Perks of living in Europe: weekend trips are reasonable to do and there is so much to see in every direction. So, last weekend, Ian and I hopped on a train and traveled to Toulouse, a city a few hours south east from Bordeaux.
We had a great time roaming the streets of "La Ville en Rose" (The Pink City--nicknamed for the use of red brick for nearly every building). The city is bigger than Bordeaux and had a bit more modern elements to it, but it is such a colorful and cute place filled with crooked streets and lots of old, tall trees. Unfortunately, it was bitter cold for most the of trip and we've discovered that humid-cold is an entirely different beast from dry-cold.
We explored the town and visited (or re-visited) places from Ian's LDS mission--he served for eight months here and his mission headquarters were located here. It's always a treat to travel to a new place for me, but it was especially meaningful for Ian to be here and reconnect with the people here as well as walk the same sidewalks he walked as a missionary. I get kind of choked up thinking about it, but I've never realized how much it meant to me to have my spouse serve a mission until we got here and placed ourselves in the exact physical settings of his mission. I can see the zeal in his soul that developed from devoting his life to the gospel.
I didn't mean to turn this into a cutie-patootie Mormon feel-good post, but alas, I've dipped my toes into it and it's only a matter of time before I full-on jump in to the pool of what my religion is to me. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings regarding the church and how I feel as a Mormon that have developed largely due to the nature of the church here in France, but we'll save that for another time.*
Back to Toulouse.
We packed a lot into our three days with visits to a local art museum (turns out Ian likes his art museums and digs them a bit more than me, the person who worked at an art museum...what a happy surprise!), watching a soccer match in a bar while drinking cokes (ha), visiting a museum of Toulouse's booming space travel program, eating the best kebabs, finding a lucky 10 euro bill in the street, chatting with our hostel-mates from Chile, Germany, Korea, Spain and Paris, and seeing the little French primary kids sing songs at the top of their lungs at church. Aside from the cold getting to me a few times and the near-death choke-snoring at our hostel made for one completely sleepless night, our trip was a success.
Though I did think several times throughout the weekend, "Am I a really crappy traveler?" Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but I was thrilled to be back in my own apartment. Maybe it was certain elements of the trip or maybe I really just a bigger home-body than I give myself credit for...I'll choose the latter. Either way, tips for traveling specifically for quick trips/those involving hostels?
*I've previewed more separate half-written posts than I can count in the last few posts. Sorry for the constant teases. I'm just figuring out all the things I want to say and how to say them.