Saturday, September 8, 2012

On The Move in Toulouse

Carolyn opening the gate to Nancy's apartment

 I finally got a picture of Nancy's door into her courtyard.  This blocks out all the traffic and city noises.  Last night we met there for dinner.  Our cousins, John and Alice, from Canada arrived yesterday and we all met at Nancy's for a meal and lots of catching up.  Alice's mom was my mom's older sister who lived in Indiana.  We would see them quite a bit either in Indiana or my home in Illinois.  I have very fond memories of Christmases, Thanksgivings and other big family gatherings when all of my aunts, uncles and cousins would get together.  The adults would play cards until all hours of the night and I was allowed to stay up late.  I loved hearing them laugh and joke as they played. Alice and her sister were close in age to my sisters so I was always the little girl getting into everyone's business.  I loved hanging out with the "older kids" and they tolerated me quite well.  John reminded me that on one occasion he and Alice were visiting at my house and I was heavily into Beatlemania.  They bought me the Beatles LP Rubber Soul.  Unfortunately I had forgotten that they gave it to me but I still have it--I will put a note on it so I never forget that gift!  I still love listening to those songs.
Friday night dinner

We supped on cold beet borscht--an old German/Mennonite recipe and some wonderful French baguettes and French wine.  Seriously, can it get much better than that?? 

Yesterday we went on a long walk and I was TIRED!  We took the Metro, transferred to a bus and then walked quite a way to get to the canal.  The canal was built many, many years ago as a way to take goods from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean while bypassing Spain.  There is a wonderful restaurant right by the canal where we had lunch. 

French Signs

 My legs are working just fine as long as I go slow and stop often.  I'm seeing the worm's eye view of Toulouse because my eyes are on the ground a lot looking for flat places to walk. On the walking part of our trip we saw some great French scenery.  In the background is a large sports complex on the outskirts of town.
Beautiful French Country Road

Restaurant by the Canal

Carolyn, my cane and me

Tree-lined road along the canal
 This walk was so delightful but we were 
quite sweaty by the time we got to the Metro. 
 Imagine a crowded Metro on a Friday afternoon on a hot (90 degrees) afternoon.  The cacophony of odors was almost unbearable but there was no place to go.  The rule is that able-bodied folks have to give their seat to the elderly and disabled so the three of us usually get seats but I'd almost rather stand than have a man's sweaty armpit in my nose.  Fortunately it makes frequent stops and the population of the car changes now and then.  I was never so happy to see daylight in my life. We went straight home, took a shower and a loooong nap!    

 Cobblestones and canes don't get along very well.  The streets are narrow, and the sidewalks are often one-lane only.  Today, Saturday afternoon, the sidewalks were full of people.  There were some college students parading through the square in their white lab coats chanting something and having a lot of fun.  I didn't get a picture of that because I was walking by myself from the apartment to a restaurant to meet my sisters.  I had to concentrate on where I was going--the tiny streets seem to go off into every direction and if you're not an assertive pedestrian you're likely to get clipped by a car.  The nice thing is that the pedestrians truly do have the right of way but the vehicles assume they're in charge until they see the whites of your eyes.  I actually saw two bike vs car accidents in the exact same location today less than an hour apart.  Walker and rider BEWARE!

Yes, we are eating again.  This time we are seated in the courtyard of the former home of the creator of Indigo dye.  The museum attached is actually the place where it was made from a process which makes a certain type of green and yellow flowers into a beautiful dye.  There is a store close-by that sells fabric, clothing, jewelry and much more colored with this indigo dye.  We plan on doing some shopping there next week.  And more shopping is on the schedule as well.  I may not go into detail about all the places we go!

Our view from our dining table

This was my lunch--a tuna steak with some kind of wonderful sauce, rice and lettuce salad.  I guess if I'm going to take pictures of all the food I eat I should at least get the name of the delectable dishes.  Next time I will. (For some reason the picture is upside-down and I can't figure out how to rotate it.  You may have to stand up and peer down your monitor or turn your laptop upside down to get the full effect.)

One more slightly embarrassing photo (below).  We are eating again BUT this is actually dessert from our earlier lunch.  We made that our evening meal so it doesn't seem like quite the indulgence, right?  


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