Katie' Pau Life En France

Ma vie En France

La ville Rose April 13, 2010

Okay….continuing on from the last blog, we arrived in Toulouse just before sunset.

 

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Being far from the Pyrenees, stones are expensive to ship here and thus most of the buildings are built out of bricks, which is a sign of poverty. Notice how this church was constructed with stones at the bottom and more and more bricks as it was finished? Apparently their budget ran low…

 

Oh, did I even mention we spent Friday night in Toulouse? Got to stay in a hotel Friday – nice break from the hostels. Than Saturday morning we had a tour of the town (really just a tour of 3 churches), which was very informative and pretty interesting overall. Not going to lie though, it is much, much easier for me to space out when I’m listening to French than English.

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One church had the feet of Saint Christopher (patron saint of travelers) in it. People could pray here and touch them for better feet (yep, I touched them). Elly said they looked more like monster feet than those of a saint!

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His body used to be painted here as well, but time (and dirty fingers) has erased it.

 

After the tour we had another giant lunch! The entree was good, but a rather heavy and American-like dish of mashed potatoes, mushrooms and chicken. I only took pictures (or stole from Kim, icr) of my favorite courses!

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Mousse

 

We walked off the mousse by exploring le jardin des plantes in the afternoon. I don’t know why they call it that though, seemed more like a jardin des oiseaux to me!

“This is like your heaven!” Elly said, with a bit of panic in her voice, because unlike me, she hates birds. The peacock freaked her out a bit – I thought it was awesome though, especially when it chased this poor little duckling into the water!

 

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And afterwards we crossed a couple bridges, went through another park and then into the shopping area.

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Got some free gum!

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And finally returned to Pau for the night. Great excursion!

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Carcassonne! April 12, 2010

Filed under: Travels in France — katiespaulife @ 7:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I wrote this blog last week, but I haven’t had time to post it until now. Just got home from Spain today, the specific blog entry was about Friday, April 2nd:

 

Had my final USAC excursion (aside from the upcoming Paris finale). It was to the medieval city of Carcassonne and la ville rose, AKA Toulouse. My main goal for the weekend was to get in contact with my French family. My dad sent me an email with more names and after searching online once more I discovered I have a relative in Toulouse! I used Elly’s phone to call him from Carcassonne and I got an answer so I eagerly/nervously asked for Renee. This guy said he wasn’t Renee and I had the wrong #. Followed this up, by trying to call my other relative who lives in Moissac, and the phone just kept ringing, ringing and ringing with no answer. One more attempt was made (without success) again later that day in Toulouse. I think I’m going to give it another shot from a phone in Pau, but it looks as if I will not be reaching my family.

Luckily, that was the only disappointing part of my day (well that and an unsuccessful hunt for ice cream). I hung out with Elly for most of the trip and (considering this was the day after our week long trip to Ireland and we still aren’t sick of each other) I think I’ve made an awesome friend through USAC. She rocks!

 

DSC02545 Out of all the cities from the middle ages, Carcassonne is the most intact (according to my program director). I loved the fact that people still live inside the fortress, but the outrageous number of souvenir shops and over-priced restaurants made me feel more as if I was in a counterfeit world of Disneyland than a medieval city. Because of this, I think prefer St Malo to Carcassonne, the history felt more authentic there and it is right on the Atlantic!

 

 

 

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And as with every USAC excursion, we were given a 3-course lunch! The starter was one of the best salads I have ever had:

 

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*stole this pic from Kim

 

The bread was delicious!! In the middle was a toasted slice with warm goat cheese on top. A lot of cheese for a salad, but it was soooooo goooood!

 

The entree was Cassoulet, but since it was Good Friday I ate with the vegetarians and we got a horrible entree. It was boring and bland, luckily I wasn’t hungry after that salad.

 

And dessert was pretty good….not sure what to call this though, some sort of cake with a pear inside:

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*also stolen from Kim

 

After lunch Elly and I walked around the city and we ran into some USAC kids talking to a man who called himself, “The Golden Elf”. Definitely an insane dude dressed in a very bizarre outfit. He claimed to come from the North Pole and drew the group a map, which was solely a penciled X on a blank piece of paper.

 

It was amusing at first, until I realized he was completely serious and this USAC group was videotaping him and clearly mocking him with their questions. And I got the feeling he knew he was being mocked. Elly looked pretty upset by the whole situation, so we left the group and went to the bus a bit early.

 

Then we went to Toulouse and spent the night there, but I’ll write about that in a separate blog – don’t want to make this one too long! Kind of an awkward ending here, but I’m lazy

 

 

Oh yeah! Forgot to mention this place was filled with creepy mannequins everywhere!!

 

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(that was another reason I preferred St Malo! )

 

Oh and when I skyped my mom later that weekend, she said this was my 2nd trip to Carcassonne. So I must have gone when I was either one or four years old…