La Rochelle

After a very, very long break, I have finally gotten around to sitting down to add to this blog. All I can say is that I’ve clearly been out living my life, seeing as I haven’t really had any spare time to write any of it down. I’m not sure I’ve actually done anything all that interesting in the last few weeks… And yet here I am, 5 days away from starting my journey home for Christmas! Now that it’s this close I really don’t want to leave the lovely city of Nantes!!! I have to admit that this is mainly due to the fact that I have basically taken up residence at Mc Byrne’s Irish Pub – I now know all of the bar staff by name! – but all the same, it’s going to be a lot more difficult than I originally thought to leave France and begin all over again in Italy.

Before I get too ahead of myself writing about the here and now, I need to jump back about 3 and a half weeks!

Beth and I booked a day trip to the town of La Rochelle to take a wander around and do some sight-seeing. I definitely haven’t done enough of that here, and if I was to do it over again, that would be the thing I’d be mostly likely to change. We spent the Friday night having a couple of drinks in the Irish pub with a few friends of ours, and then we settled in for a reasonably early night (meaning about 2am), ready to get up and catch the train the next morning. What I forgot to tell Beth is that taking a trip anywhere with me is never quite that simple – I am not known for having great time keeping skills… Unfortunately that is probably my greatest flaw! For some unknown reason, I decided that I absolutely had to update my Facebook status before we left. This was before I’d finished drying my hair or doing my make-up! As a consequence we very nearly missed the train, and so the beginning of our trip was made rather stressful thanks to yours truly! I don’t think I have ever seen Beth look anywhere near that murderous!!! Needless to say, I shall never insist on checking my Facebook before taking a trip ever again.

We made it to the train with literally a minute to spare, and then we were on our way to La Rochelle. I can’t tell you much about our journey there, as I’m pretty sure I slept for the majority of it (I don’t do so well with travelling of any kind). We eventually arrived at the train station, and it was absolutely FREEZING cold there! I spent most of the day wishing that I’d decided to wrap up in warmer clothes, but unfortunately I had to make do with what I had. Luckily we still had a great day all the same. Our first stop in La Rochelle was the aquarium. We spent a lovely few hours wandering around inside (where it was warm), and I got far too excited about seeing the shark tank! I think maybe I’ve seen ‘Jaws’ a few too many times… As well as the sharks we got to take a look at all kinds of fish – including piranhas – as well as toroises and turtles.

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We finished off our day by eating in a gorgeous restaurant next to the aquarium, before taking a wander around town in an attempt not to hot chocsfreeze to death! Neither of us was able to finish our lunch of Salmon Tagliatelle, despite our best efforts to do so… There was just so much in the bowl and neither of us had room for quite that much rich food! At the end of the meal I ordered a large hot chocolate – and the amazing thing was it actually did come in a proper mug! I’ve gotten so used to seeing little espresso mugs for everything over here, that I was more than surprised to see that a large really did mean a large – and Beth ordered a Vienese hot chocolate! Hers was at least twice the size of mine… clearly she’s gotten the hang of exactly what to order over here! After lunch we made all the required tourist stops until we couldn’t stand the cold any longer! As the sun set we slowly made our way back to the train station, where we sat for 2 and a half hours in the warm for our train to arrive. For some strange reason I decided that a French copy of the latest Assissin’s Creed book would be a good choice of reading material for the train ride back to Nantes… needless to say what actually happened is that I read 2 pages and then fell asleep for the entire ride.

All in all it was a good day, very well spent! We eventually crawled back into Beth’s little cell of a university room at about 11pm after quickly stopping for something to eat. We were asleep pretty much instantly, and when we finally resurfaced at about lunch time the next morning, we decided that the most productive use of our time would be to cuddle up together under a pile of blankets and spend the whole day watching True Blood! I believe we had a trully British sunday that weekend!

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