resist a good crypt. America needs to take some tips from Europe on how to be sufficiently creepy.

Streets of Toulouse

The Cathedral of Saint Etienne

The Basilica of Saint Sernin

Point Neuf and the Garonne River


I found a great place for future reading and writing trips--La Daurade, a little park (that I think used to be a port) on the bank of the Garonne. It has shade, benches, and a tiny cafe that sells 2 euro cups of tea--and 2 euro glasses of wine. Can't be good wine, but for 2 euros, who's going to complain? There's also a park on the other side of Pont Neuf, Prairie des Filtres, that I think would be good for writing. I still have to check out Jardin des Plantes, though, which is supposed to be very beautiful.

I was thinking about getting a 7-day pass for Toulouse's bike-sharing program--it's only 5 euros for a week--but now I'm not so sure. I don't have a helmet, and I'm terrified of roundabouts. Parts of the streets have good bike lanes, and parts definitely do not. As I'm not the world's most confident biker, I'm thinking I'd better stick to my feet, and possibly the public transportation.

I'm trying to find local cultural events here so that a) I have something to do and b) I can potentially meet people. That way I could talk to French people instead of the internet. While I love the internet, real human interaction would be a significant improvement. This website seems promising. We shall see where it takes me.

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