We travelled by train down to Biarritz from Hossegor, which was probably our shortest travel day ever. We are staying in an airbnb room in a family’s house in Anglet/Biarritz and since they’re super nice we were met at the station by Patricia’s mum. She didn’t speak a single word of English but we managed and she was really sweet.
As soon as we arrived at the Hossegor Surf Hostel we chucked our bags in the room and hit the beach. It wasn’t the warmest day but it was so good to see the ocean again. The hostel was nice and the owner is a champion, but it is a bit of a man cave! He is super relaxed and friendly, but this laid back approach clearly influences all aspects of his life. The place has good facilities, but it gets cold at night and wasn’t real clean. One bloke left his mash potato and sausages in the pot on the stove for two days haha, pretty gross. Seeing what the three other back packers were cooking (and leaving lying around) for dinner each night actually made us realise we are fully eating like kings for povvo travellers really. Smoked Salmon pasta, lamb and prune tagine with couscous haha, not the most economical meals. Sometimes you can waste a lot of time looking for a descent shop too, as we did one afternoon where we ended up walking about 10km through Capbreton, only for it to start raining halfway back. Ah well good excuse to stop for coffee.
Our last week and a bit in Paris was basically a blur of cycling, picnics, walks and trip planning sessions in our favourite cafes. A great little cafe right near the girls called Le Petit Indices and our local Cafe Audjourdui, where the urinal and hand basin are side by side in the unisex bathroom. Pretty awkward, but of course I had to give it a go. Weird that Heidi had to wash her hands twice while I was in there though?
Paris is an expensive city for sure but you can actually holiday (and really experience it) without feeling like your missing out on anything or having to sit at home and eat toast. We have been living and loving Paris for under AUD $70 a day (including accommodation).
For Nett’s second Parisian night we did what we do best…packed a big picnic and headed over to the Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower at sunset. We had a lovely picnic and watched the tower light up then sparkle as it does every hour on the hour. As we were chilling on the picnic rug we even witnessed a man get down on one knee and propose to his lady friend under the tower! How awesome is that!!! Everyone clapped, she squealed and then they made out for at least half an hour. On the way home we took a stroll down the Champs Élysées and around the Arc de Triomphe. We even stopped for a coffee on Paris’ most expensive street and yes it was Paris’ most expensive coffee.
Everyone knows Parisians love the arts, beautiful parks, literature, berets, pencil moustaches and croissants. Having now spent a month with these fine Monsieurs, Madams and Mademoiselles we have learned of one or two less obvious things they love.
First and foremost, NETT HAS ARRIVED!!!! It has been less than 24hrs since she did, but it’s already been great!
Just before arrivée de la Nett, we had a nice coffee with the girls in a cool little cafe. Post arrivée de la Nett, we had a nice coffee with Nett in a cool little cafe. Flat chat here!
Paris is a magical place where bad things just seem to turn out great! It all started on day two of our stay. Sitting on the lounge, eating pumpkin soup, I was suddenly met with disaster. I spilled it. Devastatingly I was wearing a white shirt (and I do mean devastating – when you are a povo backpacker and live in only 4 changes of clothes, to lose one is shattering)! Amazingly as I was scrubbing it in the sink I realised it already had lots of yellow and orange blobs in the design. Not only was the shirt going to be ok, but I didn’t even have to bother washing it! Winning!
Last Friday morning I went op shopping in the Le Marais. It was a lovely sunny morning and as I was walking down a cute little alley a man stopped me to tell me I was very pretty. First problem was he said it in French and I misunderstood him slightly, second problem is when I’m not sure what someone is saying I have a tendency to say ‘oui, oui’ (yes, yes) while my brain deciphers what they said at the speed of a snail. So… I assumed he was talking about the weather and I quickly agreed whole-heartedly with him. He looked slightly confused, I realized what was going down and said ‘ohhhh meeee?’ It was pretty awkward – blush, run.
I feel as though right now I am living every girls dream. We have a cute little apartment in the heart of Paris and a month to do nothing but explore, taste, wander, spend, drink in and photograph this amazing city. I feel the expectation this brings weighing heavily on my shoulders and I will endeavor to make the most of this situation everyday for everyone back home.
Day 50 and significant milestone #5132. Sitting in our campervan in a random vacant block between a few oldish houses in the north western country region (Picardy) we are just hoping the locals are ok with us making a short visit. If they ask us to leave we will have to head back into Le Crotoy and pay 5 euro for a patch of gravel alongside literally 50 massive winnebago’s, where there is no toilet and one tap, so fingers crossed.
(About 30 minutes after writing this in my notebook, as we were going to sleep, a torch beamed into our window. Sticking my head out, a bloke with two pretty big dogs said something loudly to me in French, surprisingly enough, which I assumed meant “buddy time to go”. When I asked if he spoke English he said something else in French that I didn’t understand. So I went with; “Pouvon nous rester ici” (can we stay here), to which he replied “Oui, bon soir”. He then turned his torch off, called his dogs to follow and walked back to his house. Crisis averted, heart resumed normal beating pattern a short 30 minutes later.)
The city itself is crazy popular for ‘camping-cars’, as the signs say in all the streets with a big red cross through it. Especially considering its not even warm yet. We are 5km out of town to avoid the signs, gravel parks and 15 euro a night caravan parks. The sun is setting a golden orange, which is pretty, but the coast itself has nothing on Oz! Its also a lovely 1’C outside. Still, the fresh prawns, crusty bread and Belgium beer aren’t bad. Bout to fry some salmon and potato slices on the camp stove with a side of coucous for dinner. Bit of camping luxury.
Getting out of the ol Chamonix was a MISSION!!!! The website said the trains weren’t running, so we thought we could catch a bus, but as we were riding the Mullet Bus (best name for a mini bus ever!) around town trying to find our bus, we saw the train pass by? Whaaat? So it was back to the train station for us and onto the train, two hours later than we were hoping to leave and not before Hiedi told the train ticket lady her name was Lyon, gold. On the way Clare, Heidi and Carmen made their way to the old town in Annecy, which Clare was pretty stoked about.
We left Lausanne in the morning and headed for Chamonix, a French Alps ski town. It should have been about a 4 hour trip however when we got to a place called Vallorcine we were herded out of the train and told to wait for a bus. The bus never came and our poor French combined with the train lady’s non existent English meant we didn’t really know why. When the bus did arrive 1.5hours later the driver explained that there had been an avalanche over the road and they could only let 5 cars through a one time….there goes the afternoon.