Ô Toulouse!

Ok, where was I?  In a car, on my way to Toulouse with a French and Belgian guy.  Right.  The adventurous thing was, Rick and I had no idea where we were going to stay that night in Toulouse, because only one CouchSurfer had gotten back to us (but he was already hosting people, so thought it would be better if we didn’t try to squeeze in too).  We relayed this issue to Olivier and Julien, and Julien promptly texted his ex-girlfriend whom he was going to visit to ask if we could stay with them.  As luck would have it, Eléonore was also a CouchSurfer and had no problem with it, so after a few hours of driving (during which we discovered the awesome iPhone app, iDaft, which basically creates an instant party), we met her in Toulouse and crashed on a couple of mattresses in her living room.

The next day, after a breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolat, we explored Toulouse with Julien and Eléonore.  It was a day of discovery for all four of us, because Julien had previously only been there for a few days at a time, and Eléonore had just moved there from Lyon to study at the theatre conservatory.  Being theatre people, we clicked instantly, and actually ended up talking a lot about “serious life stuff” throughout the weekend.  In retrospect (now that I’m back in Germany) I think Toulouse was my favorite city out of all the ones we visited…I could absolutely see myself studying/living there…even more than in Strasbourg.  For some reason, I’m finding it difficult to convey the city’s vibe in words, but I just got an immediate feeling of comfort/happiness/freedom/relaxation when I was in Toulouse.  That manifested in how courament I spoke French, helped along by the fact that Eléonore didn’t speak any English with us.

Our time in Toulouse was relatively short, only two days, but we tried foie gras for the first time (blegh..not so great…poor ducks) and enjoyed other French culinary pursuits, including magret de canard with a honey-onion sauce made by Julien.  I didn’t focus on taking too many pictures, but the ones I do have are here.  It’s a different atmosphere altogether in the south of France… One thing to remember is that they kiss on the cheek three times when introduced to someone, whereas in the north it’s just twice.  Aside from the beautiful weather, the high concentration of students, the alternative/artistic nature of its citizens, and the surprising number of dashingly good-looking people are making me want to have a second taste of Toulouse…

P.S. Two things I forgot to mention in previous posts that I found noteworthy:
-I kept up my tradition of making French toast for my CS hosts at least in Strasbourg, so huzzah for that.
-In Lyon, I answered a public telephone that was ringing.  Definitely one of those things that movies teach you to expect a spy or some sort of exciting super villain on the other end of the line, but it turned out to be a nice-sounding French lady who accidentally called the wrong number.  Ah, well, c’est la vie!

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