Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sunday August 14

Woke up this morning about 8, took a shower then packed my bags trying not to wake anyone.  Anne was going to get up early to go to the market with me at 9am for my 8 hour bus journey today to Bordeaux. I went into the kitchen and she came in shortly and started the coffee. Carole appeared a few minutes later and we all left the apartment with Didier still sleeping soundly.

Their apartment is in a great location for me.  There is a market just across the boulevard, a boulangerie a few steps away from that, and my bus departure point, on a Sunday, is literally right across the street since Sunday is street fair day and they can't use the normal departure point.  I bought a chicken baguette sandwich, a small bag of cashews, some sliced cheese, one banana, and a lemon mint water.  We left the market and walked to the petrol station and waited for Carol to come from the boulangerie.  She appeared in a few moments and we headed back across the street.

By this time Didier was up, and while the girls were getting breakfast ready, I got my bags from the bedroom, tidied up, and went back into the kitchen.  We had butter croissants and pain au chocolate.  I love this kind of breakfast with strong coffee.

It was nearing time for my departure so Anne grabbed my heavy bag and charged across the boulevard, with the three of us trailing behind. We took pictures before I got on the bus.  We got my bag into the cargo hold, and I used my e ticket and got a good seat near the window.  The flixbus was very comfortable and I had plenty of leg room. I saw my friends leaving waving at a window - they could not see me inside the bus, but I watched them return home, waving before they entered their building. 

A woman with a big smile sat next to me and plugged her phone into the charging outlet and talked quietly for the first couple of minutes, then dozed.  I glanced out the window as we moved out of Clermont Ferrand and into the journey.  We stopped after an hour for a potty/food break at a large rest area with a petrol station and a café of sorts.  It had a park and a playground.  I didn't know we had to get off the bus, so I was sitting there until the driver indicated I had to get off.

I went outside and found a shady spot next to one of the large cylindrical trash cans and ate half my sandwich and threw the rest away.  I took a short walk to stretch my legs, keeping an eye out for the return of our driver.

The wifi on the bus was decent but faded in and out so I mostly looked at my phone or gazed out the window, or ate some of my snacks.  We stopped several more times and people got off.  At one stop the bus drove into a tiny petrol station and had to maneuver several times to make it into the station without hitting a wall, the tanks, or other cars by only an inch or two. Impressive driving!

We finally got to Bordeaux to a bus station that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, with trash piled up against a wall.  I wasn't sure where to go, only a few people headed out of there, apparently others waiting to be picked up.  I finally asked the driver where the Gare St Jean was and he pointed me in the right direction.  I dragged my luggage to the station and tried to find the left luggage storage place since my stay here was only for the night with an early train to Hendaye.  I had packed my big bag to be stored, and my small bag for the night.  It was 7pm or so, and the left luggage place was closed, so I was stuck with my bag.

I rolled and hauled everything back outside, and decided to take a taxi instead of the tram since I didn't know where I was going.  After a few minutes of confusion, I found a cab who dropped me off near Victor Hugo since the street my airbnb was on is a pedestrian retail street.  I found my way to the airbnb and rang the bell on the blue door.  The host buzzed me in, and told me not to go into the courtyard, but to enter the first door to the right.  When I entered she shouted down from the top floor telling me to come up.  In front of me was a circular stairway that went up 4 or 5 floors with no landings.  To the left of me were the trash cans for these apartments behind the door.  I sighed as a hoisted my suitcase up each few steps until I reached the top floor. 

It was a very hot day, and was also a hot evening.  By the time I got upstairs I was soaking wet.  The host led me up a few more steps to the attic apartment that had a small bedroom with a desk, another room with a small fridge, an electric cooktop, a coffee machine, and another area with a shower and toilet.  There was a skylight that opened in the bedroom, in the small dining room and in the bathroom I think.  Windows overlooked nearby rooftops.  And oh, the ceilings were about 5'8" I'm guessing unless you were standing in the skylight area where I could stand upright. 

The listing didn't indicate the low ceilings but I had seen that on the comments, as well as about the 84 stairs, so I wasn't surprised.  I was leaving fairly early in the morning so I knew I could live with it, although I didn't relish the thought of going down those stairs with my suitcase.  The host was very nice and spoke English, and actually has a sister in Carlsbad living near the lagoon.  She gave me a cool bottle of water and pointed out bread, butter, jam in the fridge, and the coffee machine, and made sure to give me instructions for the air conditioner, which she had turned on when I was at the bottom of the stairs.

After she left I undressed and laid down, trying to cool down.  It was about 8pm at this time, and since I had so many snacks on the trip I wasn't hungry, and couldn't bear the thought of walking down 84 stairs and trying to find some place to eat on a Sunday night, so I went to sleep.  I woke once and turned the AC back on since it was on a timer. The bed was comfortable, and I managed not to bang my head on the ceiling even once, although the tiny closet with the toilet had a light that I nailed a couple times. 

Nite all.

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