In the last two days, I've spent 11 hours on train or bus zooming through the French country side. Yesterday, I went from Bayonne to Toulouse by train, Toulouse to Carcassonne by Bus (very interesting drive through lots of old small villages that I was happy to see, but wouldn't want to visit).
I spent the night very much alone in Carcassonne. I found cheap lodgings in an Abbey (Notre D'am Abbey to be exact). It was a four person dorm, but I had it to myself. This was a good and a bad thing – Bad because I depend on the places I'm staying to be how I'm going to meet people, so I was a bit isolated. And good because with the whirlwind of people I just left, and am about to meet, I try to appreciate and value my alone time when I get it, so being alone wasn't a big deal. Carcassonne is very picturesque – basically the old part of the city is a full on little castle town with high walls you must walk up to and then through. It's easy to feel like you are in a different century in a place like that. I bought a bottle of wine, and spent the night walking around the old castle city, perching on walls occasionally, and making toasts in Spanish to myself and to the things that I saw. I'm determined not to forget the Spanish I've learned while i'm in France for the next few weeks. I'm listening to Spanish podcasts still. And I have a Spanish book. But occasionally I think I will just have to walk around talking to myself in Spanish too. Llamame loca (call me crazy). As I was walking around the French castle town last night, I heard some people speaking spanish too! And started a conversation, learned they were from Avila (close to Madrid) told them I had lived in Madrid... it was fun. I think I may make it a goal to start up short conversations in Spanish when I hear it being spoken too. My French is nonexistent, so it's nice to be able to communicate with someone not in English.
Now I'm on a train to Lyon. About an hour and half more to go. Lot's and lot's of countryside... a preview of what is to come next week since this is the area I'll be working on a farm starting on the 14th.