Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Cut-Rate Grand Tour: Day Seven

Monday, 12 December, 1988
La Côte St. André to Toulouse

ON THE TRAIN, ALMOST TO TOULOUSE, 5:30 PM-- Not sure why, but I feel rather scared. Maybe because it's almost dark and it's raining outside. No real reason to be scared. Toulouse is the end of the line so it's not like I'll miss my stop. And I lucked out in Valence and got this train, which wasn't listed in the Cook Guide. It's one of those that splits. Part went to Nice, part to Toulouse. Happened in Avignon. And hey, I did manage that all right . . . Taking this kept me from needing to change trains twice more. Arrival time about the same.

All sorts of geography since 9:00 this morning. From the foothills at La Côte to the Alps at Grenoble to the Mediterranean at Sète. And now the rugged wine region of the Midi.

Weather tried to clear up for awhile, but I think it's hopeless. Must be monsoon season.


"Aye, now am I in Arden, the more fool I.
When I was at home I was in a better place,
But travellers must be content."†

Took the first stab at a hotel from the Let's Go France: the Hôtel St. Antoine. Yes, the neighborhood looks lively and interesting but they neglected to mention that the corrugated-plastic-covered indoor courtyard affords the only "exterior" light to many of the rooms. And the hotel front door stays open all night, and do I really want to leave my stuff here while I make my day trips to my monasteries?

And have you noticed how the prices are always higher than in the book? This one is at 85F.

Well, I've only paid for one night. I could scout around in the morning.

Meanwhile, I'd like a good cry. It's not so much being here as a stranger in a strange land, it's more the feeling of not having a real home anywhere, not even in Kansas City. Home is someone to go to, and at my age, mothers don't count.

At this point, I think I wish that after I see or talk to Friedl* in Stuttgart I could punt the whole deal and go back to Coverdale* early.

8:15 PM-- Went out for a bit. Pretty shop windows but I wasn't up to really admiring anything. Nor to wanting to go into any of the cafés for dinner. Back to the hotel to consume the cheese and pâté I bought this morning in La Côte.

And to be professionally depressed. I know that it's really very bad. That I should be making the most of this wonderful opportunity, etc., etc. But I keep thinking, what's it all for? What's life for except to be shared? And when you're like me and always taking in and never giving out, because you have no one to give to . . . it all seems pretty pointless.

I find the bathroom here has no lock. The WC in the public corridor, I mean. And the dingy "white" (sorta) chenille (of course) bedspread has funny dark curly hairs all over the topside of it. I'm not looking forward to seeing what the sheets look like underneath-- much less, sleeping between them. The plastic-covered courtyard two floors below is lit with fluorescent lamps that glare into my room, and no telling when I'll be able to get to sleep, even when I do work up the nerve to get into this dubious bed . . . I wonder what it'd do to my bills come summer if for the sake of my sanity I removed to a place a little more like civilization? And put it on my Visa?
†Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene iv


whiskers said...

Ugh, that bed sounds nasty...


Viola Larson said...

Can't wait for things to get better.
But on the other hand getting into an argument with your husband in Paris when you don't speak french can be lonely too. But we did make up.

St. Blogwen said...

Whiskers, it wuzzz naaaasssty, indeed.

V, I trust your and your husband got back in tune in short order? Though I'm a little confused. You mean because he was the only person there you could talk to, you couldn't flounce out and chatter away with anybody else?

Viola Larson said...

Yes! And all over a bottle of soda that cost too much. How silly I know. We both laugh about it now. The really great thing is that the next morning when we went downstairs to eat breakfast there was a couple from Palo Alto in California and all four of us had a great conversation.