When I last left off I was writing in an internetcafe just outside the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris. Since then I have been to St. Malo, Nimes, Echternach, Luxembourg Cityand I am now sitting and writing to you from Delft, in the Netherlands. So let’s pick up where we left off . . .
St. Malo in the summertime is not something that I would wish upon my worst enemy. However, some places are tourist traps for a reason. The town is gorgeous, with a beach that goes on forever. I tried to walk the wholebeach and I walked for at least two hours and the end was not yet in sight. It was really quite impressive. It’s a little bit like Tofino, exeptthat instead of the beach running into rain forest, it runs into a chateaux and a walled city. While I was trying to find my way to the hostel from the train station I befriended an Argentinina named Barbara, who was also trying to find the hostel. Barbara and I spent most the first day in St-Malo wandering the city before we split off and I continued exploring the beach. The second day we went to Mont-St-Michel. We visited the Monestary (where I could NOT get “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” to stop playing in my head) and wandered around the island at low tide. It was pretty, but not enough to make up for the hoards of people. I cannot even imagine what it must be like in the summer.
After leaving St. Malo I headed Southward to Nimes. That day was almost entirely dedicated to travel, as I wasn’t able to use my Eurail pass to get any of the more direct routes, I went from St.Malo to Rennes to Nantes to Valence to Nimes. Nimes was pretty fantastic. I was lucky to have great weather (in St. Malo too) so that I could explore the city and see the ruines. It was the first time that I’ve ever been walking through a city park and stumbled upon Roman ruins. They aren’t even all that protected. There are signs that advise visitors that it is “forbidden to escalade” the monuments, but aside from that they’re pretty open to wander around.
I was fortunate though to have seen most of the city and the ruines in the morning and the early afternoon because after that it seems as though the city lost its mind. While I was walking back towards the hostel I saw two clowns hurry past me. To be honest, I didn’t really think much of it. I had certainly seen odder things in Paris (and in Victoria, for that matter). A few minutes later, when I started to hear drums beating nearby I assumed they were coming from the market I had walked past earlier in the day where there had been street performers. I didn’t have much time to reflect upon the situation though because the next thing I knew I had been swallowed by a huge group of drum beating, confetti throwing marchers. There were clowns in the group, but there were also tin foil-clad knights and men and women wearing togas, among other brightly coloured creatures. There were even a few Geants, giant marionette-type puppets opperated by people underneat and inside of them. I seems I had somehow been absorbed into a pedestrian parade. I slowly made my way outskirts of the parade and eventually was able to escape it alltogether to view it from oustide. It had gathered quite the group of spectators, young and old. I searched the parade and surroundings for clues to help me find out what was going on. The only thing could see was that there was a smoke-billowing cone that said “Nimes contre le racisme” (Nimes agains racisme). However, judging by the stunned looks on the faces of spectators, I can only assume that this was not an official event, but rather an event that took even locals by surprise.
After Nimes I had inteneded on going to Strasbourg but was unable to book a train ticket there so I skipped up to Luxembourg instead. My first night I headed up to Echternach so that I could see a bit more of the tiny country and not only the main city. After getting off the train in Luxembourg city I got bus ticket to Echternach. I’ll skip the epic journey that took me from the train station to the hostel but in the end I had a room to myself in the hostel (due to an error in the reservation on their end), a couple of soggy Lonley Planet pages, and a very good night’s sleep. The next morning I explored the town a little bit and enjoyed the country side as I walked back to the bus station and headed back to Luxembourg City.
The city itself is pretty remarkable. I hadn’t occured to me that most peoples kip over Luxembourg in their travels until I was speaking with other hostellers in France, but if you have the opportunity to visit don’t pass it up! The city is a fascinating combination of ruines, ancient buildings, and modern architecture mixed in with both natural and landscaped greenery. The people are fantastic. They are fiercely proud of their heritage but still very friendly and unlike in France, they will actually let you speak to them in french. My last night in Luxembourg I met a girl name Evi, an American who is living in Delft. Instead of my previous plans to head to Belgium I’m now in Delf doing a bit of couch surfing for a few days. I’m going to hang out in the Netehrlands for a little and then head back to Belgium before I head over to Great Britain on the 9th.