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Vive la France!!!

sunny 30 °C

Written on July 17....

First of all, I thought that the keyboards in Spain were messed up, but the French one take the cake!! There is pretty much not a single key in the same place as "our keyboards", which means that I type like a grand-ma who's just been put in front of a keyboard for the first time!!!, with the exception that my fingers automatically go for the "old" key location on pretty much every keystroke! arrgghh!! You thought there were a lot of typos in my blogs before!!! (well at least it forces me to read them before posting them... I guess! but what a pain!!!) Furthermore, they've configured the PC here (at the hostel) so that we basically can't do anything with it other than Internet and Word... aka hid the Start button so we can't play in the control panel...

Anyway, other than that I'm very happy to be in France and I'm totally enjoying being able to understand anything anyone says at anytime! It feels so free and easy!!! Well, free in the sense of "not trapped", not in the sense of inexpensive, because free it is not!!! Gees!!!! I didn't take surfing lessons in San Sebastian because they were 50E/day, so imagine my face when I heard that a day of going around wineries and wine tasting was 85 (!!!!) E !!!! I could have gone on a 1/2day for 30E, but by the time I had wrapped my head around the idea, the tour was full... oh well, I guess I'll gust have to go in the Okanagan (or whenever I come back to France, which is bound to happen anyway); So instead I took a walking tour of the Old Bordeaux, which was quite nice and instructive. I got a few decent pics to post some other time (the PC here is -not surprisingly- locked in a wooden box).

However, despite my relief at being in a country where I can fully communicate, I must admit that I'm very tired...it may be from the massive cold that kept me in bed all day yesterday (or maybe I got the cold because I'm tired...), but I think it's still the "having to plan transportation & accommodation in a foreign city, pack my stuff and go every other day" syndrome... It doesn't help that I didn't have a guide book yet (until today) and that the one I ended-up with it not that great at all... I found out that there is a reason why Lonely Planet is so widely used, it's because it's BY FAR, the most comprehensive and useful and user friendly guide out there!!! Coming a far second is the Michelin guide, but it barely compares... Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single edition of LP France, in English or French, anywhere. It seems the French prefer to sell guides for every single region separately (not exactly useful!!!), so I ended-up with a Reader Digest guide; with decent maps and a stupid little tourist blurb on every region/city (no "how to get there" or "hostel/hotel listings" though!!!), so I feel a bit left alone on the "find a place to stay" front. Luckily, the Auberge de Jeunesse are everywhere here, and apparently invariably the cheapest option; so I just find the one in my next destination, call and book (knock on wood, been lucky so far with bed availability). However, in these places, I always end-up in the dorms, which I also think I have to get used to. I find sharing sleeping quarters with 4 to 6 people a bit draining, but I'll get used to it I guess (double unfortunately, in the Auberge de Jeunesse, they separate girls and guys dorms, so I don't even get eye candy...That must be why my batteries are so low! hehehe

Nevertheless, the French people are very nice, very friendly and welcoming. Today I got a hair cut (at the only "no name, not fancy and therefore not expensive" place I found. It was a small salon, and my hairdresser had been there 17 yrs! She knew all her clients by name, their history, the whole thing! So cool!!!
Well, that's that for that, heading off to La Rochelle tomorrow and from then I've booked a "kind of tour", with ze-bus; where they drive around a loop, through certain cities, and we get to get off wherever we want and stay for however long we want in each city, and just hop on the next bus (generally a couple of days later). Furthermore, they reserve places in the local Auberge de Jeunesse for us, which I hope will alleviate my "fed-up'ness" over the next 4-8 days!!

Posted by Mistrale 11:25 Archived in France

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