Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nimes, France = Rainy and Roman

NIMES, France - March 11 and 12

We arrived in Nimes on a beautiful day! We walked up and down the street in front of the bus station to try to find where the bus that went to the hostel was. A nice girl who only spoke French communicated to us a few times which bus we were supposed to take (despite neither of us really understanding a word). Found bus. Took said bus. And then walked 500 meters uphill with all of our luggage to get to the hostel. The walk – not fun. The hostel however- quite fun and nice. It had internet, it had cheap food, and we even had our own room. All things considered, not bad! Since when we arrived it was about 7pm, and since the place was so comfortable, we knew as soon as we got there we wouldn't be leaving for the night. And we didn't

However, had we known that the next day was going to be an endless day of rain, perhaps we would have changed our plan and left the hostel that night after all. Wandering around European cities in the cold rain makes the wandering quite a bit less pleasant. Still, we made the most of it. The streets were cute and winding. We got a cafe at a warm cafe, we saw very old Roman monuments (such as a mini Colosseum, a couple of old temples, and a beautiful gardern) And we found the best French bakery either of us had been to. It was small, it was baked goods of Lyon (city of great food where we had just left) and it was really really well priced for what you got. I bought a cheese/ham pastry there for a cheap lunch,

and it was so good and filling we went back and bought a few more things for breakfast the next day.

Because of the weather, we headed back to the hostel pretty early, stopping at a grocery along the way to buy a bunch of great stuff for a huge, cheap dinner – goat cheese, soup, tasty olive bread, broccoli... It was a really good dinner that sort of turned into our lunch too.

The next day our only goal was to go to the train station, take the next train to Montpellier, and figure out where we were going to stay. We achieved this goal, but not without more rain, some uncertainty, and a whole lot of walking in the rain. Before deciding on Montpellier, Mei and I had debated going instead to Sete, Arles, Marselle... we were both sort of indecisive people separately, so together we were really indecisive about where to go and what to do. It was a good match in this way, but consequently, we sometimes were unsure about things. For example, we left our Nimes hostel not really sure where we were going to sleep once we got to Montpellier. We had sent out a last minute couch surfing alert to the Montpellier webpage late the night before, but I wasn't expecting any results from it. However a nice Swedish lady who had been traveling around France solo with all her possessions in her car for the last few months told us all about the HI hostel in Montpellier. I sort of knew where the HI hostel was, so we knew we'd find somewhere to sleep.

We headed down to the bus to take us the twenty minute ride to the train station with our bags. ( I would guess I have 30-35 pounds of luggage with me). Just before we headed down to the bus stop (a ten minute walk at least), Mei asked, “should we check the time of the bus?” Personally I hate checking for transportation times of buses in small towns where I don't speak or read the language, so I opted not to check.... we should have checked. After walking downhill from the hostel with all of our stuff for 15 minutes in the rain because it was again a rainy day, we finally made it to the bus stop – to find out that the bus only ran once every two hours, and we had just missed the most recent one by ten minutes. Oh dear ... what to do when travel goes not according to plan? Stay positive and find the next best option. Which I did, but not without some difficulty. I was grumpy that morning to begin with because we didn't know where we were going, the rain, i'd lost a headphone, my boot had broken, and just general morning grumps. Missing the bus, and it sort of being my fault did not help. But with no other options but to take an expensive taxi ride, we decided to keep walking, in the rain, to the next bus station in the direction of the train station. When we arrived at a good bus station, there were no busses again for about 40 minutes. At this point we'd hit a stride, and Mei suggested we just walk the whole way... another 20 minutes. And this is what we did, with all of our luggage. In the rain. We stopped in a Quick to check email and grab some coffee. And it was at this lovely Quick that Mei got a text message from two very nice couch surfing girls in Montpellier asking if we still needed a place to stay that night! They also lived only 5 minutes away from the Montpellier train station! We accepted. And I have to say, this bit of news really improved my mood (as did the coffee and the rain break). So, we finished walking to the station in the rain, with all of our stuff, feeling quite proud of ourselves. Then we bought some bread, bought out tickets, and jumped on a train to Montpellier.

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