The days are filled with anticipated stress, and running around with over sized baggage, trying to catch trains that won’t give you one moment of leeway…. Unless they are late. And I would argue that you sleep less on trains then on airplane, even with the reclining seats.
But the one thing about travel days that make it so interesting are all the multiple forms of transportation one can take in a days travel. In my trip I rode about 5 or 6 different forms of transportation and I laid it out below.
My own two feet the good Lord gave me- 1… 3km carrying a 50 lbs suitcase and my guitar.
The day started out nice enough with a nice taxi ride to the Braunschweig bahnhof at 5:20 am and making my train to Mannheim. Made it on time and got on the next train with ease. There was one small detail that I knew about, but couldn’t complete in time. I was on a train that required a reservation, and i was without a reservation. I was able to find a nice seat even without a reservation, but was charged for it when the ticket guy found me. It was a nice enough ride with little to no distractions. There is a part of me that swears I was sitting next to two French movie stars, but I will never know. This was Mannheim to Paris East.
I only had 50 minutes to get from one side of Paris to another and I had a history of screwing up this route before. I got to Paris and had a really good start… I couldn’t find the underground. When I finally found it I couldn’t get a ticket! When I finally got a ticket I couldn’t get my luggage through the underground entrance booths. I finally kicked my bag through and made it on the subway… Rode it to the other side of Paris to Paris Montparnasse. Had about 20 min left before my train left for the south and I still didn’t have a reservation… Time was ticking. Luckily the line was moving fast and I was able to get to the reservation desk quickly. Then my debit card wouldn’t work and I almost missed my train because of that. You can imagine that by the time I got on the train to Dax I was ready to sit and not move at all. So that’s what I did.
I was able to meet an American Guy from Dallas, Texas that was on his way to try out for the French Foreign Legion. He was traveling for the first time in France and was amazed by all the little towns and all the little details about French life he’d picked up during his three days in Paris. I hope that he is able to make it into the Legion, because this was a big dream for him. Right now he doesn’t have to many other places to go so I’m praying that his dreams becomes reality and he is able to make it.
So after an un eventful time on the train I finally made it Dax and was ready to get on the bus and head to hossegor. What happened to the bus? The station that I remembered was closed and there were no other busses around. I had a very hard time trying to find someone spoke English and when I finally found someone who did, they told me what I didn’t want to hear. The bus doesn’t leave from here anymore, it leaves from another station that you have to take a train to get too. Good news is you can make the train to get to Bayonne, where the bus leaves from. Bad news is the next bus leaves at 7:45 am.
To speed up this long story I will tell you this. French cuisine is everything its cracked up to be and more (see below for picture evidence) and Sleeping outside of train stations in any country doesn’t get you sleep. It gets you paranoia, stress you didn’t want and no fun! So I didn’t sleep that night.
The next morning I went on a Red Bull binge and I am happy to say it worked. I stayed awake all day. Problem was my travel nightmare wasn’t over. They changed the bus stops around and so I did one entire bus route once, driving in fact right by where I wanted to stop, another half of a bus route, and after being told by the bus driver of another bus that I shouldn’t get on I ended up walking all the way to my destination. And that is dragging my 50 lbs for about 3km with my guitar on back. Not fun when you have no sleep! When I finally Got to the place I wanted to stay I was told they were full!
Anything else could have gone wrong, but it wouldn’t have phased me at that point. I was to tired to care.
But then I was able to get to the real reason I had come here to Seignosse and Hossegor in the first place. The people and the waves.
I went to my friends surf school that was right near by and dropped my things off. I rented a board and went out to the waves. It was heavy exercise and the waves were barreling at about 8 ft. I was way out of league. I haven’t surfed consistently in so long that I was having to build all my surf muscles again. I tried to catch a couple waves and got pummeled. I saw at least three people get barreled and some sick waves being ridden by some great surfers. I was just happy to be in the water after everything that had happened. On my last wave that I caught I went over the falls and had to dive in to try and avoid my board. Lets just say I failed. Somehow the board and I switched places and I felt it crack against my shin as I was being held under for longer than I had anticipated. If your wondering… Ya it hurt. I tried to catch waves back into shore, but you don’t have any easy rides when your dealing with shore break. So I finally got to where I could touch and had to limp my way in.
I now know that French people are compassionate, because many of them came to ask me how I was. I even got a visit from the life guard, because I guess my SWAG like limp was so visible. He wanted to know where I got SWAG like that. Ha. It was a special concoction of dumb and courageous. He said he’d try it sometime.
So I was injured in surf heaven on my first day, suck.
I came back to the surf school and played some music out in the front for all the people passing by. It turned out to be a lot of fun and people really seemed interested in my performance.
I finally got to see Nico and Gauthier, the two guys who I met at the surfers Villa back in 2008, and we were able to connect finally. The last two times I came to a hossegor these guys were so helpful. They helped me when I was low on cash because my cash card number was stolen and couldn’t afford what I thought I could. They helped me out in a mighty way and I’ve kept in contact with them over the years and even though they don’t work at the surfers Villa anymore, we are still good friends. They are even allowing me to stay with them, since the surfers villa was all full.
So before I left the states I had messaged some restaurants in this area of France and a couple of them had said that they were interested in having me play some music there. One of these places was the Cream Cafe at Les Bourdaines. So I went down to Cream Cafe, which wasn’t to far away from where Nico’s school is, and waited for a couple of hours to talk to the Lady in charge of music. Her name was Bex. We talked for about 3 minutes and had a gig set up for Friday. Ya that quickly. I was excited and I am so ready for this event. Le Professeur’s final stop on his European tour is going to be in France! Friday night from 7-10 if anyone is interested.
After I came back from setting up this event I met up with Gauthier and together we walked back to his place. What a lovely place Hossegor is! I really like it here. It is a coastal town and has a vibrant community with all kinds of events happening here. We talked as we walked and got caught up on all the happenings that took place over the last 4-5 years when we last saw each other. He introduced me to Pâté, which was strange yet delicious and we also had pasta for dinner, which was also great. He also shared with me the last of his uncles local brews. It was a wonderful way to end the day after all that happened.
At this time in my day I was about to pass out at any moment. In case you forgot, I hadn’t slept in almost two days now as all this is happening and the pasta bowl is looking more like a pillow than food to eat. And so… I did just that. Sleep that is, not fall face first into my pasta bowl. I know you were thinking it.
So ya… I like traveling! I really do! But this was one day that stretched every bit of “I like travel” to its snapping point. But at the end of the day, as I said before, it’s about the people that you are traveling too not about the act of travel itself. Some hardcore travelers will disagree, and I’m ok with that. My life is about God and people and that combination keeps me going day after day.
Phewww… Just writing that made me tired. Hope you enjoy some of the pics to put you at ease like it did for me.