Toulouse and my first experience with blablacar

This morning I was so shocked when I woke up! I actually slept for 10 full hours which didn’t happen in a long time. This is already a good sign for a good start in the day! So I packed my stuff and got ready for the new challenge! As Carcassonne was a very touristic place, I just couldn’t stay there any longer without spending too much money. So I decided to go to Toulouse instead.

I went out of the hostel, enjoying the last moment in the citadel and walked down towards the city center. Now I actually saw how beautiful this city was. Not only the citadel, but also the city itself had much to offer with its small little streets and corner cafes. The people walked around like ants trying to find a way out of those small streets and it was kind of funny to look at. But I also got lost in there, as it was very easy to lose your orientation in those streets. I asked a bit around where the train station is but the people weren’t much of a help. Perhaps because my french just wasn’t good enough.

train station carcassonneI remembered though that the train station was somewhere in the north. So I looked up the sun to figure out where north was and walked towards it. Fortunately my intuition was right! Just a few minutes of walking later I arrived at the train station of Carcassonne! I was so proud of myself. At the station itself I checked for the ticket, which was 16 Euro. Unacceptable! Instead I went on my phone and searched on Google for a cheaper way to get to Toulouse. Google showed me a website called blablacar and there was an offer for 8 Euro – sold!

With the whole car booking thing was just one problem – the address. The app showed me it was somewhere in the middle of a shopping street, which couldn’t have been possible. The driver also called me and she fortunately understood English – just imagine if she couldn’t! – and described to me where to go – a shopping center 3km away. I explained to her where I was and that it was not possible for me to arrive there on time. Instead she told me to go to a post office nearby, which was easy to find. So I walked to the post office and waited for her. It was a nice lady in her 50’s with her little daughter, going to the hospital in Toulouse. There was also another girl inside who also booked a ride.

While we were driving towards Toulouse, the girls and me had a nice conversation about French politics. They told me how worried they were with Le Penne, as it really looked like she would win the election. But they were also happy about their new president they got, who is way smarter and is trying to keep Europe connected. I also told them about my plans to travel the world and that I just started a day ago. They were really impressed by it. Also when we arrived in Toulouse, one of the girls gave me some money for the bus to the city center. I tried to reject it, but she just pressed it into my hands before they went away.

After that I got into the bus and drove towards the city center, where I had no clue what to do. I already tried to find a host with couchsurfing, but so far nobody seemed interested in hosting me. Do I really look so scary? Anyway, I looked on Google Maps for the next hostel and discovered there was just one anyway and walked towards it. On my way I got lost several times, as I thought I wouldn’t need Google Maps to find my way, which was the wrong thought, but well as a guy you always know it better.

When I was finally on the right track, I discovered a huge Bastille and had to check it out. The name of it was Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse. A Bastille that hosts over 128 relics of saints and also a thorn from the crown of thorns. Not even from the outside, also from the inside it looked stunningly gigantic! And the treasures were well secured. I also saw the sign of the camino walk and figured out that you can get a stamp in there!  So I went to the Lady at the desk and she wrote down my name in the book of the church and gave me my well earned stamp.

Finished with exploring the church, I walked further towards the hostel and finally arrived there after a while. The Lady at the check-in desk was very friendly and we had a little chat about the town while I checked in. She also gave me a stamp for my pilgrim passport. The only thing that annoyed me was the price. 22 Euro for a room without even having breakfast. But I had no other choice. So I went to my room and relaxed there a bit.

toulouse beer monacoAfter a while I decided to go for a walk and tried to exit the hostel. It wasn’t easy after all, as the gate had a strange way of opening. Also 2 pedestrians saw me and asked me how difficult it was to open a gate in a sarcastic voice. So we started talking and I figured out that they were both German. Helen and Bruno their names. They just invited me for some pints in a pub nearby and Helen told me about a drink named Monaco. It is basically beer with Grenadine juice. Of course I ordered it and it was pretty tasty. The fruity taste was exactly what I needed!

We also started talking about our lives. Bruno told me that he is actually from Russia and left it when he was 6. And Helen told me about her life in South America and her 2 kids who live there right now. While we were talking we saw a guy shooting with a water gun towards a pigeon and decided to do the same! So we drunk our last pints and had some more talks and some more pints and forgot about the time until we stood actually up to find a water gun.

While we were looking for one, they also showed me a bit around the city and told me about some good locations to see and we also found a homeless guy and Helen just started talking to him. He told us about his story, when he left his home as one of his parents died and since then he is living from short jobs and travels around France. The guy also told us of the day when he was in Nice and saw the attack with the truck and watched people trying to hide in restaurants and others getting their mobile phones for filming. Since then he is always afraid of crowds, as it could happen everywhere.

toulouse cathedral gothic romanAfter having this interesting chat with him, we went to the store and had to discover that it was already closed. No pigeon hunting for us then. Instead they showed me another church, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. A Cathedral made of 2 different churches. A Roman one and a Gothic on. Honestly, it looks really weird! Like 2 centuries fused together into one. There is no other description for it! It was a pity that it was already closed but at least I was able to see the outside of it. And after this funny experience it was time for me to say goodbye to them, as my journey continued.

 

 

toulouse new friends
Me – Helen – Bruno

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