I am thus here writing of a past travel of mine. One that was indeed incredible and magical, where many lands where tamed and a lot more remained to be discovered, in times to come.
The surprise element about this trip started right at the beginning, when I realised how late it was to print out my flight ticket. Also, the fact that I hadn't contacted a single person on Couch Surfing to couch me in Tours, the city I was flying to - just one hour away from London, flying. So, here I am at Bellingham, trying to find any place near Victoria Station, where I could print out my flight ticket, being this the place where I would get my coach to Stansted Airport. However, none but an hostel named 'Gay Hostel' was within 500m. Well, I needed to print my flight so, I got my stuff ready and got the train to Victoria. Once there and after a bit of walking around the area it was said the hostel was located, I found nothing but a few closed restaurants, a lot of constructions sites - for the Olympics - and habitation/office buildings. Damn, where to go... where can I find, at 2 in the morning, a place to print something? I was saying this, heading to the coach station when I looked to my left to see but a fancy hotel, called 'The Cavalry Palace Lounge'. Got inside, to be amazed by all its lux, head to the desk and asked for a printer to get my flight tickets out. For my surprise, I was only asked for a pen, which I had with the file and within a sec I had the real thing in my hands, thus saving 30£ of my pocket! Fewwww! I ready to go to France!!! :D
Curious fact: If you want to from London to France, it'll take you only about one hour, if you fly to central France, which was my case. This journey starts in Tours, heading then north, by hitchhike to Le Mans, where I should, if lucky enough, get another lift to Coulans s/ Gée, where Damada is gonna be held. Another spicy thing to the trip. I went to Tours without any sort of accommodation arranged. This happened because I send the requests too short noticed and flew to Tours with no reply whatsoever. What I knew though was that, if no CSurfer could get me a corner for me to sleep, I would have hostels to sleep at.
|A chateau on the outskirts of Tours, viewed from the Airplain|
|Also part of Santiago de Compostela's route,|
|Cathedrale St. Gatien!|
In very little aspects alike Porto, I found Tours very similar to my hometown. Not in terms of how the city is organised or the own aspect of the city - the influences are very distant, in some aspects, but rather the feeling when walking around Tours. This was a city that really made me feel like at home. I guess this happened probably due to the contrast between the old part of Tours and it's population, which I really found young. Also, the light, the mood and good looking people helped one feeling happier and more tranquil. Adding that, knowing that, two days after, I was heading north to a Folk Festival, on the surroundings of the city of the 24 hour car race!
At the end of the first day, after knowing a big bunch of Tours - it is really not a massive city - I head to the tourism centre, to check my CS account to see if I had any positive reply to my request. Luckily, and oddly, I had a proposal from a girl I haven't even made the proposal to. This happen because, just before sending the proposals I, not to close the odds of getting a couch, ticked an option allowing my proposal getting online and public, to all the CSurfers from the area. And guess what! I had a proposal from a girl called Caroline, who had seen my beg on the website and, having spare room on her flat, sent me the proposal! Full of happiness, I ran to the phone booth and called her. After a bit of waiting, a little car came and I knew I had nothing more to worry about in Tours!
On that night, we head to La Ganguette, where I met her friends and experienced a bit of what Tours and their time was spent - alike Porto sometimes - hang around the river, with some performances, music, a lot of talking and laughing, drinking and good, chilled fun!
|Cloe and Caroline - thanks a lot for your kindness!|
The place I stayed was better than a 5 star hotel! With company every night - the Big Growb - and lovely talking, I had nothing to complain while with them. We even had the chance to watch City of God. All I can say is that even watching this movie was a new experience, as the language was set to French, making it very odd from time to time to make the relation movie-dialogue-language with, specially when they say: 'Dadinha o caralho. Meu nome agora é Zé pequeno porra!!! ^^
|The Big Growb|
Waking up very early every morning - leaving with them before heading to uni - I had plenty of time to do all sort of thing... and do them nice and slowly, koala style!
After the second night, the big day came, where I would put my horrible french to work and see if things would really work the way I was planning or if, instead of heading Le Mans, I would end up in Leon - just kidding :p
The game is on!